Top attraction celebrates 100th birthday

IN the best traditions of the English seaside it has provided thrills and spills for generations of funseekers.A century after first opening, Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach has lost none of its bright and breezy charm.

IN the best traditions of the English seaside it has provided thrills and spills for generations of funseekers.

A century after first opening, Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach has lost none of its bright and breezy charm.

Charles B Cochran persuaded the town council to lease a small area of sand dunes on South Denes for an amusement site in 1909.

Now, 100 years later, the Pleasure Beach attracts more than one million visitors annually making it one of the Britain's top tourist attractions.

And the special anniversary is being celebrated on Friday, July 31, with Mayor Tony Smith and fellow councillors taking a ride on the rollercoaster aka the scenic railway.

There will be reduced fares on the night along with an exhibition of old photos and memorabilia.

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The 1930s era scenic railway is the oldest and still one of the most popular rides at the Pleasure Beach.

Despite the rise of the package holidays the crowds have kept coming to the attraction which continues to add glitter to the Golden Mile.

The Pleasure Beach remains family owned, with Albert Jones taking over as managing director from dad Jimmy 10 years ago.

Albert's grandfather Albert Botton purchased the amusement park from previous owner John Collins in the 1950s.

He said: “The mix of traditional and newer rides is what gives the Pleasure Beach its special atmosphere.

“We are getting back to being more of a family amusement park rather than having too many white knuckle rides.

“Generations of people met their husbands and wives visiting the Pleasure Beach, including some of my own employees.

“It is a real challenge looking for new attractions and we want to be the first to get the latest rides.”

He added: “Over the years resorts like Margate, Ramsgate, Southport and Morecombe have lost their amusement parks.

“The overheads are very high and we are exceptionally reliant on the weather.

“Every day is a new test, but I am still getting a lot of enjoyment from the business and won't give up while the buzz is still there.”

Mr Jones introduced a Big Wheel to the array of seafront attractions last year and is bidding to open the town's large casino as part of a multi-million pound leisure development next to the Pleasure Beach.

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