Horatio can't wait to tie the knot...

Maritime mascot Horatio Herring was today preparing to welcome with open arms his new and improved mail order bride after the first one was deemed too scary.

Maritime mascot Horatio Herring was today preparing to welcome with open arms his new and improved mail order bride after the first one was deemed too scary.

Although he had seen a sketch of his bride-to-be the real Mrs H failed to live up to expectations and has been sent back to the makers for cosmetic surgery.

The marriage - at the altar of advertising for Great Yarmouth's 10th maritime festival next month - has been postponed, meaning Horatio will have to wait before declaring undying love to his luscious-lipped spouse.

Aileen Mobbs, festival chairman, said the company responsible for introducing the pair had agreed Mrs H looked more brute than cute and is making the alterations.

“Mrs H has been sent back,” she said. “I put her costume on and I thought I looked magnificent, but I felt her eyes were too scary. She has to be cute and cuddly. She has a lovely dress and is due back at the end of the week. We had seen a sketch and she had huge lips and big eye lashes but when I looked at the picture of me wearing the costume I decided it looked a bit scary.”

Mrs Mobbs, who introduced the popular mascot despite resistance from naysayers, said Horatio had been a bachelor bloater for long enough.

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Although sponsorship is down, local company Seajacks agreed to pay the �1,200 needed to help Horatio find love.

“When I first talked about having a character costume everyone said it would not work, but Horatio has been one of the best things we ever did. He has been so popular we decided it was about time we got him a wife,” Mrs Mobbs added. “It is just a bit of fun.”

The costume is being custom made by the same company that made Horatio. Athough pricey, the costumes are made to last and have fans in their heads to cool the wearer, plucked from a local theatre school.

This year's festival on September 5 and 6 boasts an impressive line-up of visiting crafts as well as entertainment and activities for all the family. Thousands of visitors are expected to throng to South Quay where attractions will include three tall ships, the three-masted barque Artemis, the popular Grand Turk frigate, and the Jubilee Sailing Trust's Lord Nelson, one of only two boats in the world designed for wheelchair users to man.

The Royal Navy is planning to send three ships into port for the festival, including the patrol boat HMS Raider and the HMS Hurworth mine sweeper which visitors will be able to go aboard.

Families will also be able to look around Yarmouth's Lydia Eva, the last steam drifter, with its on-board exhibition telling the ship's story, and the MV Coronia, a pleasure boat built in Yarmouth in 1935 which used to set sail from the Britannia Pier.

Lofty the Lighthouse, the festival's other mascot, is still single.

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