Industry rallies round to help after Weston-Super-Mare fire
The owners of the Grand Pier at Weston-Super-Mare on England’s South West coast have expressed their gratitude for the support offered following a recent fire.
Nearby attraction Wookey Hole Caves, run by ex-circus boss Gerry Cottle, has provided the pier with an Incredible Hulk figure, model dinosaur and merry-go-round, while Carter’s Royal Berkshire Steam Fair, which took up residence in Weston during August, also loaned some equipment. The contributions will provide some sort of temporary replacement for the attractions, including an amusement arcade and vintage ghost train, destroyed inside the pier’s pavilion during the blaze on July 28.
“The tourist industry is giving a great deal of support to the Grand Pier during this difficult time,” reports co-owner Kerry Michael. “We are grateful for the assistance and touched by the kindness.”
The pier, which was run for over 60 years by the Brenner family, had been owned by Kerry and his sister Michelle Michael, trading as AGM Holdings, for less than six months before the fire occurred. It is now thought the blaze may have been started by a fryer in one of the pier’s kitchens. Only weeks before, a 200-metre split-level go-kart track, the first of its kind in the UK was added over the top of the pier’s existing dodgems. Both atttractions are now destroyed.
Colin Dawson, chief executive of the BALPPA, the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions, visited last month to inspect the damage and offer his support. “An event such as this is a tragedy at any time but coming so soon after they [the Michaels] completed their purchase of the pier and at the start of the peak season makes it even more so,” he reported. “But I am impressed by their resolve and their determination to replace the Pavilion as quickly as possible. It is a true Phoenix style project.”