The 77-year-old confirmed he will return to Frimley for two-weeks in June and July after SHBC lowered its rent charge
A funfair supporting disabled children will return to Frimley Lodge Park this summer, following a last-minute deal with the borough council.
Funfair owner Billy Davis last month revealed that changes to his long-running arrangement with Surrey Heath Borough Council (SHBC) saw him make a loss at Frimley Lodge last year and meant that he could not afford to visit the area again.
Mr Davis, who is based in Grayshott, said he was ‘heartbroken’ that this would bring to an end his 22-year tradition of offering free rides to youngsters supported by the Chobham-based Children With Special Needs Foundation.
However, the 77-year-old this week confirmed that he will return to Frimley for two-weeks in June and July – including a free morning for the foundation – after SHBC lowered its rent charge.
Mr Davis said he was braced to once again make a loss to ensure the show goes on for the foundation’s vulnerable youngsters, but he warned that he could not keep this up unless he could forge a new deal with the local authority.
He told Get Surrey: “It didn’t work out last year, but we said we would take a chance again this year because it’s not just us suffering, it’s the little kids with special needs. I don’t want that to happen.
“It costs us a lot of money to offer that time to the foundation, but we don’t ask for any of it back.
“We just do it out of the goodness of our hearts.
“I said that, if we suffer a little bit of a loss this year, I’ll take that because I don’t want to let the kids down.
"In the end, though, it’s a business and I can’t afford to carry on being out of pocket.
“I hope the public supports us at Frimley Lodge this year, so we can make a profit and keep coming back to Frimley.
"I’ll be talking to the council while I’m there, and I’ll wait to see what offer they come up with.”
According to Mr Davis, the problem began following the opening last year of a 3G sports pitch in Frimley Lodge Park, which takes up part of the front field where the funfair has traditionally been based.
Mr Davis claims his funfair was moved to a field at the back of the park last summer because the council was worried about the damage his equipment might do to a drainage pipe servicing the sports pitch, meaning he saw a drop in customers.
Mr Davis recalled that his father and grandfather used to take the fair to the London Road Recreation Ground in Camberley, adding that if he was forced to cancel the Frimley Lodge dates it would end a 150-year association with the area.
Mr Parris said he would be bringing around 800 young people with special needs to the funfair this year.
He added: “Hopefully, this situation will be resolved and we will all get a good result.”
A spokesman for SHBC said: “Our offer of holding a funfair on the same site and payment terms as last year has been re-considered by Mr Davis, and we are pleased to say it is going ahead.”