Ice rink in Great Yarmouth was a slippery success

Christmas lights switch on in the Market Place, Great Yarmouth.The Ice Rink.November 2015.Picture: J

Christmas lights switch on in the Market Place, Great Yarmouth.The Ice Rink.November 2015.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

It brought a touch of festive magic to Great Yarmouth town centre.

Christmas lights switch on in the Market Place, Great Yarmouth.The Ice Rink.November 2015.Picture: J

Christmas lights switch on in the Market Place, Great Yarmouth.The Ice Rink.November 2015.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

And now as the ice-rink is dismantled figures reveal it exceeded all expectations in terms of numbers with over 11,300 adult, child and group tickets sold.

The most popular days were December 23 when 590 tickets were sold, December 19 with 443 tickets and December 28 with 436 tickets.

And many people took to the slippery surface more than once to test their skills.

The real ice rink was part of Great Yarmouth Borough Council's Cool Christmas festivities, which included one of the town's best ever Christmas Fayres, the visit of the Coca Cola Christmas Truck, a national ice hockey tournament, and enhanced festive lighting.

Christmas lights switch on in the Market Place, Great Yarmouth.The Ice Rink.November 2015.Picture: J

Christmas lights switch on in the Market Place, Great Yarmouth.The Ice Rink.November 2015.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

Proving its appeal figures show that against a trend of declining footfall in town centres nationally, Great Yarmouth's footfall was up overall in December, compared to the previous December, including by 10pc on Boxing Day.

However number crunchers are still working out whether it was a financial success, the council having paid £100,000 to bring the rink to the town but gaining income through ticket sales and sponsorship.

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Meanwhile footfall during the visit of the Coca Cola Christmas truck was up 54pc compared with the previous Wednesday.

Cllr Barry Coleman, the deputy council leader, said: 'This festive season has been extra special, with the real ice rink, magical Christmas lighting and other new attractions helping to create a unique festive shopping experience, which you simply could not get online, out-of-town or elsewhere.

'These attractions collectively created some extra festive hustle and bustle in the town centre, supporting one of the borough council's priorities, which is to work with partners to strengthen the town centre, a key symbol of the borough, as a commercial and cultural hub which showcases what the whole borough offers.

'Most people had some time off with family during the festive season – and the figures show that many grasped this opportunity to benefit from the free weekend parking in six town centre car parks, visit the town centre shops and enjoy a spin together on the ice rink.

'Over the 44 days the ice rink was open, just over 11,300 adult, child and group tickets were sold, which was amazing and exceeded expectations. Some people went on the ice more than once and there were a number of sell-out sessions, with people visiting from across the borough and further afield. The atmosphere was wonderful.

'Ticket prices were set as low as possible to make the attraction affordable for families and enable them to save money to spend on Christmas presents in town centre shops, which were encouraged to take advantage of the ice rink, ongoing free weekend parking trial and other incentives, in order to boost their trade.'

Town centre manager, Jonathan Newman, said: 'The footfall and rink usage statistics suggest that we welcomed more people into the town centre this year and I have had positive feedback from traders about the additional festive attractions. This investment in the local economy has really enhanced the experience of visiting the town centre, leaving people with a positive impression which in itself brings ongoing benefits for the town centre.'

Over the 44 days it was open skaters suffered a few bumps and bruises but no serious injuries were reported.