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‘It’s been such a part of local life for as long as I can remember’ - Wroxham and Hoveton residents react to Oyster Yachts collapse

The Oyster Yachts premises at Hoveton. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Oyster Yachts premises at Hoveton. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

The news of the collapse of Oyster sent shockwaves through the villages of Hoveton and Wroxham.

Lee Cross, team leader at the King's Head at Hoveton. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Lee Cross, team leader at the King's Head at Hoveton. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The company’s base in Tunstead Road, Hoveton, was quiet yesterday afternoon but business owners and residents in the villages were devastated by the news.

Lee Cross, team leader at the King’s Head in Station Road, Hoveton, said Oyster staff were in the bar on Monday night.

He said: “Some of them were in here last night, talking about it; obviously they were not in the highest of spirits.”

The 29-year-old said he was told some of them had gone into other boat builders in the village, looking for work.

Wendy Timewell, director at the Hotel Wroxham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Wendy Timewell, director at the Hotel Wroxham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“There were ten of them walking in one after the other,” he said. “It’s terrible, they’ve got children, wives, houses and everything to sort out.

“It’s quite a loss for us too because they’d come up here after work and spend between £100 and £250, so it will have an impact.”

While Wendy Timewell, owner of the Hotel Wroxham, added: “It was a massive shock for us, it’s been a very successful business and lots of people come and stay at the hotel. It’s just a great shame, as lots of the workers come in here too - it’s terrible.”

Melvyn Simms, 78, said the news was a blow to the area due to its history in boat building.

Melvyn Simms at Hoveton. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Melvyn Simms at Hoveton. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

He said: “I grew up in Horning where the boats for the Oxford/Cambridge boat race used to be built, and my father used to work for Bertrams, so this is a blow.”

Fran Whymark, councillor for Wroxham on Broadland District Council, said: “I think it’s a real shame, it’s going to knock the area massively.

“It will have a massive impact on not just those who have lost their jobs, but the economy locally. I don’t think it can be over-estimated the impact it will have, it’s quite a shock for me.

“But I’m genuinely so sorry for these people, it’s been such a part of local life for as long as I can remember.”

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