'It's my childhood all over again' - Great Yarmouth's Boating Lake reopens to the public
PUBLISHED: 16:10 20 August 2019 | UPDATED: 08:47 21 August 2019
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
An iconic part of Great Yarmouth's seafront has regained its magical sparkle as rowing-boats and pedalos once again took to the restored Boating Lake.
On Tuesday (August 20), a celebratory gala marked the reopening of the historic Venetian Waterways, with speeches from leaders of organisations involved in the £2.7m restoration and the traditional ribbon-cutting from the mayor, Michael Jeal.
For many in attendance, the long-awaited moment was when the boats finally took to the water, for the first time in a decade, as three families rowed around the lake, having won a competition organised by the borough council.
Richard and Jemma Park brought their daughter Rose, who was celebrating her second birthday.
Mr Park said: "About 30 years ago my granddad used to take me out on the lake, now I can take my daughter, continuing a family tradition."
Adam Wyer, 30, Poppy Wynne, 23, and Alfie Wyer, 3, were looking forward to the experience.
Mr Wyer remembered his boyhood when he would go on the lake with his dad, mum and brother.
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The Stubbings family from Caister also enjoyed their jaunt around the Island Cafe.
Sarah Stubbings, 37, said when driving past the Waterways her children, Hayden, 12, and Summer, 8, would ask when the boats would be back.
During the restoration, which started in June last year, volunteers worked alongside the new Waterways gardeners to reinstate the original planting scheme.
One of the volunteers, Clare Cooper, 45, said: "It brings back to life what I remember as a child, which my children had never been able to see.
"It's my childhood all over again," she said.
Earlier, during the speeches, Graham Plant, chairman of Great Yarmouth Borough Council's economic development committee, said: "The Waterways were way before their time in offering a fantasy theme park land to explore at a time when few people could afford to holiday abroad, let alone in Venice.
"They gave families the chance of new experiences to travel within their own country."
Kate Watts, the council's strategic director who led the project, said she hopes the restoration does justice to S P Thompson, the original architect.