Roller Coaster of ride for general manager

  • 15 April, 2024
  • On the pier

It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride for Clacton Pier’s general manager in his first 12 months in the role.

Harry Peek took over at the helm last April and has witnessed the completion of a major project, the introduction of new events and significant changes in the attraction’s management structure.

The £500,000 Jurassic Pier was the first significant challenge and the scheme was coming towards its opening date just as he was getting his feet under the table.

“It was a great introduction to my new job and with the hard work of a fantastic team of in-house staff and contractors we hit the deadline of the Whitsun Bank Holiday to welcome our first customers,” recalls Mr Peek.

“It was an amazingly successful weekend all-round with TV personality Andy Day filling four shows in the Jolly Roger and a free fireworks display set to music and with lighting for the first time.

“That gave me a real taste of what it is like to be the first general manager – under the current ownership – of the largest pleasure pier in Europe and the pace at which we move in an effort to make it the best attraction it can possibly be for our customers.

“We pride ourselves in being at the very heart of the community and providing our guests with excellent value for money. It’s great to see a mass of smiling faces making happy memories.”

Once the main season was over it was time to prepare for a totally new event, Oktoberfest, which proved so successful it is being expanded and enhanced this year to run over nine days instead of four.

No sooner than the marquee came down than it was straight into Halloween Festival mood, which was shortly followed by the pier’s magical Christmas experience.

There was also a memorable visit from the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in 2023; the Boardwalk Bar and Grill underwent a £130,000 facelift, including the latest in social entertainment technology and the Waltzer returned after refurbishment.

Since the turn of the year there has been investment in the amusement arcade as well as an on-going upgrade for the
Discovery Bay Soft Play themed rooms.

“I have just experienced my first Easter at the pier and now we are planning for our brand new dinosaur event, Jurassic half term which takes place next month,” said Mr Peek.

“It been a non-stop whirlwind of a first year and it has been all I hoped for and more. We have inspirational owners in Billy and Elliot Ball and I am grateful to them for putting their faith in me.

“The whole team shares their passion for the pier and we have added key positions in several areas to bolster ranks and have brought in increased training and incentives.

Mr Peek promises the owners have plans and projects in the pipeline – and there is much, much more to look forward to in the coming years.

Mr Peek has previously worked for Alton Towers, Colchester Zoo and Sykes Holiday Cottages.

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