THE doubters said it could never be done. But four years on from taking on the mantle of the jewel in the crown of Southsea, the owners of South Parade Pier are now ready to add the icing on the cake with a blockbuster new funfair.
Pier owners Tommy Ware Snr and Tommy Ware Jnr have admitted their pride at the new project that will include dodgems, a helter skelter, rollercoaster and game kiosks.
The move came after funfair entrepreneur and television presenter Richard Cadell – who owns the rights to puppet TV show Sooty – jumped at the chance to get involved, with him set to plough hundreds of thousands of pounds into the project.
Children will be able to go on rides as many times as they like for £7.50 all day when the funfair officially opens for the summer on July 20. But to whet the appetite, there will also be two soft launches on July 6/7 and 13/14. It will be open from 11am – 8pm.
Mr Ware Jnr said: ‘We’ve been inundated with offers for things on the pier but this was the best. It will give fun for all the family and will be affordable. It’s been a lot of hard work owning the pier since we took it over four years ago – at times it’s been like pushing water up a hill – but having this funfair will be the icing on the cake.’
Mr Ware Snr added: ‘This is for the people of Portsmouth. We hope they like it and come out and use it. It’s fantastic – we were blown away when we saw the new rides.’
It has been a whirlwind five weeks for the pier owners and Mr Cadell, who said: ‘When I heard about this opportunity it was perfect – this is my passion. We have big plans. By next summer there will be lots more attractions.’
Leader of the council Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘This will complete the pier – there is now something at every point along it. It’s good to see the owners have delivered on their promises.’