Hunstanton enhancement scheme unveiled by MP Henry Bellingham

New look includes memorial bench to businessman Richard Searle

A regeneration scheme to enhance part of Hunstanton was officially unveiled yesterday by MP Henry Bellingham.

The new-look stretch of Seagate also included a memorial bench for Richard Searle who died earlier this year.

Mr Searle, 66, was chairman of the Searles Leisure Group and a leading light in the tourism industry.

He died while returning to his home from a trip to Gran Canaria.

Mr Searle served on West Norfolk council and held the portfolio for regeneration.

He was awarded the MBE in 2001 for services to the holiday park industry and also served on the town council.

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The memorial bench was one of two included in the �136,000 regeneration scheme for his home town. The other was dedicated to the memory of Geoffrey and Margaret Searle who founded the Seatours business.

Mr Bellingham said: 'This is really a good example of local authorities working together.

'It is also to honour the hard work done by Richard Searle who was an inspiration in the town,' he added.

The two seats have been sponsored by Searle's Leisure Resort.

'Searles has been influential in Hunstanton for many years, and their passion and dedication has helped to ensure that the town has continued to grow and develop,' said Deputy Borough Mayor Elizabeth Watson.

'Work began on this enhancement scheme towards the end of last year following a period of consultation with stakeholders and the public. We are delighted that it has been completed in time for the main holiday season,' she added.

The scheme, which has transformed a through-route from the car park to the sea front, includes new paving, trees, street furniture and lighting.

Bespoke seating, modelled on the traditional sea-serpent design, has also been installed along the promenade.

The cliffs also now boasts a new interpretation board to help visitors understand the history, geology and ecology of the area.

'Richard was a key member of our Hunstanton Regeneration Project team and I am sure he would have been proud of what we have achieved here,' added Mrs Watson.