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Charter Fair pulls in record numbers

PUBLISHED: 17:31 03 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:47 03 July 2010

HAVING A GOOD TIME: Crowds flocked to Great Yarmouth's Charter Fair, including the town's mayor Paul Garrod who presented a commemorative key to David Wallis

HAVING A GOOD TIME: Crowds flocked to Great Yarmouth's Charter Fair, including the town's mayor Paul Garrod who presented a commemorative key to David Wallis

Liz Coates

Record crowds headed to Great Yarmouth's Charter Fair for a mix of entertainment spanning white-knuckle stomach-churners to rides recreated in flowers.

Another photo from Great Yarmouth's Charter Fair

Record crowds headed to Great Yarmouth's Charter Fair for a mix of entertainment spanning white-knuckle stomach-churners to rides recreated in flowers.

Held over three days for the first time in its 300 year history organisers were reportedly delighted with the turnout helped by good weather, good humoured crowds and only a sprinkling of disorder.

Great Yarmouth mayor Paul Garrod officially opened the fair at the funhouse on Thursday evening following a civic parade from the town hall.

He had the honour of handing over a porcelain key - especially crafted by Ernie Childs to mark the charter year 1208 - to national vice chairman of The Showman's Guild David Wallis.

Another photo from Great Yarmouth's Charter Fair

Mr Wallis held the key while the fair was in town, handing it back as it left - adding a quaint touch of pomp and ceremony to the riotous mix of rides and stalls. He was said to be bowled over by the fairground-themed flower display in St Nicholas church, having seen nothing like it before.

Mr Garrod who attended in full regalia with his wife Lisa and family said it was a wonderful occasion that brought the community together - although he preferred to admire it from the ground having slightly regretted his offer to try out the tallest and scariest ride, visible for miles and at 180ft completely dwarfing the church tower.

He said: “The fair people really appreciate coming to Yarmouth because there are not many original towns left that they can visit. They were over the moon with the extra day but that was only a one off I think. Certainly Thursday night was extremely busy and Sunday was busy again. It is probably their best year.”

Mr Garrod added he was touched that youngsters who took part in the civic parade were allowed to ride for free, and delighted with the donations of soft toys.

Sgt Dan Smith from the South Yarmouth Safer Neighbourhood Team said: “The Easter Fair went extremely well this year with very few recorded incidents.

“The crowds were extremely well-humoured and, considering how many people attended, we were very pleased with how well-behaved the vast majority of people were.

“A considerable amount of time had gone into planning our policing operation and working in close partnership with Great Yarmouth Borough Council and this planning process clearly paid off.”

Sgt Smith said there were two or three arrests for assaults.

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