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'I did not think it through enough' - hotel manager apologies for balloon release plan

PUBLISHED: 10:46 17 August 2018 | UPDATED: 13:27 17 August 2018

Cliff Hotel

Cliff Hotel

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A coastal hotel manager has apologised after a planned balloon release to help celebrate his birthday was cancelled following social media concerns over the environmental impact.

Beach clean volunteer Becky May Kitchener
Picture Becky May KitchenerBeach clean volunteer Becky May Kitchener Picture Becky May Kitchener

The balloon launch was due to take place on Sunday afternoon at the Cliff Hotel in Gorleston as part of Daryn Ferguson’s birthday.

However, the release drew criticism from beach clean-up campaigners in Lowestoft and people online who were concerned about the impact on the environment.

Following a deluge of negative Facebook comments, Mr Ferguson cancelled the balloon launch and has also offered to support the next Gorleston beach clean event in October by treating volunteers to a free Sunday carvery and having staff take part in the litter pick.

Mr Ferguson said: “It was a public celebration but I did not think it through enough.

The view from the Cliff Hotel looking towards the Outer Harbour and South Denes area of Great Yarmouth.

Picture: James BassThe view from the Cliff Hotel looking towards the Outer Harbour and South Denes area of Great Yarmouth. Picture: James Bass

“There was a media storm and we watched all the comments come through and realised we had made a mistake basically. We had someone all the way from America saying ‘no, no, no, please don’t do it’.

“We are part of the coast and we do work hard for the environment here, we have biodegradable straws, we recycle food and we recycle oil.”

The hotel posted an apology on its Facebook page which admitted it had eaten “humble pie” and which said: “The Cliff loves Gorleston and we are as proud of our beautiful beach as you guys are!”

The apology also saw dozens of people praise the hotel online for its decision, with posters saying it was great to see the response, well done for responding to the public criticism and thanking the hotel for seeing the light.

The Gorleston Community Beach Clean Group also praised the hotel and said it would be glad to have the support of its next clean up event on October 21.

Beach clean volunteer Becky May Kitchener, 44, from Lowestoft, said: “They reacted. It was great. Hats off to them.”

This Sunday the EDP’s Big Coast Clean Up is coming to Lowestoft between 10am and 1pm. The clean up will be meeting opposite the Lighthouse Café on the green near North Denes beach. All equipment will be supplied, with volunteers advised to wear weather appropriate clothes, and children are also welcome on the day.

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