Festival’s bounty boosts trio of charities

Crab and lobster models all over Cromer and Sheringham were clattering their claws in approval on Sunday as a total of �9,000 was handed out to three charities, representing more than half the proceeds of the two towns' first festival dedicated to the crustaceans.

A couple of the decorated sea creatures nipped down to Cromer Pier and joined those gathered for the lifeboat station presentation ceremony which saw cheques for �3,000 apiece donated to Help for Heroes, Cromer RNLI and Sheringham RNLI.

And as those present toasted the success of May's Crab and Lobster Festival, talk turned to next year's plans.

The presentations were made by the mayors of Cromer and Sheringham at the time of the festival, Hilary Thompson and Noel Gant.

'It was an absolutely magnificent event,' said Mr Gant. 'We raised a lot of money, but mainly it was about enjoyment - people had a lot of fun.'

An estimated 30,000 people were drawn to visit the two towns because of the festival, boosting visitor trade between the Easter and spring bank holidays, according to festival secretary Kate Royall. The festival's website had been registering 1,000 hits each day in the run-up to the event, she added.

Attractions had included crab-catching, cookery, comedy, seafaring crafts, music and a 'crustacea crawl', inviting people to track down 82 decorated crabs and lobsters dotted around the two towns. The models were auctioned afterwards, raising just over �15,000. The balance, after the charity donations, will be ploughed into a second joint festival, in May 2011.

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'There will be another trail and the food, heritage and craft events - which were very popular - will be expanded but we are not able to say yet what objects we will be getting people to decorate, except that they will have a seaside theme,' said Mrs Thompson.

A free pier concert, with the Cromer Smugglers and Sheringham Shantymen, would again launch the event which would also include local-produce markets over the start and finish weekends.

Collecting the cheque on behalf of Help for Heroes was Michael Meyrick, of Fox's Funeral Services, in Cromer. Fox's sponsored a crab on behalf of the charity during the festival and it was decorated by Lance Corporal Nathan Webb of the Royal Anglians.

Sheringham and Cromer lifeboat representatives said their cheques would go towards the daily station running costs.