July 1995, as a eight year old boy my parents moved myself and my two siblings the short distance along the A133 to a little seaside town called Clacton-on-Sea. I remember being scared and nervous, as most young children would be, completely upping sticks, leaving all you know behind. A new home, school, friends and routine all awaited us and I’m so glad our parents did.
From selling our two bedroom mid terrace house on an ex-council estate, our parents were able to buy a brand-new three bedroom detached house a stones throw away from Clacton’s sea front. Our new home had been built on the old Billy Butlins Holiday Camp which in its heyday accommodated around 6000 holiday makers to Essex’s sunshine coast. We had the beach on our door step, a big playing field only a two minute walk from our house, two golf courses, a pub within staggering distance home – it was perfect.
The six weeks school holidays were the best time being a kid living so close to the beach. Mum would entrust me with some money and my brothers and I would take the short walk to the local café just on the promenade. We’d spend countless hours building sand castles, paddling, annoying one another at the adjacent miniature golf course ( Dean never liked losing! ) with the occasional ice cream or two until It was time to come home. Ahh those were the days.
Winter was just as fun, the waves crashing over the sea wall, where a new game of not trying to get wet was invented. Blustery winds blowing sand and seaweed across the boardwalk all the way up to the pier and beyond. Eventually the brutal waves submitted and retreated back to sea revealing the beautiful sand and shells it had been concealing.
Unfortunately, as we grew older, the novelty of living by the coast started to erode. We developed other interests, football, cricket, girls! With family visits to the seafront gradually stopping it, it would only be the attraction of the Red Arrows at the annual air show that would lure us and thousands of day trippers back to the beach.
Years have passed, I’ve matured and now having my own family have a realised just how lucky we were as kids to have such a wonderful piece of mother nature on our doorstep. Taking my family Stacey, my daughter and newborn son to the beach has made me fall in love with it all over again. Rediscovering all of it’s beauty not on my own but with a family of my own.
From going for a paddle with my little girl, to crabbing in rocks, I’ve even managed to participate and finish the Clacton Seafront Half Marathon with my old man on a hot August morning last year.
If you live near the sea embrace it, enjoy it (responsibly) and do not neglect it. Just because you see it everyday, many others can only dream of having such a beautiful and stunning view which, I for one, took for granted for so many years.