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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 June, 2003, 13:28 GMT 14:28 UK
Families return to 'bracing' resort
Why are many families returning year after year to Skegness? BBC One East Midlands' Inside Out braved the "bracing" winds to find out.

Jolly Fisherman
The Jolly Fisherman is a potent image of the seaside town
"I have never been abroad - I never want to go abroad."

Amanda Townsend is one of many people for whom Skegness has a special lure.

"Everybody is so friendly, there is so much do - there are miles of beaches, there are loads of walks.

"It is just a brilliant place to come and chill."

Despite the increased number of low-cost flights taking British holiday makers to sunnier climes, windy Skegness remains popular.

Last year about seven million people visited the Lincolnshire coastal resort, spending in the region of 350m.

Many of them have been coming for years.

John Holmes, who owns a caravan at the resort, brings his family every year.

They have a ride on a donkey and they remember it all their lives
Harold Fainlight, historian
"I was dragged here screaming and when I got here it just wasn't what I expected," he says.

"It wasn't long before we were coming twice a year and then three times a year and then when they opened the caravan village in 1986 that was it.

"We bought a caravan and we have upgraded three times."

The resort is famed for its "So bracing" logo with the "Jolly Fisherman" and as the place where Billy Butlin opened his first ever holiday camp.

IMAGES OF SKEGNESS
Butlin's

Local historian Harold Fainlight says: "Year after year the same people come.

"They come as children - their grandparents or their mothers or fathers bring them to Skegness.

"They have a ride on a donkey and they remember it all their lives."

Skegness began as a resort when the railway arrived in 1873 and a pier, clock tower and sea-front hotels were added so that by the 1920s there were up to 450,000 day trippers a year.

"They would pour into the town and the shopkeepers knew they were coming," says Mr Fainlight.

"They were what were called 'free-spenders'.

"If they came with a pound, they wouldn't go home until they had spent that pound.

'Nottingham-on-Sea'

"It was really an exciting exhilarating place.

"A large number came from the East Midlands - Skegness was known as Nottingham-by-the-Sea.

It is the place I grew up and it is the place I want to bring my children
Donna-Louise Holmes, holiday-maker
"It has an atmosphere about it and once they come as youngsters they always want to come back."

In 1936, Billy Butlin decided to open his first holiday camp on 200-acres of land in Skegness and it was to become a blueprint for many more Butlin's camps across the country.

While the holiday camps are now known as "family entertainment resorts" much of the original ideas remain.

Donna-Louise Holmes, who has visited Skegness Butlin's many times, says: "It is wonderful.

"There is something for them [children] to do from the moment they get up to the moment they go to bed exhausted at the end of the day.

"It is the place I grew up and it is the place I want to bring my children."

Inside Out is on BBC One East Midlands at 1930 BST on Monday.




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