BBC honours our Coastal Champions

Volunteers at the Winter Gardens theatre in Morecambe.
Volunteers at the Winter Gardens theatre in Morecambe.

Volunteers at Morecambe’s beautiful old theatre and the Queen’s Guide to the Sands have been honoured with awards on breakfast television.

BBC Breakfast visited Morecambe on Friday after announcing the team at the Winter Gardens and Cedric Robinson MBE as Coastal Champions.

Cedric Robinson MBE.

Cedric Robinson MBE.

The popular morning TV show gave out the awards to recognise people who work hard to promote coastal areas.

The volunteers of the Winter Gardens have battled for more than 30 years to raise funds for the grand old theatre and keep it in the public eye.

The 120-year-old building closed in 1977 but after a gradual programme of restoration over the years now regularly opens again for concerts and other events.

Evelyn Archer, chair of the Winter Gardens Preservation Trust and the theatre’s Friends group, thanked the BBC on behalf of the volunteers.

Cedric Robinson MBE and Evelyn Archer being interviewed for BBC Breakfast outside the Midland Hotel in Morecambe by John Maguire on Friday. Photo by Mike Jackson.

Cedric Robinson MBE and Evelyn Archer being interviewed for BBC Breakfast outside the Midland Hotel in Morecambe by John Maguire on Friday. Photo by Mike Jackson.

Mrs Archer told BBC Breakfast: “We’ve been a pressure group trying to save the building for 31 years.

“(The Winter Gardens is) important because we need people to come back into Morecambe and it’s one of the things that will draw people in, like the Midland hotel. It’s helping the town.”

Mr Robinson, 84, has guided people across the sands of Morecambe Bay in his official capacity as Queen’s Guide since 1963.

In 2013 he won The Visitor’s Sunshine Ambassador Award for his status as a champion of the town and the bay area.

“I’ve never been away for a holiday in all my lifetime,” Cedric told BBC Breakfast when asked what makes the Morecambe coastline so special.

“I have such a love of the sands and never want to leave them.”

BBC Breakfast asked viewers to nominate their Coastal Champions.

The Winter Gardens volunteers were nominated by Michelle Teale from Leicester, who said: “I sent the BBC all the information about them and told them how hard they work, because I love the place.”

Others to be recognised included an 80-year-old man from Alnwick, Northumberland, who has worked to keep community footpaths open, and volunteers who are trying to save a Victorian Pier in Weston Super Mare.

In a series of segments on Friday’s show, John Maguire reported live from near the Midland hotel and Stone Jetty.

BBC Breakfast host Naga Munchetty referred to the town as “marvellous Morecambe”.

A TV camera on a drone showed off spectacular aerial views of Morecambe Promenade.

The programme also talked about last weekend’s successful Vintage by the Sea festival in the town.

Wayne Hemingway, co-founder of the vintage festivals, said: “There is a massive movement among young people to rediscover the British coastline at the moment.

“All around the country there are coastal events springing up.”

Experts also gave their views on how coastal towns can regain popularity and regenerate themselves, and viewers gave their favourite seaside memories.

Footage of Morecambe in 1901 was also shown.

Jacqueline and Derek Osborne, who have visited Morecambe from their home in Essex every year for 30 years, were interviewed.

“Morecambe has improved a lot over the last 10 to 15 years,” said Mr Osborne.

“I quite like the shopping.”

BBC Breakfast has been visiting seaside towns all over the UK as part of a series called Coastal Britain.