There were as many tears as there were stars as the magnificent fireworks filled the sky. It marked the end of an era.
Pleasure Island had delighted generations of audiences. It is now a ghost of its wonderful past and nature has taken over.
Much of the park is overgrown and all of the rides have been dismantled and sold.
There are many hidden dangers, but that hasn’t deterred urban explorers from sneaking around the site. It has become the second most visited destination by them, and they encroach on the vast site at the risk of their lives.
Have a thought for the site keeper, Mark Kenyon, who has lived on the site for four years to keep people from going on and getting hurt.
In addition to people going for a swim in the lake, he also found people in wheelchairs taking one last look around the old 54-acre theme park.
But now the site is about to be razed to make way for a Lidl store and a sprawling 250 eco lodge vacation resort. The plans also include a hotel, a conference center and a dining hall.
It will be directly linked to the center of the resort.
Longtime friends Adrian Smith and Ming Yeung plan to transform the site and have unveiled their commitment to creating hundreds of jobs through the investment of millions in their home region. Both say “It will happen”.
Resolved drainage issues have delayed the project since it was launched with fanfare last year.
Grimsby Live was allowed one last look thanks to the keeper, clearly still stressed after a group of travelers settled in the area last week.
He congratulated the volunteers at We Love Cleethorpes whom he helped with the clean-up operations once they left.
“They were brilliant,” he said.
Mark visited Pleasure Island as a child and was thrilled to have the chance to work there before it closed in 2016. Since then he has been the eyes and ears of the site owners.
“Demolition cannot come soon enough,” he said.
While this will take away the physical appearance of the site, it will never diminish the memories of generations of visitors.
The site was once home to an orca. A beluga was also an attraction before Pleasure Island took over. There had been dolphins. Sea lions have become a big attraction and their enclosure still exists. It comes after the Tinkerboo Playground and the Water Ride and the area that housed the Hyper Blaster.
Ali Baba’s arcade is still standing, but empty. The sign for the Dodgems hangs next to Kiddies’ Cove. Nearby you can almost still hear the screams of Razzle Dazzle, Ala Kazam, The Obliterator and The Pendulus. Most are now entertaining themselves in other parks in the UK and abroad.
There was a large amount of material that was recycled. The Cleethorpes Light Rail has one track from the site.
The Maison du Carrousel is a ghost of its past. The ride sold for a six-figure sum over two years ago just before it was put up for auction.
The karting track is also heavily overrun. There is also evidence of deliberately started fires, which is a sad legacy for a place of entertainment.
Silence filled the old McCormacks place which was a thriving bar and reception hall. Dozens of clubs used the bar for meetings and awards ceremonies. It was also a wedding reception venue and hosted thousands of parties.
But a new beginning is looming on the horizon and the site will soon welcome hundreds of families once again enjoying the clean air and the breathtaking view of the resort. Until then, he’s in the safe hands of Mark and his watchdogs, including Tyler.