Gallery: Reliving memories of being Pleasurewood Hills mascot Woody Bear
- Credit: Nick Butcher
As the mascot of Pleasurewood Hills theme park, Woody Bear has been a familiar face in Lowestoft and the surrounding area since 1983.
A firm favourite with youngsters, his regular appearances at schools, hospitals, parties, carnivals and summer fetes over the past 30 years have secured him celebrity status – and the much-loved mascot even got to meet the Queen during her visit to Lowestoft and Oulton Broad in 1986.
And now the first person to be Woody Bear, Jane Samkin, 47, from Wrentham, has spoken of her memories following recent stories on the park’s 30th anniversary.
Mrs Samkin said: “I was the first person employed as Woody in 1983. We attended fetes, carnivals, parties, schools. I had the best job in the world.
“I was Woody for the first two or three years and, had the position been full-time, I wouldn’t have left, but it was only seasonal then.”
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Back in 1983, as a 17-year-old Lowestoft College student, the then Jane Clark and her friends were all looking for work in the summer holidays. They went for interviews at the Jobcentre for various positions at the new theme park.
Mrs Samkin, who then lived in Saxmundham, would get the train to Lowestoft each day and then cycle to the theme park. She added: “I was also Woody in the original TV advert as well. It was my claim to fame – I loved it.
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“I was so sad when I had to leave [for a full-time job] after college.”