Lowestoft cinema to re-open its doors after tidal surge

East Coast Cinema manager Michael Hansell inside the building that was badly damaged by the recent f

East Coast Cinema manager Michael Hansell inside the building that was badly damaged by the recent floods. The Lowestoft cinema is set to re-open on Valentines Day. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Its big screen has shown many a movie based on come backs against the odds.

And now Lowestoft's East Coast Cinema is dramatically bouncing back itself as it prepares to re-open its door to film lovers more than two months after it was badly damaged by the tidal surge of December 5.

Flood waters caused an estimated £250,000 of damage to the building in London Road South as three of its four cinemas were put out of action as seats, carpets and other fittings were ruined,

But after mammoth repair and salvage work the cinema is gearing up to re-open on Friday, February 14 with the films The Lego Movie, Mr Peabody and Sherman, The Monuments Men and RoboCop.

The re-opening will see three screens showing films, while the remaining damaged screen is due to resume showing movies form March 7.

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Cinema owner Michael Hansell and his 10 staff are now counting down the days until families can enjoy half term films there.

Mr Hansell, who took over the cinema four and half years ago, said; 'We can't wait to get back to normal and see people come through the doors again.

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'It has been a long two months, but we are nearly there now.'

During the tidal surge the whole of the cinema's ground floor was inundated with flood water, leaving only one upstairs screen unscathed.

The first stage of the salvage and repair work saw industrial heaters set up in the building's drenched rooms by a specialist company called Revival.

The heaters were on full power for five weeks as they dried out the cinema.

Mr Hansell said: 'For five weeks they were at 50C. When I walked through the doors I could have worn a shirt and shorts it was so hot.'

After the heaters had done their job in drying out the building, workmen from Colchester-based property damage firm FTSS then started to refit and repair the cinema.

The work will also see the cinema decor colour change from lilac to grey and toilet facilities will also be improved.

Looking back on the events of Thursday, December 5, Mr Hansell, who said: 'I was just a real shock to see the amount of damage that was caused. But it is nearly all behind us now.'

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