HUNDREDS of families from frontline emergency services enjoyed free fun in the sun at Clacton Pier at the weekend.

The popular event – for police, fire, ambulance, RNLI and coastguard staff – returned for the first time since 2019 having been cancelled for the last two years due to Covid restrictions.

An Armed Forces and Veterans weekend is due to take place on September 17 and 18.

The events are a way of thanking the organisations for all they do – and have done – for the community.

Up to four free rides’ wristbands were given out to each family attending from across Essex, Suffolk and beyond. In all, 1,350 wristbands were handed over to more than 340 families over the two days.

Pier director Billy Ball said it was great to see the frontline emergency services back on the pier enjoying themselves.

“It has been a very tough few years for all families – and especially those who have been on duty keeping us all safe,” he said. “It has meant they have not been able to get together and relax as much as normal and this was our way of saying a big thank you, for all their efforts.”

There were displays and stalls at the front of the pier by Essex Police, Thames Coastguard, St Johns Ambulance and Clacton RNLI. Essex Fire Service attended on Sunday.

On Sunday as it was Father’s Day, dads got a free game of bowling as well as a complimentary coffee or tea.

The attraction remained open to all customers throughout – and will do for the Armed Forces event in September.