VIDEO: Jolly Fisherman offered lifeline by Skegness Town Council

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The Jolly Fisherman character who has welcomed thousands of visitors to Skegness every year has been thrown a lifeline after his costumes were handed back to the Town Council,

And Jolly was out on the beach this morning to celebrate the fact that visitors will still see him out and about in the resort during the coming holiday season.

There was worldwide interest in the fate of the lovable character after the Lincolnshire Coastal Bid ditched Jolly and returned the costumes to the council.

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Concern for his fate grew as a result of an item on the agenda of last night's Skegness Town Council meeting which outlined the consequences, financial as well as health and safety, on taking on the responsibility for Jolly when, in addition to day to day priorities, councillors are soon to launch their new pavilion and cafe in Tower Gardens, as well as run the park and car park.

Mayor of Skegness Coun Mark Dannatt on Skegness beach with the Jolly Fisherman after Skegness Town Council agreed to save the town;s favourite character. Photo: John Byford.Mayor of Skegness Coun Mark Dannatt on Skegness beach with the Jolly Fisherman after Skegness Town Council agreed to save the town;s favourite character. Photo: John Byford.
Mayor of Skegness Coun Mark Dannatt on Skegness beach with the Jolly Fisherman after Skegness Town Council agreed to save the town;s favourite character. Photo: John Byford. | jpimedia

Local artist and former councillor John Byford, who called on residents to go along to the meeting and have their say, was among the packed gallery at the meeting.

Mr Byford outlined the importance of saving the Jolly Fisherman - created in 1908 from a poster by artist John Hassall, which was commissioned by the Great Northern Railways (GNR) - and said: "It's brilliant news this Jolly saga as it were has got national attention because it's great for Skegness, great for promoting the area and it's highlighted how important the Jolly Fisherman is to Skegness.

"It's been in nearly every national newspaper, it's been a subject for Piers Morgan on morning telly - and, yes, Piers loves Jolly and the campaign we are doing - and I genuinely believe the councilllors have no choice but to support this campaign to support Jolly."

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After the meeting, Mayor Coun Mark Dannatt, who said a friend from America had even been in touch asking what was going on, said: "We were not going to let Jolly go and I am pleased to say he has been saved.

"This has gone worldwide and he deserves it. My phone hasn't stopped with people saying we have to save Jolly. Well he's been saved and we now have to look at a way forward and take it to the management committee, approve the funding for Jolly, and take him out and about."

In the meantime, the costume will be stored by Coun Tony Tye, who offered to help having for years taken Jolly on Tour when he was chairman of the local Chamber of Trade and Commerce before the BID took him on.

The reason behind the return to Skegness Town Council of the Jolly Fisherman costumes has been explained by Coun Sid Dennis, who is also the chairman of the Lincoolnshire Coastal BID.

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He said: "I can confirm that the BID took on Jolly as a temporary measure when the role of the Town Partnership and Town Manager initiative was wound up.

"This provided some certainty whilst a more appropriate body or home was sought.

"You will be aware that the remit of the BID is wider that Skegness and it is important that we do not just focus our support on just one area of the Coast but look to fairly as possible to support the whole area who invest in the BID.

"It was identified that Skegness Town Council would, therefore, be a more logical guardian, for now and the future, due to their operational area and affinity with their corporate objectives."

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Mr Dennis also clarified the situation regarding the Skegness Ambassadors, who it is understood resigned along with the organisation's manager Lisa Collins, who leaves later this month.

He said: "The BID has recently invested in two new Warden roles and these have proved to be a success. Some of the work of the Ambassadors is intended to transition to the wardens as part of this strategic change."

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