Screen dream crashes at Fakenham cinema

Chris Hill A man's lifelong dream of running his own cinema has ended after just a year - with the building reacquired by its former owner Hollywood Cinemas.The new operator of the Central Cinema in Fakenham, which is also to take over its staff, will begin operating its programme from next Friday.

Chris Hill

A man's lifelong dream of running his own cinema has ended after just a year - with the building reacquired by its former owner Hollywood Cinemas.

The new operator of the Central Cinema in Fakenham, which is also to take over its staff, will begin operating its programme from next Friday.

But for Gary Stevens, it


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is the end of his dream of running his own cinema after he spent 30 years managing movie theatres for large companies.

The Fakenham screen was

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hit by hot weather last summer and frozen roads in the winter, both contributing to keeping customers away.

Mr Stevens said financial demands on the cinema meant it could not survive as an independent business and he had been unable to find financial backing.

“With the prospect of a

hard winter and huge energy bills, I had to see what else

I could do,” said Mr

Stevens. “It was no good

living my dream any more.”

However. Mr Stevens believes that his short time at the helm of the operation has given him knowledge and experience.

“I have experienced both the loneliness and, sometimes, the tremendous job satisfaction in owning a small cinema business”.

Trevor Wicks, who runs the Hollywood chain of cinemas with other sites in Norwich, Dereham, Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth, paid tribute to Mr Stevens' hard work and enthusiasm.

“We wish him well. He is a very enthusiastic person but it is a hard world out there,” he said.

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