Director of popular Sussex zoo attraction retires after 22 years

Cassie Poland (left) and Christine Smith (right)
Cassie Poland (left) and Christine Smith (right)

A director of Drusillas Park has taken retirement after running the attraction for 22 years.

Christine Smith and Laurence Smith acquired the park located near Alfriston in 1997 after selling a nationwide recruitment company. 22 years later, and at retirement age, Christine has decided to step away from the day to day running of the business.

Christine Smith

Christine Smith

Christine said: “It’s been a tough decision to retire from Drusillas. I love working here and being part of the fantastic team. It’s been a rollercoaster ride but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I am very proud of the park and what we have achieved together as a family and with our fantastic staff.

“The business has come so far in the past 22 years. We are continually investing in the park to evolve and make improvements – each year we make sure we have something new to offer to visitors to keep them coming back time and time again and this is something we are very passionate about doing.

“Drusillas Park will always hold a special place in my heart and as a family business, I will still attend management meetings and be involved in the gardening aspect of Drusillas, as I have a big interest in this. I often visit with my grandchildren and will continue to do this regularly - they won’t get rid of me that easily!”

Christine and Laurence’s eldest daughter and director, Cassie Poland, will be taking over some of Christine’s responsibilities.

Cassie has been working at the park since 2004. She started in the Retail and Warehouse team before moving on to the Education Department, then the Marketing Department and for the past 6 years has been the Head of Marketing.

Cassie commented: “I have certainly have some big shoes to fill! Christine has had a huge impact on the park, making Drusillas what it is today. Laurence and I plan to retain the Park’s unique family atmosphere and environment as Drusillas continues to move forwards and progress. I’m really excited for the future!”

Drusillas Park started in 1925 as a small tea rooms when the late Captain Ann renovated a derelict farmhouse and named it after his first wife Drusilla.

Visited today by approximately 350,000 people per annum, the family owned business has gone from strength to strength and it is now regarded as the best small zoo in Europe.

Located just off the A27 in Alfriston, Drusillas Park is open daily from 10am. For more information, please telephone 01323 874100 or visit www.drusillas.co.uk