We'll keep Fred's gallopers going, showman's family pledges

Fred Pooley fairground ride

Bessie-Lynne Pooley, whose family are keeping her late husband Fred's fairground ride at Hunstanton running in his memory - Credit: Chris Bishop

A showman's family has pledged to keep the historic fairground ride that bears his name running in his memory.

Fred Pooley, former Mayor of Hunstanton, passed away at the age of 74 on Christmas Eve.

Mr Pooley owned rides and attractions on Rainbow Park, the seafront fair loved by generations of visitors to the Norfolk resort.

<co pic for floods commemoration story, EDP Monday>Facing strong winds & driving snow, Fred Pooley,

Fred Pooley, former mayor of Hunstanton, stands alone on the beach in 2004 with his memories of 1953, when as a six year old he lost an aunt and three cousins in the tidal surge that hit the town. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press

And the pride of his collection, still operated by his family, was the set of gallopers - a carousel where riders whizz round on carved horses and animals.

"We bought it in 1985 or 1986," Mr Pooley's widow Bessie-Lynne, 69, said as Rainbow Park opened up for the 2022 season.

"It was built by Savages of King's Lynn in 1886. People in our family will carry it on."

Fred Pooley roundabout

Fred Pooley's family, with widow Bessie-Lynne (rear, left), on board his historic carousel at Rainbow Park in Hunstanton - Credit: Chris Bishop

Mrs Pooley's family can trace their fairground roots back through four generations.

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After working travelling fairs across the north-west and Midlands, the family settled in Hunstanton in the 1960s.

"It was my dad, Johnny Cook," said Mrs Pooley. "He was the one who decided we should settle here for a better way of life."

Fred Pooley gallopers

Late showman and mayor Fred Pooley's set of gallopers on the fair at Rainbow Park in Hunstanton - Credit: Chris Bishop

The gallopers' ornately-carved horses, chickens and ostriches shone in the sun as Rainbow Park reopened after its winter lay-off.

"We love it, it's such a family resort", said Mrs Pooley as the first visitors of the new season braved the wind lashing in off the sea.

At noon, she rang the bell to start the ride for the first time since her husband's passing, after a handful of punters climbed aboard.

Fred Pooley

Some of the first fair-goers of 2022 enjoy the late Fred Pooley's gallopers at Hunstanton - Credit: Chris Bishop

Family members' names are emblazoned on the necks of the horses of the golden carousel.

Bessie-Lynne vies with the names of the Pooleys' children and grand-children, as per show families' tradition.

Presented by Frederick James Pooley, the ride still says above its ornate gallopers.

Fred Pooley

A carved horse carries the name of widow Bessie-Lynne Pooley, on her late husband's carousel on the fairground in Hunstanton - Credit: Chris Bishop

"Patronised by the elite of the country," a sign beneath says. Another adds: "Capture the thrills of bygone days."