Evicted fun fair couple face leaving Hunstanton

Debbie and John Cook
Debbie and John Cook
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A fairground ride operator who has been given his marching orders by the new landlord of a Hunstanton amusement park fears he’ll have to say goodbye to the town for good.

Well-known showman John Cook and his wife Deborah were left devastated when their rides at Rainbow Park were dismantled last week under the instruction of site landlord William Roper.

Now Mr Cook, who has lived in Hunstanton for 50 years and run fairground rides for more than 40, believes he will have to put their Hunstanton home on the market and move out of the area.

“It would be nice to be able to stay here, but I don’t know if we’re going to be able to,” he said. “We will see if there’s anything else we can do for a business before we sell the house, but if there isn’t, I expect we’ll have to move on in the next few months.”

Mr Cook, of Seagate Road, said he and his wife have been inundated with messages of support from local people since their rides, a Waltzer and a children’s ride, were taken down between last Tuesday and Thursday.

“We’ve had a lot of support, especially online, and show people phoning us up with sympathy,” he said.

The couple were ordered to quit the Seagate Road amusement park by Mr Roper last September, after he became the new landlord of the site 10 months earlier.

As reported in last week’s Lynn News, they were given until November to move off the park, but they had requested more time to get their finances together and because Mr Cook was still recovering from a hip replacement operation he had in July.

They asked to continue trading until this summer, and in the meantime sold their Twister ride as a gesture of goodwill.

The couple also sought legal advice, and were told that as they had been paying rent for several years, they were classed as tenants by law, and as such, had to be given a minimum of six months notice to quit.

But out-of-the-blue they received a letter ordering them to move off the site within seven days, before trucks arrived without warning to start taking their remaining two rides apart.

The rides were taken to an engineering firm in Boston, where they currently remain.

Mr Cook said: “We’ve got to arrange some transport to go and pick them up.

“We’ll then have to try and sell them, which won’t be easy as they’re not portable ones like the Twister was.”