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‘We’re a resilient bunch’ - Hippodrome owner confident town will bounce back

PUBLISHED: 09:17 15 April 2020 | UPDATED: 09:17 15 April 2020

Peter Jay. Photo: David Street

Peter Jay. Photo: David Street

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The owner of Great Yarmouth’s Hippodrome Circus is confident his business will “come through the other side” of the pandemic - despite continued uncertainty about how long lockdown will last.

The Hippodrome Christmas Spectacular, Yarmouth 2019. Photo: Supplied by Hippodrome CircusThe Hippodrome Christmas Spectacular, Yarmouth 2019. Photo: Supplied by Hippodrome Circus

Peter Jay, owner of the Hippodrome, said: “Everything is a waiting game for us at the moment.

“We are really hoping that we don’t lose the entire summer to coronavirus, and so far, haven’t called off the Summer Spectacular which is due to begin in July.”

But while Mr Jay lamented the potential loss of the whole summer season, he said he is “very positive” Great Yarmouth will bounce back from this “blip” in the town’s history.

He said: “We’re a resilient bunch here in the UK, and if people can’t visit us this summer, they’ll come at Halloween, or they’ll come next year instead.

Pirates Live at the Hippodrome Circus in Great Yarmouth, 2019. Picture: Hippodrome Circus/Streetview MarketingPirates Live at the Hippodrome Circus in Great Yarmouth, 2019. Picture: Hippodrome Circus/Streetview Marketing

“There’ll be a boom in visits to the seaside once this is all over.

“Our business has been running for 116 years and we’re not going to let this put us under.

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“Yes, it’s true that we weren’t prepared for this and it’s come out of the blue. but I’m not going to worry too much because our customers are extremely loyal and supportive.

Hippodrome. Photo: David StreetHippodrome. Photo: David Street

“When we offered refunds for our cancelled Pirates Live showing, most people chose a voucher instead which would allow them to visit another show in the future.”

He also said that while it was frustrating the circus was losing revenue, as well as rent income from the new Royalty building cinema which they own, he had a “good feeling” that if everyone sticks to precuations some of the summer might be salvaged.

On the issue of financial help for businesses from the government, Mr Jay said: “We got a small grant from the government, and of course we don’t have to pay business rates for the time being.

“That is miniscule compared to what our takings would be otherwise, but that’s just the way it is at the moment.”

He said: “I’m sure when we look back at this in 20 years we’ll see that things didn’t get as bad as they could have.”


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