Moving tribute paid to founder of Derbyshire theme park

The family behind Gulliver’s Theme Park Resorts has paid a moving tribute to their beloved founder, wife, mother and grandmother, Hilary Phillips, who passed away on 19 July after a short illness.

Friday, 29th July 2022, 3:28 pm
Mrs Hilary Joan Phillips
Mrs Hilary Joan Phillips

Alongside her husband, Ray, Hilary established Gulliver’s back in 1978 with the opening of their first park in Matlock Bath.

This was followed by Gulliver’s World in Warrington in 1989, Gulliver’s Land in Milton Keynes in 1999 and the newest park, Gulliver’s Valley in Rotherham, which opened in 2020.

Together Hilary and Ray built the company into a UK institution with millions of families and children enjoying days out and short breaks at their parks over the last 44 years. Providing entertainment and family fun is pivotal to the company ethos and this runs through the heart of all the resorts as well as them playing a key role in the local communities they are part of.

Gulliver’s remains a family business to this day.

In tribute, Hilary’s husband, Ray Phillips, said: “Our family are devastated by the loss of Hilary, but Gulliver’s Theme Park Resorts is a family business, so her loss is also profoundly felt by our entire team.

“We are extremely proud of everything she achieved in her life as our dear wife, mother and grandmother but also in the development of Gulliver’s. We know her legacy will live on through our resorts, which she was instrumental in creating, and the enjoyment that so many families and children experience from their visits to Gulliver’s.”

Hilary lived with her husband Ray in Matlock and is survived by Ray, their three children, Julie, Duncan and Nick, and six grandchildren.

Hilary’s funeral will take place at 11am on Thursday, August 4 at St Giles Church, Matlock.