Seaside hotel manager bounces back from balloon release backlash with litter pick donation

Holidaymakers and families enjoying Gorleston beach at the start of the summer holidays. Picture: DE

Holidaymakers and families enjoying Gorleston beach at the start of the summer holidays. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

A Gorleston hotelier has proved true to his word supplying beach clean equipment after his planned balloon release sparked an online row.

The Gorleston beach clean participantsPicture: Brian Ollington

The Gorleston beach clean participantsPicture: Brian Ollington - Credit: Archant

Daryn Ferguson manager of the Cliff Hotel cancelled the summer celebration following a social medial scolding and acknowledged his mistake by apologising and pledging to make amends.

Now ahead of Sunday’s big beach clean at the sandy sweep he has donated 15 professional litter pickers, 600 bin bags and gloves - and is preparing to roll up his sleeves and get stuck in himself.

Mr Ferguson faced the wrath of social media in August when he made public his plans for a balloon release sparking concerns for the environment and wildlife as well as the general impact of littering.

He said: “I just didn’t think but as soon as the problems with plastics in the sea were pointed out, I decided it would be better to cancel the balloons and donate to the beach clean instead.

“We did consider providing vouchers for our carvery but the organisers pointed out equipment would be better in the long term.

“I am hoping we can also get some volunteers along. I will certainly be there.”

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The third Gorleston Community Beach Clean is happening on Sunday.

‘I did not think it through enough’ - hotel manager apologies for balloon release planOrganiser Melanie Ruse said: “What started off as an idea between myself and Peter Kirkpatrick of seeing if a few people would like to pick some litter has expanded into a regular event within a year.

“We were delighted at the response to our event in April where we had around 125 people join us. That event was exceptional as it was the Pokemon Go World Earth Day but we expect around 60 people at least.

“The event has been timed for the beginning of the school holidays as parents will be looking for something interesting for children to do.

“Light-up, noisy, kids’ litter pickers have been donated by Men Talk About It a social enterprise helping with mental health issues.

“There will be a number of decorated rocks hidden on the beach to add to the fun and a certificate will be given to children for taking part in the event.

The event is organised with the Marine Conservation Society, Surfers Against Sewage, MESH (who provide stewards) and Great Yarmouth Borough Council who will provide some equipment.

Anyone who is unable to access the beach can help tidy the quayside.

Litter pickers can meet at the Marina Bay Cafe for a 10am start with beach cleaners set to finish by midday.

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