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Calls to get the tills ringing for flood-hit Wells businesses during carnival week

06:30 24 July 2014

Kay Gelder in K's Burger Bar which has re-opened on the quay at Wells. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Kay Gelder in K's Burger Bar which has re-opened on the quay at Wells. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2014

Calls are being made for crowds to turn out in force during a crucial Wells Carnival week to help traders reclaim some of the losses from December’s floods.

Several quayside businesses are still counting the cost of the destruction caused by the biggest tidal surge in Wells’s history and carnival organiser Patrick Weston hopes the event will “bring smiles back to faces” in the town.

On Friday, K’s – formerly K’s Burger Bar – became the final Wells business to reopen after being shut by the devastating floods of December 5.

Sands Amusements Arcade recently reopened and other quayside businesses affected by the floods, including The Golden Fleece pub, Shop With a View and Standard House Chandlery, suffered closures.

Wells Carnival week, which runs from next Friday, August 1, until August 10, brings around 25,000 people to the town. Carnival day itself, on August 9, is seen as the town’s busiest day of the year.

And after an extremely challenging eight months the need to get traders’ tills ringing will be more vital than ever this year.

Simon Walsingham, a member of a recently-established Wells business forum, who owns ML Walsingham and Son hardware store in the town, said: “Everyone in Wells knows how important the Wells Carnival is to businesses in the town, but this year it is especially crucial.

“The guys on the quayside have had a really difficult start to the year.”

Kay Gelder, 69, who owns K’s, expects to recoup some of the funds from loss of earnings but said she will still be thousands of pounds out of pocket.

She said: “I missed out on the Wells Christmas Tide, at Easter and what has been a great summer so far.

“We’re all hoping for a really good carnival week to get back on track.”

Wells town councillor Roger Arguile, the council’s portfolio holder for tourism, said: “I’m sure the retailers will be glad of a big boost after a difficult few months and some of the business, like K’s, have only just reopened.

“The tremendous work of a lot of volunteers will make the carnival a great occasion this year and bring much-needed support for town traders.

“Shopping is a key part of Wells’ tourism appeal and I believe the offering at Wells is better than any other town of comparable size in Norfolk.”

Wells Carnival Committee chairman Patrick Weston said: “The Wells Carnival is a major boost to the Wells economy, not just for one week a year, but also for ensuring people continue to come back again and again.

“We hope to have another fantastic carnival this year and bring the smiles back to faces to the town.”

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