Following a recent media appeal, a number of people, some as far away as South Wales, came forward with their stories, memories and photographs of Newquay’s cinemas in times past.
A small group of people were given a behind-the-scenes tour of the new state-of-the-art four screen complex on Crantock Street in the town today (Friday 11 March 2011).
The Lighthouse Cinema, which will seat 650 people once completed in the spring, will be the first cinema to open in Newquay for more than 16 years. It is the first purpose-built all-digital projection cinema in the South West and will have two 3D screens.
Among the visiting group were Pauline and Michael Morris from Newquay. Pauline said: “It was great to see the new cinema site as my husband Michael and I got engaged in the back row of the Victoria Cinema in 1951 and we have so many happy memories there. It’s our diamond wedding anniversary this year, so it’s been lovely to go and have a look around.”
Also in attendance was former projectionist Clinton Hill who lived above the Astor with his family, who all used to work at the cinema. Lady Helen Long took part in the tour, along with 90 year old Richard Clements who frequently visited Newquay’s Pavilion, Victoria and Camelot cinemas.
Jean Bennett, visiting today with her husband Peter, was a cinema usherette in Newquay in 1951. They met at the cinema and have now been married for 55 years.
Commenting on her visit to the Lighthouse, Lady Helen Long said: “We’re all very excited about the new cinema and it’s been wonderful having a tour of the site before its open to the public. I’m very much looking forward to its official opening now.”
David Williams, managing director of WTW Cinemas, the company that owns the new Lighthouse Cinema, said: “It’s been fantastic to meet everyone today and hear their special stories and memories of the former cinemas in Newquay. We very much hope that everyone enjoyed their visit. I’m personally delighted and proud to have shown them around the new building and provide the opportunity to see how the new Lighthouse is progressing.”
Family-run business WTW Cinemas owns and operates cinemas The Plaza in Truro, White River Cinema in St Austell and The Regal in Wadebridge. It has just been announced that White River Cinema has won the RAAM ‘Best Independent Cinema in the UK’ award.
The new cinema in Newquay is the second phase of the company’s development plan, which included the construction and opening of St Austell’s White River Cinema in December 2008. The third stage will be the refit of the existing Plaza cinema in Truro in 2012.
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