ONE of Clacton Pier’s most popular rides will be back in operation this week after a major £100,000 refurbishment.

Waltzer has undergone a complete transformation, including all ten cars being repainted by hand by leading fairground artist George Hebborn from London.

The 44-year-old ride was totally stripped down mechanically and electronically, and structural repairs carried out.

A new concrete base was constructed on the west side of the pier’s decking and Waltzer was put back together by its in-house team.

Technical rehearsals are taking place and the ride will be officially reopened to the public on Thursday, August 24.

Director Billy Ball said that it has taken longer than was originally expected for the ride to return but he is sure customers will feel it has been worth the wait.

“Waltzer is without doubt one of our most popular and iconic rides and has been on the pier since 1995 when it was bought by then owners, the Harrison family,” he said.

“While it has been continually maintained and repaired, this is the first major refurbishment of this kind since it arrived.

“It looks absolutely fantastic and has been transformed with modern patterns, vibrant colours and fun characters. There is a new central pay box and state of the art lighting system, mirror ball and smoke machine.

“We have been putting out teasers as the project has been going along and the interest has been immense – even more than we expected. Fans will now get the chance to enjoy it for themselves.”

The Maxwell manufactured Waltzer started out life at Alton Towers in 1979 and then went to Atlas Park in Clacton on the former Butlin’s site in 1984. It also spent time in Devon and Brighton before returning to Clacton.

On Thursday, August 24, the pier is staging a free fireworks display set to music celebrating British Aviation. It will follow on after the Clacton Air Show Twilight Flights.

There will be a further free fireworks extravaganza on Sunday, August 27, starting at 9pm.