A campaign launched to save some of Suffolk’s most treasured landscapes from catastrophic flooding has got off to a “fantastic start” after raising more than £100,000 in its first month.

%image(15358486, type="article-full", alt="The Save Our Suffolk Estuary ran a stand at this year's Suffolk Show to let people know about the campaign ahead of its launch. Pictured is Mandy Bettinson. Picture: GREGG BROWN")

The Save Our Suffolk Estuary campaign began in October with the aim of raising £12million to carry out essential upgrading works to the Alde and Ore estuary flood defences.

Campaigners highlighted the importance of the estuary to Suffolk’s economy, particularly tourism and farming, as well as its vulnerability to flooding, which could see much of the region transformed beyond recognition.

Launch events held at Aldeburgh Cinema, Orford Town Hall, and Snape Village Hall, featured a film presented by the BBC’s Nick Robinson warning of the dangers threatening the estuary. They have been followed by an inter-estuary pub quiz raising £42,500, as well as art and writing competitions judged by Maggie Hambling and Anthony Horowitz.

Jane Maxim, trustee and chairman of the Alde and Ore Estuary Trust Funding Group, which is behind the campaign, has thanked everyone for their generous donations of money and time.

%image(15291560, type="article-full", alt="The campaign recruited many east Suffolk pubs to hold quizzes with "famous" quizmasters, raising more than �40,000. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN")

“Although the trust has a small support staff, the fundraising is being delivered by a dedicated and growing number of volunteers. The estuary community has risen to this funding challenge magnificently,” Professor Maxim added.

“We are enormously grateful for this fantastic start to the campaign to raise £12m for vital flood defence works to protect homes, the local economy and tourism.”

As well as raising more than £100,000 in the first month, the trust has also received a “significant” amount in pledges from people who wish to spread their gifts over several years.

“This is a wonderful start,” a spokesman for the campaign said.

The campaign has also received pledges from landowners in the estuary and a £550,000 donation from the legacy of the late David Andren, of the Alde and Ore Estuary Association.

Proposals to raise part of the funding through “enabling development” – allowing 15-17 homes to be built on “exception sites” in the estuary – have been put on hold after opposition from some quarters.

The Alde and Ore Estuary Partnership will hold a series of community meetings in March and April to inform the public of the work that has been taking place on the modelling of the estuary.