‘How do you fancy driving a campervan around the Dorset coast this summer?’ or similar was the wording in a local advert that caught Ben Dames’ eye five years ago. Successfully applying for a new role with the National Trust as a Seasonal Membership Recruiter, Ben was the first to be driving round Dorset’s rural and remote areas in a campervan, parking up with his loyal companion Phyllis, a black Labrador.
Loving the role, handing out information on local events and chatting with everyone passing by, Ben also quickly established a strong following on twitter, a relatively new social media tool at the time. Uploading pictures of the festival he might be at, or the stunning section of Jurassic coastline he was lucky enough to be sitting in front of, or even the cup of tea and wet dog sitting stoically beside him, Ben built his following to around 2-3,000 followers in the first six months, with a current figure of around 12,000.
Proving to the National Trust he was worth keeping on, Ben got the go ahead for a further 12 months. Joining in community festivities, from Beaminster Lights to Bournemouth Christmas market and introducing gift memberships, Ben continued to demonstrate his worth. He is now Offsite Engagement Team Leader and oversees a team of eight.
Born in Poole, after school and university, Ben started work at Bournemouth Visitor Information Bureau, moving on to manager at Wareham Tourist Office. Later he took a reception role with Bournemouth’s Oceana Hotels, moving quickly into the role of Group Sales. Now, he can still be found in his campervan at food festivals, locations along the coast or maybe Poole High Street. If you spot him, do say hello and maybe receive a lick from his new star assistant, Molly, the golden Labrador puppy.