400 go for aerial record

Whether or not they achieved a world record was almost irrelevant as more than 400 hardy souls braved the wind and rain to show that community spirit is truly alive in Yarmouth.

Whether or not they achieved a world record was almost irrelevant as more than 400 hardy souls braved the wind and rain to show that community spirit is truly alive in Yarmouth.

A dreary Saturday morning was brightened up as the young and old walked on to the beach near the Marina Centre to spell out the letters GYP (to represent the community group Great Yarmouth People) for an aerial photograph that would hopefully propel the town into the Guinness Book of Records.

Organisers of the Big Picture event estimated they would need in the region of 2,000 people to achieve the record for the number of people spelling out the name of an organisation in a picture from the sky.

The weather led to a much lower turn-out than hoped for and while those behind the bid were resigned to the fact they had failed in a world record bid, they still hope to gain recognition for holding the biggest event of its kind in the UK.

One of the organisers Paul Cheeseman, of the Voluntary Sector Partnership, said the record bid was good fun, but it was much more about promoting community spirit.

He said: "Only in Great Yarmouth, at 11am on a Saturday, would you get 400 people on the beach in cold weather and drizzle attempting a world record; their spirit was fantastic.

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"It's really a big community event. It made everyone feel really positive and it puts Yarmouth on the map. We are very hopeful that we have got a record."

GYP is a group designed to provide a way for residents and community voluntary and faith groups to have a say in decision-making and help turn their neighbourhoods around.

It organised Saturday's event, which also featured a range of events and stalls at the Marina Centre, with the Local Strategic Partnership.

Yarmouth MP Tony Wright, who also took part in the record attempt, said: "It was fantastic to do something like that. With the inclement weather, to get that number of people to go there shows the community spirit that is present."

Helen Gilbert, 39, was at the event with her family. She said: "I thought it was a character-building experience, especially with the bad weather."

People at Saturday's event were also encouraged to submit something to the Yarmouth tapestry project, which is aiming to show a cross-section of town life through items such as people's pictures and poems.

To find out more about the tapestry email paul.cheeseman@gyvsp.org.uk.