More people in Yarmouth set to vote in the EU referendum than in the last general election

EU and UK flags fly above the EU Commission offices in Westminster, London. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/P

EU and UK flags fly above the EU Commission offices in Westminster, London. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA - Credit: PA

It is said it will be the biggest political decision in a generation.

Jolanta Dulkyte, 21, from Great Yarmouth who moved to the town from Lithuania in February 2015

Jolanta Dulkyte, 21, from Great Yarmouth who moved to the town from Lithuania in February 2015 - Credit: Geraldine Scott

And as the countdown to the EU referendum draws closer, we're looking to speak to people living in a European country, who are originally from Great Yarmouth.

If this is you, email or call 01493 847961.

The hot topic of the referendum appears to have caught the imagination of people in the Great Yarmouth parliamentary constituency - more have signed up to vote than have taken part in previous local and general elections.

As of midnight on Tuesday this week 72,411 people had registered to vote in the borough.

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This was compared with 58,844 people registering to vote in this year's local council elections, and the 69,793 who registered to vote in the 2015 general election.

However the criteria to vote in referenda and general elections differs from that to voting in local elections.

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The main difference is that while in local elections EU citizens can vote, they're not able to in referenda or general elections.

Larisa Field, 40, who moved to Great Yarmouth 13 years ago from Russia.

Larisa Field, 40, who moved to Great Yarmouth 13 years ago from Russia. - Credit: Geraldine Scott

The deadline to have your voice heard in the referendum was originally midnight on Tuesday, but due to a Government website crashing it was extended to midnight yesterday, Thursday.

So the number of people registered in the borough could still rise.

On referendum day - June 23 - all 43 of the area's polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm.

Voters will be asked simply to vote on the question 'Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?' There will be a tick box next to the word Remain and Leave.

After polls close, votes will be counted at the Town Hall before the local result is announced. This is expected around 4.30am according to borough officials.

The Yarmouth result will then be fed into the regional event in Chelmsford, and once combined with all other areas in the Eastern region, a regional result will be announced.

Finally, all regional results will be given to the national count in Manchester, where the final decision over whether the UK will leave the EU or not will be announced.

Alberto Herranz

Alberto Herranz - Credit: Archant

These different declaration levels are unique to referendums.

The national result is expected around breakfast time on Friday, June 24.

In the run up to the big day, we spoke to people from around the world who now live in the borough, to get their opinions on the referendum vote means to them.

Jolanta Dulkyte

Jolanta, 21, moved to Great Yarmouth from Lithuania in February last year.

She said: 'I moved here because I wanted a job and I wanted to study, and that's really hard in Lithuania at the moment. At first I went to work in Hemsby as I already had a contract for the job.'

Jolanta worked as a cleaner and then as a waitress at one of Hemsby's holiday parks.

Members of the Afroluso dance group celebrated its third birthday on Saturday. Founder Ana Moreira w

Members of the Afroluso dance group celebrated its third birthday on Saturday. Founder Ana Moreira with treasurer Michael Blank. Picture by: ArtLook4U/Patricia Szubska - Credit: ArtLook4U

She has been taking English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes through Great Yarmouth College since September.

'It's been almost a year since I started,' she said. 'I want to carry on my studies and I'm hoping to start a fitness, sport and health course at the college to become a personal trainer. The classes are really good.'

On the European Referendum, Jolanta said she was concerned about the vote.

She said: 'It's quite difficult because from what I have heard they are talking about what is going to happen but no-one is sure.

'They are talking about money and getting control back but for me they have not been talking about what might happen for people who have already moved here.

'I pay my taxes and fees, I've worked and I'm studying, but I don't know what's going to happen.

'It worries me because maybe I will have to go back to my country. It's scary.'

Miriam Kikis officially opening the new footway on the refurbished Vauxhall Bridge in Great Yarmouth

Miriam Kikis officially opening the new footway on the refurbished Vauxhall Bridge in Great Yarmouth.September 2013 Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2013

Larisa Field

Larisa, 40, moved to the UK from Russia 13 years ago.

Her husband, Greg, is British and the couple - who met on the internet - now live in Great Yarmouth.

She started on an English for Speakers of Other Languages course though Great Yarmouth College in September last year.

She said: 'I married a British man, but I didn't always live in the UK.

'I was in Germany for two years and in Belgium for two years, it was really good fun.

As a British citizen, Larisa will be able to take part in the referendum on June 23, and she said she will be using her vote.

Simone Carson

Simone Carson - Credit: Archant

She said: 'I definitely will be voting to leave because for me I'm very worried about the economic situation.'

She said the UK could strengthen its ties with the USA by leaving the European Union.

'If we left we would be able to sign a contract with the USA, but if we stay we might not be able to do that for another ten years.'

Alberto Herranz

Alberto, 37, was born in Greece and moved to the United Kingdom when he was 17.

He has only recently moved to Bradwell where he lives with his Greek partner, and he currently works in a factory just outside of Norwich.

Regarding the EU referendum he is unsure as to what to expect, should the result go either way.

He said: 'It's a tough one for me as I can see the arguments for both sides.

'I think if I was British I would probably lean more on the side to leave.

'Obviously in Greece there is a big percentage who want to leave, but if I pushed that to the side I still think if the UK were to leave, the powers would be able to better organise economic affairs more organically.

'I think as a result the EU might be able to pick up in the future, improve and lead to a stronger future.'

He said that despite his beliefs he was not 100pc certain whether it would benefit the UK in the long term.

He said: 'If I was going to vote it would still be a very difficult decision as you keep hearing reports saying different things, and a lot of scaremongering on both sides, and you can't really tell what will happen in the future should we leave.

'I just hope people don't make their judgements solely on being scared of people from overseas or just because they want David Cameron out, it has to be a smart choice.'

Ana Moreira

Ana, 30, is a dance teacher originally from Portugal. She has lived in the UK for 14 years and has spent five of those in Great Yarmouth.

'It makes me really sad because I feel like I belong to this country. I don't know if it will be the same if the UK leaves the EU. I'm not happy I can't vote because I'm Portuguese. I'm really worried about things like the rights I'm going to be having here if the UK votes to leave.

'Everyone is talking about immigration. I don't think because I'm an immigrant I don't belong here. I've learnt English, even though I still have a bit of an accent. Immigrants aren't that bad, they contribute a lot to the economy. I don't care about benefits, I have always been working here.'

Ana founded the Afroluso dance group in Great Yarmouth five years ago, which celebrates African-Portugeuse culture and performs cross the county.

She also organised an international exchange programme called Erasmus+ to bring 60 young people from across Europe to Yarmouth for the week to stay in local B&Bs and promote the area.

The mother of a six-year-old girl added: 'I love bringing people together. We put on events where we showcase Portuguese food and dance and peolple say: 'Wow, I didn't know you did this.'

'I think all nationalities have good and bad people. People should not look at all immigrants with the same eyes.

'I have a lot of English friends here and they don't know why the campaign is talking about immigration so much.

'With all the ladies who do Zumba with me, nationality doesn't come into it'

Miriam Kikis

Miriam, 59, is a well known Great Yarmouth restaurateur. She was born in Cyprus and moved to England in 1976.

She said: 'I would prefer to stay in the EU. Better the devil you know than the one you don't. I'm just going with my gut feeling.

'You hear all the conflicting reports on TV, aand ll my customers are asking me what I think. Right from the beginning I have said we are better in.'

Mrs Kikis said security concerns were one of the reasons she is supporting the campaign to remain.

The mother-of-two said: 'I think if we come out of the EU we are going to create a lot of uncertainty, which as a business person concerns me. After the recession in 2008, we can't afford to have more troubled years.'

The owner of the Seafood Restaurant in North Quay, added: 'I think a lot of people will vote out because they are scared because of all the overseas people.

'A lot of people are scared if Turkey were to join. I would be the first person to say I would not welcome that because of their human rights record and the way they invaded Cyprus. But the Leave campaign are scaring people by saying if we stay Turkey will join the EU, but I do not think that will happen in at least the next 20 years.

'Illegal immigrants will still come in whether we are in the EU or not.'

Simone Carson

Simone, 33, was born in Croatia but has spent most of her life moving around.

After moving to Wales as a youngster, she then lived in Belgium, France and finally in England in Great Yarmouth in 2014.

Here she lives with her husband Taylor and their three year old son Keiran.

She is currently on maternity leave from her job as an office administrator, and is expecting her second child in three months time.

She said: 'I would prefer to stay in but I could easily see things going the other way.

'There is a lot of talk of regaining power and control but I think it will create more uncertainty than anything if it does happen.

'I also think there is a lot of eurosceptism going on at the moment and if the UK does leave I think it will speed up disintegration within the EU.'

Mrs Carson said that while she could see why people might want to leave because of immigration, she worries about the adverse impact it will have on immigrants already living in the country.

She said: 'What happens to them? How are they going to feel about it? There is going to be a whole range of different emotions as some people won't feel like they

'There are people who work and pay their taxes and do contribute to the economy.'

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