The foreshore team – providing a warm welcome to Bridlington

Foreshores manager Kirsty Dingle
Foreshores manager Kirsty Dingle

Around a million people visited Bridlington’s beaches last year.

Making sure they have a great time when they get here is the council’s foreshores team, who carry out all sorts of jobs to make sure day-trippers and locals get the most from their seaside experience.

The foreshores team with the land train which transports thousands of visitors every year

The foreshores team with the land train which transports thousands of visitors every year

They look after 84 miles of East Riding coastline and estuary from Speeton in the north down to Spurn Point, and then up the Humber estuary to Goole.

For most of the year, the team is made up of manager Kirsty Dingle, two foreshores officers, a handyman and two part-time receptionists, all based in Bridlington but working around the region.

They are joined by around 20 seasonal staff for the busiest time of the year.

Kirsty said: “They do everything from cleaning the chalets to litter picking and selling deckchairs and driving the land train.

Dave Palmer checks on the water quality of the paddling pool

Dave Palmer checks on the water quality of the paddling pool

“They really are ambassadors for Bridlington and for the council.

“We have a really good team, everybody gets on. We work hard, with longer hours in the summer, but we have a good rapport with our regular customers, and because we are a small team, the members of the public like the fact it is the same people they bump into.”

Much of the foreshores team’s job goes on behind the scenes, working alongside a whole host of other council departments and external partners. The day starts with health and safety inspections, making sure nothing has been broken or damaged overnight,” explained Kirsty.

“Then we check the plant room for the paddling pool to see if the chemical levels are safe and make sure the pool is safe. After that, in summer we make sure the land train and chalets are ready for the day ahead.

The Tidal Waves festival was a new event for this year

The Tidal Waves festival was a new event for this year

“During the day, we are enforcing by-laws. In terms of dogs on the beach, we try to advise owners rather than enforce, although we can take details of owners who are breaking the rules.

“Litter is my biggest bugbear and I think we do a good job at keeping the beach litter-free. I don’t think people realise how much damage it causes to wildlife.

“When special events are on, we are making sure all the equipment is where it should be.”

One of those events was the recent Tidal Waves music festival, which saw Kirsty trade her usual day job to become festival director.

Hundreds of people headed to the sands to watch bands including Toploader, The Pigeon Detectives, The Hoosiers and local favourites Seafret.

It hadn’t been tried before and was just another example of how varied the foreshores’ role is.

“There’s always something different going on, you never know what each day will bring,” said Kirsty.

“You genuinely don’t know what you will have to do at work that day.

“One of the most quirky things we did was to work with the Hawaiian Royal Family and a local sculptor, Stephen Carvill, to secure a plaque to commemorate Bridlington as the birthplace of surfing in British waters. Two young Hawaiian princes were visiting the coastline and took to the water in Bridlington in 1890, the rest as they say, is history.

“But the next day you might get a call from the coastguard saying they have found wartime munitions at Mappleton.

“You also get a lot of people intrigued by seals on the beaches, so some of our staff are now trained to help stranded seals.”

One of the biggest growth areas for the team is chalets, which are often sold out in Bridlington.

The council has almost 150 chalets, including 15 new ones on the south side which opened a few months ago.

“They seem to get more and more popular every year,” said Kirsty. “They are pretty much 100% occupied during the winter and the peak summer weeks, and are about 60% outside those periods.

“You might be surprised they are so busy in the winter but they are a nice space for artists and photographers who like a base to work from.”

All year round, Kirsty’s office offers a view of the sea. It’s a world away from her previous job, working in an office with no windows in the former Leisure World building.

She said: “There are definitely worse places to be working. I love it in winter when you can see the waves coming over the north pier and in summer when it’s great for people watching.”