Fun of the fair for festival star

Professor Vanessa Toulmin on the carousel at Butlin's Bognor Regis.
Professor Vanessa Toulmin on the carousel at Butlin's Bognor Regis.
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A RESORT festival leader has been drafted in by a much-loved British tourism institution to give its traditional funfairs a makeover.

Heritage champion Professor Vanessa Toulmin, brains behind Blackpool’s Showzam! festival for the last seven years, is now a re-branding consultant to Butlin’s.

The holiday company is launching a fully refurbished traditional fairground with favourite rides from decades past, and a selection of sideshows echoing the glory days of the Golden Mile.

At Bognor Regis, guests can get dizzy on the dodgems, whirl through the breeze on a spinning carousel, fly through the air on chair-o-planes and enjoy other classic rides such as the helter-skelter, the Paratroopers and Trabant.

Close to 90 per cent of those interviewed by Butlin’s said great British fairgrounds remind them of their youth, while almost half say they give them a feeling of nostalgia. Three quarters even went so far as saying fairgrounds epitomise our ‘Best of British’ heritage.

When asked about their favourite rides, dodgems topped the list, with carousels coming in second place and chair-o-planes a close third.

National Fairground Archive director Vanessa, herself from a fairground background, said: “This is a fair you can go on with your grandparents, parents can take their children, teenagers can go on the rides, young families can go on the helter-skelter and play on the sideshows.

“It’s perfect. I have to thank Amanda Thompson, heading the fourth generation at her family-owned Blackpool Pleasure Beach, for putting Butlin’s in touch with me.”

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