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Beach hut competition weathers storm

PUBLISHED: 15:10 06 August 2008 | UPDATED: 09:05 13 July 2010

Dominic Chessum

They took the full force of the tempestuous seas that battered the coast in autumn last year and many were left as no more than match wood.

But despite such adversity, nine months on and beach hut owners in Cromer are again gearing up to give their wooden shacks a make over for the annual best dressed beach hut competition.

They took the full force of the tempestuous seas that battered the coast in autumn last year and many were left as no more than match wood.

But despite such adversity, nine months on and beach hut owners in Cromer are again gearing up to give their wooden shacks a make over for the annual best dressed beach hut competition.

Even those who lost their beach hut entirely during the storms are being encouraged to take part and use their imagination to convert their vacant plot into an eye catching spectacle for carnival week.

With the summer season in full swing, Hilary Hann, who runs the Garden House Gallery in Cromer and is sponsoring this year's event, said every beach hut deserved a bit of tender loving care and should be dressed up for a few days.

She said: “The first prize will go to the hut that really catches the judges' eyes.

“Owners don't have to spend lots of money on decorating - they simply have to use their imagination.

“People can even use the beach hut plot and create something on that if their hut was lost.”

Mrs Hann, who lost her own hut in the storm, said that continuing with the best beach hut competition sent out an important message to people that Cromer was a place able to bounce back.

After an 8ft sea surge hit the coast in the early hours of November 9 last year many of the huts, which stand on sea defences heading along the beach towards Overstrand, were left badly damaged.

Some had their sides and roofs caved in by huge boulders which were carried by gigantic waves crashing against the shore. Others were swept away entirely while a lucky few escaped with little more than flood damage.

Roy and Erica Condie, from the West Midlands, scoured the beach the next day but were only ever able to find one broken bit of their hut and a shard of the welsh dresser from inside.

They have since completely rebuilt their hut and painted it a glorious bright yellow.

“We thought about whether to get it replaced for a long time but we are now really pleased with the new hut,” said Mrs Condie.

Mr Condie said: “We were lucky that ours was taken completely because it meant we did not have to spend the insurance money on having the pieces of the old one taken away. Some people did not have any insurance at all.”

The winner of the beach hut competition will receive a specially painted watercolour of their beach hut by Cromer artist Joy Cole who is one of this year's judges along with Mrs Hann and Cromer architect Jim Bond.

Entry forms are available from the Garden House Gallery, 31 Garden Street, Cromer, and entries must be submitted by Monday, August 18, ready for judging on Friday, August 22.


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