Heroes will get a ‘gentle, civic hug’ in Yarmouth

THERE will be a Heroes’ Welcome greeting for members of Britain’s armed forces when they visit the borough of Great Yarmouth.

Described as the opportunity to give servicemen and women a “gentle, civic hug”, the scheme was launched this week in the town’s Market Place by mayor Barry Coleman, accompanied by representatives from the Royal Anglian Regiment.

Heroes Welcome was launched on a small scale in Scarborough two years and since then has snowballed through the UK. The only other district in Norfolk to be associated with Heroes Welcome is Breckland, which launched its scheme in January.

More than 20 businesses have already signed up for the scheme which is sponsored by the Greater Yarmouth Tourism Authority, Yarmouth Borough Council, Yarmouth Mercury and the Town Centre Partnership.

The scheme encourages retailers and organisations to display a large Heroes Welcome logo which tells servicemen and women, as well as their families and veterans, how much their bravery and dedication in helping to serve the nation is appreciated – whether by way of a warm welcome or a discount.

Mr Coleman, accompanied by mayoress Mary Coleman, told the large crowd watching the launch: “This is a way in which a community are able to give our thanks to the armed forces who are working on our behalf all around the world, particularly in Afghanistan.”

And he revealed they have a daughter serving in the army.

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Cpl Jamie Bale and Pte Adam Copperwheat represented the Anglians at the launch. Both have served in Afghanistan and Cpl Bale told the crowd: “This is a good campaign; there are guys in Afghanistan working hard for freedom and safety,” and he paid tribute to the support the battalion gets from Norfolk.

The Great Yarmouth section of the Heroes Welcome website (www.heroeswelcome.co.uk) went live on Tuesday – outlining the businesses in the area supporting the initiative.

Mr Coleman said: “This superb idea is now gaining national momentum and we want our borough to be at the forefront of this popular scheme, which offers a continuing thank you to our country’s heroes. “As links are already forged with the Royal Anglian Regiment and HMS Dauntless, the Heroes Welcome initiative is just another way of extending our traditionally warm welcome to members of the armed forces.”

Businesses interested in joining the Heroes Welcome scheme can head to www.heroeswelcome.co.uk or contact Laura Goodman, mayoral and civic events officer on 01493 846125.

Businesses already signed up are: Potters Leisure Resort, FH Hinds, Happy Holidays of Hemsby, Spirit Haven, Rampart Signs, East Coast Recovery and Garage Services, Trevross B&B, Gorleston Pavilion Pier Gardens, Cali Cabs, Swift Taxis, Britannia Guest House, Ryecroft Guest House, BWell Gyms, Woodland Haberdahsery, Yorkies Tattoos, Woodcraft Gifts, Taylormadecakes, Specsavers Great Yarmouth, Old Tobacconists and Jeweller, www.millroadfishery.co.uk, Stokesby, Absolute Indulgence.

Examples of what a “gentle hug” is for servicemen and women is Rampart Signs offering all forces members a 30pc discount on all signwork including vehicle lettering, for help in starting a new career; and it’s a free day’s fishing at Mill Road Fishery in Stokesby.

Happy Holidays at Hemsby already has links with the 9th Air Corps for whom they donate a chalet free when the corps’ welfare unit calls, and under the Heroes Welcome scheme owners Martin Mehmet and Penny Francis will be offering a discount on chalets.