The family of one of the four previous owners of Clacton Pier has given their seal of approval to the new £4 million development currently underway at the 147-year-old landmark.
Michael Goss and his wife Sandra ran the Pier from 1971 until they sold it to a consortium in 1981.
Shortly afterwards the couple, their son, also Michael, and daughter, Kate, moved away to America where they have lived ever since.
Michael Snr was unfortunately unable to make the trip from Texas as he has Alzheimer’s and lives in a nursing home but Mrs Goss, Michael Jnr, his wife, Jennifer, and daughters, Raegan and Micah, visited at the weekend as part of a week’s holiday in the UK.
It really brought the memories back for Mrs Goss and her son who was 11 when they moved to the USA.
“It is a real shame that dad could not come with us as he would have loved to have seen the Pier again one more time,” said Michael Jnr.
“I will be able to go back and tell him about all the work going on and the new development. He would be very pleased and impressed with the investment taking place.
“It is very important to keep up with your competitors in this industry and Billy and Elliot Ball are doing a tremendous job. They are taking it back to our era with more rides and family entertainment.”
Michael Jnr has always been in the family entertainment centre business in America and is currently owner and President of Austin’s Park and Pizza which he bought in 2014.
“Coming back today reminds me of very happy days when I used to cycle around the Pier on my bike and carry out various little tasks,” he added. “I also recall that my pocket money was collecting up any coins that had fallen through the boarding!”
Sandra Goss also remembered when they lived in the top rooms at the Pier which are now mainly offices.
“The whole family stayed there for a short time while we were moving out of one home and remodelling the next one,” she said.
“It is lovely to come back and see a place which was our whole life for ten years and the progress that is currently taking place. It is very exciting.”
She also recalled when top stars such as Morecambe and Wise, Julie Andrews and comedian Dick Emery appeared in the then Ocean Theatre which is now the amusement arcade.
Pier Director Billy Ball said he was delighted to be able to show the Goss family around and meet them for the first time.
“They are a really lovely family and it was good to hear they liked what we are trying to achieve here with a 52-week a year attraction,” he added.
“The Goss’s are a big part of the Pier’s history and it was fascinating to share stories with such nice people.”