Had work behind Donington man’s relaxing spa

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Growing up on a farm in Donington gave Matt Craven useful skills, such as knowing how to change an oil filter.

It also taught him the rewards of hard work, and he says he comes from “a family of real grafters”.

Matt and Emma Craven by the 11m hot pool: Matt is a personal trainer while Emma manages the beauty therapy side of The Grange Spa.

Matt and Emma Craven by the 11m hot pool: Matt is a personal trainer while Emma manages the beauty therapy side of The Grange Spa.

So don’t be fooled when you walk into the relaxing, mandarin-scented environs of Matt’s current place of work, The Grange Spa at Pointon, near Billingborough.

It may look and feel restful, but Matt and his wife Emma put in a lot of hard work to make it seem that way.

“People think because you work in relaxing surroundings that’s what it’s like every day,” says Matt, “but we’re up early, and I’m likely to have my hand down a toilet or to be cleaning something like a steam room.”

Nevertheless, the light, airy and attractive rooms of the converted old farmhouse and barns that make up the spa must be a pleasant place in which to work.

The spa was established five years ago after Matt’s parents Malcolm and Janet Craven retired from the family’s arable farm – they still live in Donington.

Matt, with a background in health and fitness management and a passion for skiing, had plans to divide his life between instructing on the slopes during the winter and working as a personal trainer on the cruise ships during the summer months.

Once he met Emma aboard ship though – she was working as a beauty therapist – Matt realised he wanted a life that accommodated both of them.

The idea for the spa was born and, having ruled out Spalding as a likely place to base it because of high rentals and the existing competition, they discovered The Grange.

There, they have created a personal training studio where Matt and freelance personal trainer Andy Henson offer one-to-one sessions with the focus on human movement, unrestricted by too much machinery.

Matt says: “We are looking at combined movements that help to improve general health by getting you much more active and that in turn helps you to enjoy life more.”

As well as taking people from very little fitness to competing in endurance events, Matt and Andy also help people recovering from illness.

The spa though is about something entirely different.

Matt says: “The gym focus is on health, but the spa focus is on indulgence. People come here to relax and we will try and achieve whatever it is people want in order to gain relaxation.”

To that end, there are six treatment rooms offering a variety of different pampering sessions, as well as unusual treatments such as a Turkish Delight, which involves the body being stretched by a long silk scarf. That plus a hot swimming pool, steam rooms and baths should sort out anyone’s relaxation problems.