News: June 2003

In  January 2003 the owner of Dreamland, Jimmy Godden, announced the closure of Dreamland. The park is to be redeveloped as "leisure boxes, some retail and a supermarket". Joyland Books will provide updates on the campaign to save Dreamland and its internationally-important Scenic Railway ride.

Tuesday, 24 June 2003

Leading performance poet Simon Vogel, who made his mark in the Thanet area when he was poet-in-residence for the 2001 Broadstairs Folk Week, has written a poem about Dreamland's Scenic Railway. Vogel performed at Margate's Shell Grotto in February and while he was there wrote this work, which is to feature as the title piece in a forthcoming poetry booklet. He will be appearing again at this year's Broadstairs Folk Week in August. Click here for the Scenic Railway poem.

Sunday, 8 June 2003

One of the big hits of the Save Dreamland Convention were the special Save Dreamland T-shirts (already a top fashion accessory in the Margate and Broadstairs area). Although we sold 94.3% of our stock, we have a limited number of XL T-shirts still available on a first-come-first-served basis. The T-shirts (an example is modelled to the right) feature the "Save Dreamland Campaign" logo, and the website address.  

UPDATE 18 June 2003: All T-shirts have now sold out. We are considering producing more T-shirts, but can only do this if there is sufficient demand. If you would be interested in a Save Dreamland T-shirt, please email us and let us know.

Saturday, 7 June 2003

The Isle of Thanet Gazette reports the Save Dreamland Convention, under the headline 'Dreamland can be saved by backers, Groups in talk with French':

"The Save Dreamland Campaign has held a convention to celebrate the famous Margate fun park - and believes it can be saved. More than 150 roller coaster enthusiasts and campaign supporters met at the Theatre Royal and listened to talks about Dreamland's past and future. Campaign Coordinator Sarah Vickery said: 'I am hopeful that we can retain an amusement park on that site with the scenic railway at its centre. I think that's the most logical and sensible proposal.' The Save Dreamland Campaign has been in talks with amusement park operators and is next week due to speak to a French-based firm. Nick Laister, who is leading the campaign, said: 'We've also been speaking to the new council and they have a strong vision for the area. They agree that it must remain an area which brings people into Margate. We now have the opportunity to create a world-class amusement park.' After the meeting, supporters made their way to Dreamland for a ride on the scenic railway."

Click here for a full report of the Convention and click here to discuss the Convention on our Forum.

Friday, 6 June 2003

Further photographs added to the Save Dreamland Convention page, with an expanded report.

Campaign Leader Nick Laister said, "Could I take this opportunity to thank everybody who took the trouble to attend the Save Dreamland Convention on 1 June, some of you I know travelled a long way. It was a great success and has undoubtedly raised the profile of the Campaign as it has received excellent media coverage. Plus it was a lot of fun! Thanks also to all our speakers, and to the Theatre Royal for hosting the event. Finally, I am sure that all of our members will join me in saying a special thank you to Sarah Vickery who did all the real hard work in organising the event, and it is largely down to her efforts that it was such a success."

Click here for the full report.

Thursday, 5 June 2003

Photographs from the hugely successful Save Dreamland Convention are added to the website. Click here for the photos and full report of the day.

Wednesday, 4 June 2003

The Save Dreamland Convention features on the front page of this week's Thanet Extra under the headline: 'Latest twist in Dreamland saga: Exciting plans for theme park'. The article goes on to state:

"A leading theme park company has said it is very interested in securing the future of Dreamland and its historic Scenic Railway. The news is a boost to campaigners who travelled from across the country on Sunday to attend a Save Dreamland Convention. Dozens of people filled Margate's Theatre Royal to discuss saving the park and listed roller coaster. Enthusiasts from as far away as Blackpool and Wigan also visited the park. Campaign founder Nick Laister said: 'The plans are still in the early stages but they are very exciting. The company is a leading force in Europe and it wants to branch out into the UK. The company wants to change it beyond all recognition and upgrade it but they will build on its heritage and keep the Scenic Railway.' Executives from the French company are hoping to present their plans to Thanet Council shortly."

The article also focused on the importance of the Scenic Railway, which is one of the main messages that came from the Save Dreamland Convention:

"Mr Laister said that to lose the ride would have an international significance. 'We now know that there are only one or two roller coasters in the world that are older and still in their original location, and this is the only one in the UK,' he said. 'This is just how it looked it 1920, right down to the original cars. It is very rare and if lost would spell the end of Margate as a viable seaside resort. If, on the other hand, the French company does carry out its plans, it will put the town at the front of the queue for weekend breaks.'"

The newspaper also reported the meeting between the Save Dreamland Campaign and the new Leader of Thanet District Council:

"Council leader Sandy Ezekial and chief executive Richard Samuel met with campaign representatives this week. Cllr Ezekial said: 'We discussed their plans and a number of wider issues that could be part of the overall masterplan for Margate. It was a positive get-together. I do not want it redeveloped to a strictly retail site. It must encompass leisure and tourism as well.'"


Tuesday, 3 June 2003

Campaign Leader, Nick Laister, is interviewed by the Thanet Extra newspaper and, later, Local Campaign Coordinator, Sarah Vickery, is interviewed by the Isle of Thanet Gazette.

Monday, 2 June 2003

Local Campaign Coordinator, Sarah Vickery, is interviewed live on air by BBC Radio Kent, in a hard-hitting interview that questioned Sarah on the future of Dreamland. Sarah discussed the Campaign's exciting proposals for the future of the site.

Later, both Nick Laister (Campaign Leader) and Sarah Vickery met with Thanet Council Leader, Cllr Sandy Ezekiel. Also at the meeting were Cllr Jeffrey Kirkpatrick (Cabinet Member - Tourism and Leisure), Cllr Michael Tomlinson and Tourism Development Officer Neil McCollum. Top of the Agenda was the Campaign's proposals for the future of the Dreamland site. Leaving the meeting, Nick Laister said:

"This was a very good exploratory meeting, at which ideas for the future of the Dreamland site, and the Scenic Railway, were discussed. Our proposals were very well received, and we will be meeting the Council again next week to discuss our vision in more detail with a major European theme park operator. Both Sarah and I were very impressed with the commitment of the new Council to ensuring that the site remains a major tourist draw, ideally all-year-round. We both look forward to working with the Council over the coming months."

Nick Laister was interviewed by the Isle of Thanet Gazette later that afternoon.

Sunday, 1 June 2003

The Save Dreamland Convention is held at Margate's historic Theatre Royal. The Convention opened at 11.30am, and featured the screening of several rare films about Margate and its famous amusement park, talks from various speakers about Dreamland, the Scenic Railway and the Save Dreamland Campaign, and the day ended with a press photo session in front of the Scenic Railway (along with much coaster riding). 

Both the BBC and ITV attended the event. BBC News for the South of England later that day featured the Save Dreamland Convention as its main item and included interviews with Richard Foster (Chairman of the European Coaster Club), Nick Laister (Leader of the Save Dreamland Campaign) and various members of the audience as they entered the Theatre. The event is also featured on the BBC News Website. ITV's Meridian News featured interviews with Sarah Vickery (Local Campaign Coordinator), Sheila Hoschette Lusted (representative of the US National Amusement Park Historical Association) and David Wallis (the current operator of Dreamland, who attended the event with Dreamland's General Manager, Barry Moss).

Campaign Leader Nick Laister at the Save Dreamland Convention, 1st June 2003 (Photograph: Richard Foster).
Advance ticket holders were treated to a special behind-the-scenes tour of the Scenic railway, courtesy of David Collard of the Scenic Railway Trust. David was also a guest at the Convention.

Click here for a full report of the day with photographs.

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