‘It takes us away from all the bad news,’ says Norfolk joke shop owner
PUBLISHED: 14:07 15 June 2020 | UPDATED: 14:16 15 June 2020
It sounds just the place if you want to cheer yourself up amid all the doom and gloom.
For as lockdown eases, Britain’s largest joke shop has re-opened its doors.
Owner Paul Beal saw a steady stream of customers at World of Fun in Hunstanton on his first day back in business.
Mr Beal, who has run the shop on St Edmund’s Terrace near the Princess Theatre for 42 years, said the old favourites were as popular as ever.
“We’ve got whoopee cushions, foam in the mouth sweets, sweets that turn your mouth blue, car exhaust whistles,” he said.
“It takes us away from all the bad news, we’ve all had plenty of TV and alcohol lately.”
More fiendish tricks include non-tear toilet paper, along with other lavatory humour.
“I prefer magic tricks,” said Mr Beal, who sometimes conjures at social events.
“Here,” he says, taking a loop of string out of his pocket. “Imagine this is a lady’s necklace.
“Put your thumb up, loop it round it and if you can hold onto it you can keep it.”
Somehow the string slips away before Mr Beal whips it back into his pocket.
Mr Beal and other traders in Hunstanton are pinning their hopes on the tourists returning to town after losing the first half of their summer season to lockdown.
“The town’s open to welcome them,” he said. “I just hope the caravan sites open soon, that’s what we all need.”
Hunstanton’s population doubles in he summer season, as visitors move into thousands of caravans, chalets and holiday lets.
While day trippers have returned to town overnight stays remain against government guidance.
Coronavirus has already claimed one high profile business in Hunstanton, with the Golden Lion on The Green ceasing trading after its parent company Shearings collapsed.
MORE - Golden Lion ceases trading after coach firm collapses
Mr Beal got into the joke business by what he calls a happy accident more than 40 years ago, buying a box of jokes and tricks at a trade show to try on the pavement outside his cafe.
Teams of footballers were in town to compete for the Old Tin Can - a now defunct competition to remember First World War soldiers from Hunstanton and London kicking old cans about in the trenches.
Players snapped up the lot in a weekend and World of Fun was born.
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