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Volunteers clean up Cromer beach ahead of Easter holiday

PUBLISHED: 13:22 30 March 2014 | UPDATED: 13:22 30 March 2014

Mark Bartram with his children Oscar, 11, and Chloe, six, during the Cromer beach clean.

Mark Bartram with his children Oscar, 11, and Chloe, six, during the Cromer beach clean.

Archant

One of north Norfolk’s top tourist attractions was given a spring clean after volunteers got their hands dirty today.

The Big Spring Beach Clean organised by Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) was held on Cromer beach and was one of 120 places being cleared up around Britain following the December 5 storm surge.

North Norfolk Surf Life Saving Club hosted the clean which attracted about 20 people who picked up rubbish including metal, polystyrene and plastic from the cliffs, sand and rocks.

Adam Frere-Smith, development officer for the life-saving club, said: “Cromer beach was totally devastated by the December storm. The beach huts were smashed. It has left a residue of waste on the beach from large pieces of wood to small pieces of plastic. I burst into tears when I saw the storm damage. It looked like a warzone.”

There is an annual beach clean during the summer in Cromer, organised by SAS, but it was decided to put on an extra event to removed debris from the high tides that battered Norfolk and Suffolk.

As well as the beach huts getting destroyed, shop fronts near the beach were ruined and the Cromer Pier was severely damaged.

The Pavilion Theatre box office at the front remains shut.

Angie Fitch-Tillett, cabinet member for coast and environmental services on North Norfolk District Council (NNDC), said: “The beach clean campaign is fantastic. Tourism is a major earner in north Norfolk. It is a vital of our economy. We want the beach to be clean, tidy and welcoming so people come back. We (NNDC) are so pleased SAS have come to Cromer.

“After the storm surge it was awful. We are still repairing and mending areas.”

Oliver Frere-Smith, RNLI Cromer lifeguard and SAS Norfolk representative, said he was shocked following the December storm.

He said: “It is important to keep the beach clean. I want to put out the message that people should look after the beach. Rubbish doesn’t put out a good image for Cromer which is renowned for golden sands.”

He said the amount of rubbish was worse after the storm but added there was a lot of picnic waste, crisp packets and plastic bottles left on the beach after a busy day in Cromer.

As well as looking unattractive the rubbish is detrimental to wildlife and dangerous for surfers.

Volunteer Rachel Walker from Court Drive, Cromer, said: “I live in a beautiful part of the country and want to clear the mess up to make it more pleasant. I want to give something back.”

About 170kg of waste was collected by noon today.

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