Brenden Howard is general manager at The Grove Hotel in Bournemouth, a unique, not-for-profit hotel owned by Christchurch-based charity, Macmillan Caring Locally which provides special holidays for people living with cancer and life-limiting illnesses.

Happily married Brenden, who has three daughters, was born on the Isle of Wight and has lived in Bournemouth for the last 25 years.


Q: What would be your perfect day out in Dorset?

A: Where do I start, we are so lucky to be living in Dorset as there is so much to choose from. We love going to the National Trust places of interest, Corfe Castle, as well as our local Southbourne beach to have a day out with the family with a picnic. Any of those days would be perfect for me.


Q: What are your fondest memories of the county?

A: Camping is something we love doing as a family and our recent camping trip in Lyme Regis was amazing we were stayed at wonderful clean and friendly camp site called Golden Cap which was right by the beach with a big hill on the other side where we sat and looked at the coast whilst eating our picnic. A group of friendly cows also decided to take an interest in us too on that day. We also had a great day looking for fossils on Charmouth beach and we also spent time in Lyme Regis beach relaxing with traditional fish and chips after a fun day crab catching.


Q: What has been your proudest achievement?

A: Without any doubt my proudest personal achievement is having my three beautiful daughters. I am also very proud to have achieved the position of general manager for The Grove Bournemouth, where I am able to meet some lovely people who are on a personal journey that on most occasions is not an easy one for them or their family. I am proud to work with a special team of people in making sure that all our guests make memories to treasure of a perfect holiday that has enabled them to relax and enjoy their time with us. The Grove is a very special place and we have won many awards for the service we provide. The awards that we have won recognise excellent service, which is what we are all striving to achieve. My proudest personal achievement was to win the Gold Award for unsung hero award for customer service at the Dorset tourism awards in 2016, when we also won a gold award in the same category for the South West of England tourism Excellence awards 2017. We have also received several hundred thank you cards from guests who have stayed at The Grove, and the comments on trip advisor that really make me proud to be part of this special team we have here.


Q: Where do you get your inspiration from?

A: I get inspiration and support from my wonderful wife and daughters who make me who I am today. I also get a lot of inspiration from our guests, how they manage to get through some of the most harrowing experiences caused by their illness is incredible. The human spirit and the love that drives people on no matter how hard life can be is amazing and I feel so privileged to witness this time and time again.


Q: What would be your favourite thing to do when you have a day off?

A: My favourite thing to do on my day off is to spend time together with my family going out for a walk at Hengistbury Head or along the beach and visiting local places of interest. If it is a bad weather day then watching films with the family and doing puzzles or drawing with my girls. I also love to play tennis at the club of with my older daughter. Or if I am really lucky to have the time, I also love playing the guitar and drawing.


Q: Where is your favourite place to eat in the county?

A: For a treat for the family we love to go to Chez Fred an award winning fish and chips restaurant in Westbourne, who doesn’t love fish and chips ah! It's great for the children as they are always provided with a children’s pack, the food is always very tasty and a good selection of fresh caught fish, the staff are always friendly and helpful and the place is kept spotlessly clean. And the best thing is if you need more chips then you get a free top up.


Q: What three things do you associate with Dorset?

A: It’s a privilege to work and live in Dorset and the three things I associate with it are being able to enjoy the beautiful varied Dorset coastline, the amazing countryside, the interesting wildlife and importantly being able to choose something different on every occasion. Getting out and about visiting these places creates a good work life balance for me.


Q: If you could summarise the county in one word what would it be?

A: Peart (an old Dorset dialect) meaning healthy, vibrant and full of life. As this is the feeling you get from living in Dorset, especially for me and my young family it offers so much and to be able to enjoy it with them growing up is certainly very precious and something I never take for granted.