Great Yarmouth Waterways set for winter wonderland transformation

Larrissa Le Picq promoting the winter wonderland event to be held at Yarmouth Waterways.

By liz coates
Sunday, November 30, 2014

4:19 PM

A seaside water garden is set to be transformed into a festive winter wonderland with its winding rivers trimmed with twinkling lights and a host of fun activities.

Larrissa Le Picq promoting the winter wonderland event to be held at Yarmouth Waterways.

Following the success of a summer pirate day the Waterways on Great Yarmouth’s North Drive is staging its first ever Christmas event on December 6.

The effort is aimed at lifting the profile of the historic Grade II listed attraction and making it a focus for community events and get-togethers.

Organiser Larrissa Le Picq said that more than 70 visits to Santa had already been booked within 24 hours of them being advertised delighting organisers and proving a hearty local appetite for events in the gardens which stood idle for most of the year.

“The idea really is just to bring the community together,” Mrs Le Picq said. “Had we have known we were going to have such a good response we might have put it on for longer.”

The mother-of-four who runs the Waterways cafe with her husband Craig has formed an action group to promote the scenic strip running alongside the dunes, a designated SSSI nature haven.

Having moved from London ten years ago she said she was charmed by the area and keen to get more people involved and enjoying the sedate gardens again.

Although the Waterways is owned by the borough council officials, she said, were happy for the family to stage events other than the annual duck race helped by a Community First Funding grant of £1400. Helped by a team of volunteers she is busy preparing for the seasonal event making a range of home-made and decorating the area. One of the shelters will be transformed into a magical grotto where children can come face-to-face with Santa and receive a goody bag.

Although there is a reserve list to meet Santa, Mrs Le Picq cannot be certain of how many will turn up on the day and whether there will be capacity for more encounters.

Other attractions include a trio of choirs, roasted chestnuts, games, a colouring competition, food, mulled wine and mince pies.

The Waterways Action Group is also launching its waterways calendar featuring shots of the gardens which are held in high affection locally as a more gentle attraction away from the arcades of the Golden Mile. Priced at £5.50 all proceeds will go back to the group to revitalise the gardens.

Mrs Le Picq said she wanted the event to be a traditional low-key festive fun day with a home-spun feel and community atmosphere.

The gardens were finished in 1928, complementing the existing boating lake. They are unique in the UK. In time supporters hope to achieve year-round lighting and sponsorship for flower beds.

The event is on Saturday December 6, 3-5pm.

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