King’s Lynn ferry stops sailing because of coronavirus
PUBLISHED: 13:56 23 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:59 23 March 2020
An ancient ferry service is the latest victim of the coronavirus pandemic.
West Lynn Ferry stopped crossing the River Ouse to King’s Lynn today.
In a statement Steve and Gail Kingston, who have operated the service for the last 20 years, said: “In the present day crisis it will come as no surprise that this is a direct result of financial constraints forced upon us by the advancing effect of the coronavirus.
“The general increase of self-isolation and social distancing has resulted in a decline of footfall which has ultimately affected the running of the ferry.”
The statement said the ferry would resume river crossings against once the coronavirus pandemic has run its course.
But Mr and Mrs Kingston, who moved from Clacton in Essex to Norfolk to take over the business in 2000, added: “We have run the ferry for the past 20 years and are going to take this opportunity to retire and would like to pass on our thanks to our many valued passengers for their continued support over the years.
“Furthermore we wish you well in these trying times and look forward to a positive outcome for the community.”
West Norfolk council leader Brian Long said: “The operator is taking responsible measures.
“I don’t see how you could travel on the ferry boat and keep the distance you need for social protection.”
A ferry is believed to have been in operation in King’s Lynn since the 1280s.
In recent years it ran continuously at peak times of day, offering commuters and shoppers an alternative to driving into the congested centre of Lynn and having to pay to park.
A new operator will be taking over the business once the pandemic has ended and passengers can travel safely on board it again.
Its three boats carry hundreds of people from West Lynn to the Ferry steps in King’s Lynn and back each day at all states of the tide.