A ROW has erupted over the use of Skegness mascot the Jolly Fisherman in promotional material displayed at a party political conference in the town.
The UK Independence Party (UKIP) hosted its Spring Conference at the Embassy Theatre last weekend, during which posters featuring the iconic character were displayed around Skegness.
Although the hundreds of out-of-season visitors attracted by the conference have been welcomed as an economic boost for traders and hoteliers in the town, Jolly’s inclusion in political material has angered some of his fans.
Mayor of Skegness Coun Steve Kirk, who opened the conference in his apolitical mayoral role, said it would have been ‘cheeky’ for them to use the image without permission.
And Coun John Byford, who has carried out extensive research on the Jolly Fisherman’s history, believes it is inappropriate for the mascot to be used in a political sense.
He said: “It’s always been said that the Jolly Fisherman is supposed to remain politically neutral and that his role is purely to promote the town.”
UKIP’s Chris Pain, however, claims to have received permission to use the image from Skegness town centre manager Stefan Krause.
He said Mr Krause had allowed the image’s inclusion as a means to bring the conference to Skegness, to help put the town ‘on the map’ and finds the opposition to its use to be exaggerated.
Unfortunately Mr Krause is not currently in the country to confirm or deny whether he gave permission to Mr Pain.
If Mr Krause did permit its use without approval he would have been encroaching on the jurisdiction of Skegness Town Council, which owns the copyright on Jolly’s image and is responsible for granting its use. Town Clerk Steve Larner was unavailable for comment.