Frank and Frances Newsome take over at Merrivale Model Village in Great Yarmouth
- Credit: Archant
A new 'lord and lady' have taken over the reins at what is probably Norfolk's 'smallest' village.
Frank and Frances Newsome have bought Merrivale Model Village in Great Yarmouth and they are already planning on a bright future for the seaside attraction.
The couple, both in their 50s, raised a glass of bubbly with outgoing owners Peter Williamson and Shirley Whelan to celebrate the changeover.
Mr Newsome said it had been a case of love at first sight.
He said: 'When my wife walked through the door she said 'Frank, we've got to buy this'. We fell in love with the village and gardens as soon as we saw it.
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'Peter and Shirley must have the credit for all the hard graft they've put into it, and the results are fantastic.
'We know we've got big shoes to fill, but we don't intend on letting anyone down and we want to maintain the standards and invest to improve.'
READ MORE: Owner to sell Great Yarmouth's Merrivale Model Village to the 'right people' onlyThe couple are from England's north-east and have been based in South Shields since 1971.
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Mr Newsome said: 'We were originally travelling showmen in the north of England and we've been in amusement arcades all our lives.
'This is our first venture away from 'home' but our daughter is married and living down here and we can't wait to get started.'
Mr Williamson and Mrs Whelan, who are based near Wroxham, are retiring to spend more time with their family, although Mr Williamson said he would also keep busy restoring the model village's penny machine collection.
He said: 'We've had a few tears already, but the plans Frank and Frances have are very exciting for the village.
'We always said we wouldn't part with Merrivale until we found the right people to do it and we believe we've found them.
'It's time for us to say goodbye, for signing out the old 'Lord and Lady Merrivale' and bringing in the new ones.'
Mrs Newsome said they already had plans for events at the model village at Halloween and Christmas.
She said: 'We're going to have a Halloween fest with all the staff dressed as Disney villains. I will be Cruella de Vil.
'At Christmas we'll have a Santa's grotto, ice skating and craft stalls.'
The model village was first opened in 1971.