Sands of time run back

PUBLISHED: 07:30 26 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:05 22 October 2010

For 33 years he was as much a fixture of a Yarmouth holiday as the big-name comedians people flocked from all over the country to see.

For 33 years he was as much a fixture of a Yarmouth holiday as the big-name comedians people flocked from all over the country to see.

Between 1927 and 1960 no stroll along the Golden Mile was complete without a stop to see Frederick Bultitude's sand sculptures on the beach.

The official Yarmouth sand artist became a well-loved character in the borough, building up his own fan club - with visitors admitting they had come from as far as Scotland to watch him work.

But when Mr Bultitude was driven off the beach in 1960 because of rising costs the tradition died and the art form largely disappeared from Britain's shores.

Until now.

Tradition returned to Yarmouth this month as 70 sand sculptors of international-renown descended on Central Beach for a summer-long festival organisers hope will attract 200,000 people to the town.

And while the statues with an ancient Greek theme might be slightly larger scale than anything Mr Bultitude ever produced, for his daughter Christine Philpott it's just like old times again.

Yesterday the mother-of-four was special guest of the sand sculpture festival, and told the EDP of her pride that the tradition introduced by her father had made a welcome, if unexpected return.

"I think he would have been surprised to see these sculptures back here, and a bit amazed," she said. "They're wonderful, a lot bigger than anything my dad ever made - but then my dad never got the chance to import 4,000 tonnes of Dutch river sand!"

Mrs Philpott said she only remembered her father's sculptures from his last few years, but recalled the pride she had watching him work.

"So many people would crowd round to watch him when he was sculpting," said the full-time carer. "People would come back year after year, and they always told me how much they enjoyed watching him work.

"Some came from as far as Scotland, it made me incredibly proud to hear them talk about my dad like that."

And she said that Mr Bultitude, who died in 2000 aged 91, would be delighted that Yarmouth was continuing the tradition he introduced.

"If he was here he would really appreciate the craftsmanship that went into these," she said. "And he would feel so proud that new generations are able to come and see the beauty of sand sculptures.

"I'm sure this festival will be very successful - it worked for Yarmouth for 30 years, there's no reason why it can't work again."

The festival runs every day until September 10. Tickets £6 adults, £4 concessions, £4 under 12s and under fours go free. For information call 01493 332200.

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