Charity market fears after dogs banned from Yarmouth leisure centre

The Marina: Leisure and Fitness Centre on Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth.Picture: James Bass

The Marina: Leisure and Fitness Centre on Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2012

The organiser of a popular craft fair fears she may have to cancel future events after being met with red tape over bringing dogs into her regular venue.

Rosemary Crisp has been hosting the markets at Great Yarmouth’s Marina Centre for 14 years and said two of her regular stallholders had always brought their three beloved pet dogs into the main sports hall with them.

The 74-year-old said there had never been any problems with the pooches coming inside, since the fair was moved into the hall 10 years ago, and their presence had never been raised by staff.

But on Saturday managers told her the animals were not allowed on the premises and they had to leave.

Mrs Crisp has since slammed the way staff dealt with the matter and fears the no dog rule will force her to find another venue, but she is struggling to come up with an alternative putting the fair’s future at risk.

The great-grandmother-of-two said: “I’m livid. Graham Plant, chairman of the trustees, phoned us and he said it’s generally known that dogs are not allowed in any halls and it’s in their constitution, which I have never seen.

“I’ve never read it and never been told about it in the 10 years we have been doing it.”

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Mrs Crisp said the stallholder pair were treated “horribly”. “When I said we have been bringing them here for 10 years the answer was we have never seen them before,” she added.

The red tape row has caused extra concerns for Mrs Crisp as the proceeds from the fair are donated to her charitable group Rosebud, which works with youngsters in Gambia. The fundraising market has paid for a college and school in the rural village of Mamuda and provides a meal a day for pupils.

Mrs Crisp, from Kessingland, added: “There’s a lot of people relying on us.”

Wayne Nixon, general manager of the Great Yarmouth Sport and Leisure Trust which runs the Marina Centre, confirmed an “incident” occurred over the weekend.

He said: “Once the management were aware of a number of dogs being on the premises the owners were asked to remove them from the sports hall in line with the centre’s normal admission rules.

“The stall holders unfortunately were unwilling to remove the dogs from the premises at the time so had no other option but to leave the premises.”

Mr Nixon said the trust was working with Mrs Crisp to resolve the problem and signs would be going up to show all Marina Centre users that dogs were not permitted, except registered Guide Dogs.

“The stall holders are welcome to return but the dogs cannot come back on to the premises,” he added.