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Friends celebrate first year in business after visit to Disneyland

Jamie Hoult decided to set up a children's party planning business with Alan Thoroughgood after an inspiring visit to the Paris theme park

Alan Thoroughgood and Jamie Hoult founders of Playdays Parties, says business is booming after one year

Disneyland is known as a place where dreams come true. But for Jamie Hoult it was where a dream was born.

It led to him and friend Alan Thorogood setting up their own children’s party planning company and this month they are celebrating their first year in business.

When Playdays Parties launched last January, all the friends from West Kensington had was two bouncy castles. Now the company boasts 40 new inflatables and two vans. They hope to see the business continue to grow and have a shop within the next three years.

Jamie, 30, runs his own courier business but still manages to organise and run Playdays Parties. He said: “This first year has been amazing. When we first started we were averaging one party each on Saturday and Sunday.

"Now we are averaging 10 on Saturdays and eight on Sundays. We are doing a lot of work.”

He thought the idea of starting up a company five years ago, but life got in the way and he never followed it up. It was not until 18 months ago he decided to give his plan some time and effort.

He said: “I went to Disneyland Paris for my daughter’s birthday and it just clicked to do something for the kids.

“I could see there was something in children’s entertainment. I spoke to Alan who I have known for 15 years and he jumped at it too.”

Playdays Parties is based in Fulham and offers soft play, bouncy castles and mascots - such as visits by characters from popular TV cartoons and films.

Jamie said: “There’s a lot of planning that goes into it, and you have the clean all the equipment and pack it.

“There’s a lot of responsibility because we can’t spoil a child’s party. We have had a van break down before but we’ve never been late and we’ve never missed a party.”

Despite having little spare time, Jamie and 35-year-old Alan, who works at Hammersmith and Fulham Council , also do their bit for good causes, visiting special needs schools and also popping into to visit poorly children if they catch wind through their social media pages that they’re off school sick.

They now employ five other people to help them with parties, and hope to see business continue to grow in the future.

Jamie said: “The plan for the next three years is to get bigger. We want to open a shop and just get bigger and bigger.

“All the money myself and Alan make is reinvested into the company. We haven’t made any money whatsoever.

“It’s stressful work. We are family men and I walk out at 7am and often don’t come home until 9pm. It’s very hard and tiring.

“But we started with two inflatables and now we have 40, all brand new, and two vans. We’re looking forward to the future.”

Find out more on the Playdays Parties website .

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