PICTURE GALLERY: Cromer New Year’s Day fireworks

Catherine wheels added a new twist to a remarkable show this evening as thousands of people witnessed the traditional 21st century Cromer way to welcome in the New Year.

Locals and visitors packed out the beach, stood six deep on the promenade, lined the seaside slopes and stood on balconies to watch the fireworks display that was launched from Cromer Pier at 5pm.

The 15-minute spectacular lit up the calm North Sea in a cornucopia of colours, while a clutch of Catherine wheels along either side of the pier made the Victorian attraction look like a blazing train.

Among the other highlights was a sparkling '750' on the pier - to mark the 750th anniversary this year of the first recorded mention of Cromer in historic records.

There were also some surprises in store, as a series of fireworks exploded from out of the sea.

For the viewing public, the show seemed simple enough.

But it was the result of months of planning, four weeks of 'building the display' at Great Massingham, and seven hours of assembling the equipment on the pier.

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The display was dreamed up and delivered by Clive Casburn, of Premiere Fireworks, who was helped by five other people to put it together yesterday - including his wife, Dorothy, who was in charge of flicking the switches.

Mr Casburn said: 'The planning goes on all year. The ideas gradually gel and we begin to put the show together. We are always trying to find something new each year.'

He said the budget was 'tighter every year', and said the weather could easily scupper the event if there was an on-shore breeze.

But last night's show had 'perfect conditions', with the sea like a millpond and the weather still, with just a few drops of rain in the air.

The equipment included more than 5,000 individual explosive devices and almost 18,000m of wire weaving back and forth along the pier.

The lead-up to the display included a fun run along the promenade, organised by North Norfolk Beach Runners.

There were also refreshments being served in Cromer Parish Church, plus a marquee set up outside Cromer Museum, where hot drinks were sold and people could buy lanterns.

The event, organised and funded by a committee of town volunteers, has become one of the highlights of the Norfolk calendar since it was launched in 2000 to celebrate the beginning of the new millennium.

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