Covid: Blackpool holidaymakers excited to return as lockdown eases

By Lynette Horsburgh
BBC News

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image copyrightVisit Blackpool
image captionBlackpool hotels which have been closed since October

Lockdown rules have eased in England, meaning pubs, cafes and restaurants can welcome customers inside, hotels can have overnight visitors and one of the country's oldest resorts can open for business again.

Blackpool's hoteliers, which have been closed since October, say while they have to adhere to limited capacity rules because of Covid, their establishments are full and they have had excited holidaymakers arriving hours before their check-in times.

Nigel Seddon, who owns the family-run Elgin Hotel said while dealing with the lockdowns had been an "emotional rollercoaster", it was a pleasure to all be "back together" and seeing "so many familiar faces".

"We had people knocking on the door at 09:30," he said.

"Everyone is so happy to be back - the staff and the regular guests here.

"It gives you such a warm feeling."

He added that the easing of restrictions had brought an air of positivity in the resort and he was "looking forward to a bumper season now, hopefully".

image captionNigel Seddon said it was a pleasure to welcome guests

Paul Kershaw, who has managed the nearby Cliffs Hotel for 28 years, said his staff had seen similar scenes, with eager guests turning up hours before the doors opened.

"It's a delight to be open again... and see the smiles on everyone's face," he said.

"I've missed the rush of adrenaline from helping people."

Brookie Simkiss, who had travelled to the hotel from Walsall in the West Midlands, said she had not been able to get her four-year-old to sleep on Sunday night because he was "so excited" to be going to the seaside.

"Daryan can't wait to go swimming and to the beach [and] we've booked the zoo tomorrow," the 28-year-old said.

"It's been a much-needed break as [lockdown] has been tough."

image captionBrookie Simkiss said her son "couldn't sleep for excitement"

Joan Pilkington, 83, who lives on her own in Shepley, West Yorkshire, said she was elated to be back in the resort, as living under lockdown had been "terrible".

"I normally come six or seven times a year and have missed celebrating two birthdays," she said.

"I'm coming back on 21 June too.

"I'm making up for missed time."

Ninety-year-old Marjorie Rowbottom, from Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, said it was "absolutely wonderful" to be at the coast again.

"I've missed it so much - the food, the company and the sea air," she said.

image captionVivian Rowbottom said it was lovely to see friends

For Vivian Rowbottom, who is no relation but also from Huddersfield, the trip to the resort was a chance to relive some of the memories she shared with her husband of 62 years, who died in 2020.

"Michael loved it here," she said.

"I've found it so hard, but I made a real effort to come."

She said her daughter had reservations about her taking a holiday, but her son took "his hat off to me" for making the trip.

"It is lovely to come back and have a break from the house and see good friends," she added.

image captionEllen Wisher says her trip was a "well-needed break"

For Ellen Wisher, from Leeds, though, it had been "just great to get away and it's nice to be out in the fresh sea air".

"It takes me back to my childhood when I lived at the seaside in Hornsea," the 60-year-old said.

"I've come for a well-needed break with my mum."

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