John Child waves goodbye to presiding over the largest indoor waterpark in the UK and represents the end of an era for one of Blackpool’s most popular seafront attractions.

The 59-year-old joined the Sandcastle Waterpark as it opened in June 1986 and bids goodbye after a quarter-of-a-year in charge of the visitor attraction. 

Blackpool leisure operator Merlin are rumoured to be taking over the running of the council-owned attraction.

John’s journey into Sandcastle commenced 36 years ago – joining the Sandcastle’s original team as a lifeguard on June 9, 1986. 

John said: “After 25 years at the helm, the time is right for me to move onto new challenges but I’m leaving a very strong team and the Sandcastle is in a fantastic place. I will miss all the people I’ve worked with, and the community and I’m proud of everything we’ve achieved over the years.

“I have always enjoyed training and mentoring people and to me the golden rule is that guest services are excellent, and I think that is what the Sandcastle’s reputation is built on. In 2006 I was proud to see the Sandcastle change properly from a leisure pool with a show bar, to a proper water park and that is when the name changed too.”

The Sandcastle was remodelled in the early 2000s with £4.5m invested by the council in new water slides which twist around the exterior of the venue. It duly boosted visitor numbers and there has been further investment with the Sandcastle now boasting 18 slides and attractions.

Last year it had its most profitable year ever as holidaymakers returned to Blackpool after lockdown.

“I started working in tourism in Blackpool as a 14-year-old clearing tables. It’s been an absolute blast, but now I’m ready for something new,” John adds.