SOUTH Parade Pier is gearing up for a summer full of fun for all the family with the official announcement of a permanent funfair on the pier.
Richard Cadell, who is known for being the hand to the much-loved puppet Sooty, has just signed a 15-year contract to run and provide the rides and amusements on the Southsea pier.
The team at the pier trialled the fair, which is called Kidz Island over the summer and decided to take on the fair permanently.
There will be the dodgems, as well as rides to suit younger children and some that are suitable for parents, too.
Richard plans to turn the pier into an ‘theme park’ atmosphere, with colourful decor and a painted floor to complete the look.
He will bring Sooty to the city at least three times a year for meet and greets and photo opportunities.
The new fair will launch around the Easter holidays next year and will be open most weekends and school holidays.
The 50-year-old puppeteer, stage presenter and screenwriter owned Brean Leisure park for six years.
He said: ‘Rides and amusements are my first love. I want to make people smile and the great thing about what we do here is, because it’s for kids, the first time they see a little ride for them their little face smiling and that’s what I want to see here.’
Owner Tommy Ware Snr and his son Tommy Jr have welcomed in Richard’s plans and say they are looking forward to the launch of their new activities, including boat trips on the new boat deck that was opened earlier this month.
Tommy Snr said: It’s all for the people of Portsmouth, so that they have a fair on the pier. It can only be here by people supporting it.’
It’s the first time the pier will have a permanent funfair and amusement fixture since the Ware family reopened it in April 2017.
From April 2020, pier visitors of all ages will be able to go on boat rides around the Solent from £8.