Holidaysmakers’ heartbreak at ‘decline’ of Great Yarmouth
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015
For 45 years, the Greenock family has enjoyed fun-packed holidays in Great Yarmouth.
'If I won the lottery tomorrow, I'd buy a house here,' said John Greenock, who first fell for our seaside town in 1970.
John and his wife Muriel, who live in Edinburgh, have no plans to stop visiting Yarmouth - but the couple can't hold their tongues anymore and said it's heartbreaking to see the resort 'in decline'.
They have issued a rallying cry to residents, businesses, and council leaders to take pride in the town and help make it great again.
They are so passionate about Yarmouth they've even met the GYBC chief executive Gordon Mitchell and tourism boss Alan Carr to ask what is being done.
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'We started coming here because I was in the army, posted not too far away, and this was where we came with our two boys when I was on leave,' said John.
'I left in 1973 and we went home, back to Edinburgh.
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'When we'd settled, I said the boys 'Where do you want to go on holiday?' It was Yarmouth, they wanted to come back. And so we did, year in, year out.
'Back then it was 12 hours travel time to get here on the bus, but it was worth it. We carried on coming every year.'
In recent years, however, their holidays have changed. The Greenocks, whose two sons are now grown up and going on their own family breaks elsewhere, still come during the first two or three weeks of July but say there's little to do in the mornings or evenings.
'It's like Yarmouth shuts at 6pm,' said John.
'I asked the guys who run the businesses, what are you doing here shutting down at 6pm. He said it's to accommodate the English kids school holidays. He said people don't come, so they don't open.
'There's this apathy. This idea that things don't need to open because nobody is coming. Well somebody needs to pull their finger out.'
Muriel said Yarmouth is not unheard of - friends and family ask what it's like and she tells them what a wonderful place it is.
'We love the beach, I love the people that you meet,' she said.
'But there aren't any shows on in the evening anymore. I don't want to go to the pub every night, I want to be out doing something a little different, relaxing, enjoying myself. That's what everyone wants from their holiday.'
Like many, the couple were disappointed by the way Yarmouth was portrayed in the Channel 5 show Benefits Britain.
'I don't know if the producer had an axe to grind against Great Yarmouth,' said John.
'I know the problems aren't going to be fixed overnight. But it's been spiralling and the first thing is to stop it going any further. Then you reverse it.'
What do you think? Write to Letters, Great Yarmouth Mercury, 169 King Street, Yarmouth, NR30 2PA or email email@example.com.