Sand sculptor plans Yarmouth return

The organiser of Yarmouth's sand sculpture festival is seeking sponsorship to enable him to return to the resort for a second summer.Last year's Ancient Greece-themed festival won critical praise from visitors and was hailed as a boost to tourism by the town's business community.

The organiser of Yarmouth's sand sculpture festival is seeking sponsorship to enable him to return to the resort for a second summer.

Last year's Ancient Greece-themed festival won critical praise from visitors and was hailed as a boost to tourism by the town's business community.

However, Dutch organiser Sculpture Events, which stages sand and ice displays across the world, still fell well short of its break even target of 200,000 visitors and was left about £180,000 out of pocket when rain finally washed out the beach display in September.

Thomas van den Dungen, the firm's managing-director, said: "Because we lost so much money last year we are looking to find about £50,000 in sponsorship to return this summer.

"We are busy talking to potential sponsors at a regional and national level and I would also be interested in hearing any propositions from business people locally."

A number of display ideas have already been considered for this summer, including Disney-style characters and a Nelson theme, but Mr van den Dungen said it could be developed in a way to meet sponsors' wishes.

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Last year, more than 60 sculptors were flown in from all over the world to work on the display, using special sharp-edged river sand shipped in from Holland.

Mr van den Dungen said the £1m cost of the inaugural event would be reduced because they still had the sand stored on the beach and they would therefore not be faced with such a high visitor number target.

He said: "A big cause for optimism is that all visitors last year were very satisfied. We think we would get a lot of people coming back."

Yarmouth businessman Peter Jay immediately pledged his support with publicity to persuade the festival organisers to come back.

He said: "My figures last summer for the Hippodrome Circus were 40pc to 50pc up on previous years, and a lot of people told me they had come to the town to see the sand sculptures. Businesses did really well out of the festival last time and we must do what we can to keep it."

Businesses interested in sponsoring the festival are asked to ring Mr van den Dungen on 0031 653700642.