One of the most famous holiday ads of all time with its slogan “Skegness is SO bracing” it is believed to have influenced the success of the resort, the fourth most popular in the country.
So calls by animal rights campaigners for the Jolly Fishermen, the town’s mascot, to be replaced by a “Happy Plaice” have met with derision.
PETA claims the town has “a unique opportunity to reach millions of people with a message of compassion by replacing the Jolly Fisherman mascot with one that does not evoke images of animals being impaled in the face or suffocated in giant ocean-destroying nets.”
But town councillors, who presented the mascot a cake at a 107th birthday event in the resort on Monday night, and sang “For he’s a Jolly Good Fellow”, alongside guests from their twin town of Bad Ganderheim in Germany, say there is no chance he will be ditched.
Coun John Byford said Jolly was still a powerful promotional tool - and in any case the nearest fishing port was Grimsby.
He said: “It is absolute nonsense. They have every right to get their message across but they shouldn’t be using Jolly.
“It’s his 107th birthday and he will not be hanging his boots up.
“When we think of Jolly we don’t think of him as a person with a fishing rod going out to catch fish, we just think of him as a portly figure, who has a smile and is welcoming.”
PETA has written to the town’s Mayor Carl Macey claiming that replacing the brand with a “happy and free-prancing fish” could help Skegness get a name for itself as a “progressive holiday destination.”
It adds: “You have to admit that ‘A Happy Plaice’ inspires more confidence than: ‘It’s SO bracing.”
PETA said fish had been shown in numerous studies to feel pain, just like cats and dogs, had long-term memories and could show affection.
Pulling them up from the depths. undergoing the excruciating pain of decompression was “nothing to be jolly about.”
The poster was created by artist John Hassall in 1908 after he had been commissioned by the Great Northern Railways.
Coun Byford said the character had been designed to appeal to the masses from Sheffield, Doncaster, Leicester and London, with the slogan Skegness is SO bracing “about invigorating and clearing your lungs out.”
He added: “Everybody loves Jolly, we take him across the country to roadshows, and we’ve taken him down to London several times. Everyone particularly foreigners love having their picture with him. He is just loved everywhere.
“It was produced in 1908 and 107 years later he is still pulling the punters in and bringing people to Skegness.
“He is still doing a wonderful job and there’s no way he will ever get changed or swapped - Jolly is Jolly.”