'A great escape' - How a Norfolk webcam helped a Canadian couple endure lockdown

Jeffrey and Caroline Montgomery

Jeffrey and Caroline Montgomery, who live in Toronto, have been visiting Sheringham since 2007. - Credit: Submitted

A couple from Canada have shared how a webcam on the north Norfolk coast has been a "great escape" for them during the coronavirus pandemic.

Caroline and Jeffrey Montgomery, who live in Toronto, first visited Sheringham for a friend's 60th birthday in 2007, fell in love with the place and have returned several times.

In 2020, after deciding to buy a house in the town, Mr Montgomery, 62, stumbled upon the webcam while researching their new home.

Run by Visit Sheringham, the camera is located next to the Two Lifeboats and broadcasts a live stream of the promenade, beach and the sea.

sheringham beach

Views of Sheringham through its promenade webcam proved a "great escape" for a Canadian couple with links to the town. - Credit: Stuart Anderson

Ms Montgomery, 61, whose parents emigrated from the UK to Canada in 1956, said: "The peephole into Sheringham was a great escape for us stuck in Toronto while the house we bought was renovated throughout 2021."

The couple relied on the webcam to see what the weather was like on the north Norfolk coast, she said.

"It was great to hear the sound of the sea and watch as the tide made its daily journey and to see people strolling on the promenade."

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When the house was almost complete, the couple made plans to spend Christmas in Sheringham and Mr Montgomery went there early to get some things ready.

"The day before I was due to join him he sent me a text to watch the webcam as he would be there in ten minutes," Ms Montgomery said.

"The image of having him wave to me as he walked past the Two Lifeboats felt surreal when I think of how small the world has become."

Sheringham beach in 1937

A photo of Caroline Montgomery's grandmother and mother at Sheringham beach in 1937. - Credit: Submitted

Her mother used to visit the Norfolk coast as a child in the 1930s.

"It was only after we made the decision to buy the house that I found an old photo album with a picture of my mum and my grandmother standing in the sea in Sheringham in 1937," she said.

On Wednesday (January 18), Ms Montgomery checked the webcam again and was happy to see it was 6C and sunny in Sheringham while Toronto was being walloped by a snowstorm.

Last September, the webcam briefly stopped working, prompting users to take to social media and ask when it would return.

When the camera was repaired, the response was overwhelmingly positive.

One woman said: "It means a lot to so many people at home and abroad."