The amazing, weird and funny trends 2020 has brought us

The Rainbow Trail was a movement started in lockdown to show appreciation for NHS and key workers

The Rainbow Trail was a movement started in lockdown to show appreciation for NHS and key workers - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Before 2020, would you have heard of Zoom, known what a rainbow trail was or chosen to meet up for a walk with a friend at the weekend?

The coronavirus pandemic completely changed what was normal in March and there are many things which still aren't back to how they were with the Tier system of restrictions in place.

However, despite the challenges 2020 has thrown at us, communities across Suffolk and East Anglia have shown perseverance in finding ways to connect.

Founder of the Ipswich rainbow trail, Crystal Stanley with her daughter Ariana

Founder of the Ipswich rainbow trail, Crystal Stanley with her daughter Ariana - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The Rainbow Trail

The activity began when rainbows were first associated with the NHS as a symbol of support.


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Children and families across Suffolk created rainbows to display outside their homes to show key workers their appreciation.

Crystal Stanley, a mum from Ipswich, was the first to introduce the trend to the UK and created the Rainbow Trail Facebook page, after being inspired by a similar group in Italy.

From there, the community grew and rainbows soon adorned every village and town in all shapes and forms.

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Crystal said: "It still doesn't feel real sometimes, but we have a huge community now and have held events, fundraisers, the lot.

"We are trying to keep everyone's spirits up and stay positive as the last few weeks have been really scary for everyone.

"The activities have really brought back a lot of childhood memories for me and it's just bringing everyone together at such a difficult time."

Kate Clifford in Bures knitted small rainbows to hang on her fence for passers-by to take on their way past.

Sackers Metal and Waste Recycling started a competition to design a rainbow trail skip and donated the cash raised to NHS charities.

Clap for carers

Before Covid, nothing would have persuaded the entire nation to come out onto their doorsteps to clap at 8pm. 

However, Londoner Annemarie Plas was inspired by a similar effort in her native country The Netherlands, so introduced it to the UK where it caught on in late March.

Residents of Constable Road in Felixstowe came out in the force to mark the last clap for carers Pi

Residents of Constable Road in Felixstowe came out in the force to mark the last clap for carers in May - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The weekly ritual soon became an emotional affair which many families joined in with gusto.

Videos captured horns sounding from lorries across Felixstowe,  the bells of St Clement's Church were rung in Ipswich and  siblings Grace and James performed on musical instruments on their driveway in Kesgrave.

Rock Snakes

Colourful snakes made out of individually painted rocks took over Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages over the summer as an activity to connect families. 

The Covid rock snakes sprung up in many Suffolk towns and villages, like this one in Bramford

The Covid rock snakes sprung up in many Suffolk towns and villages, like this one in Bramford - Credit: Lauren McDonald

Mum-of-two Jade Cox began a rock snake on Moreton Hall estate and before long it grew to over 240 pebbles, each one decorated in brightly painted colours and a unique design.

The challenge was embraced by many as a way to involve the community without any risk of infection, as participants didn't need to touch the other rocks, but simply lay theirs down next to it.

Pop-up zoos

With zoos closed and many parents struggling to find activities to occupy their children with, some villages in Suffolk decided to create their own.

Sarah Boxhall was inspired to organise the project in Long Melford after a primary school teacher in the nearby village of Acton started it to raise cash to donate towards the upkeep of Colchester Zoo.

A hippo and children outside Sophie Allen's house in Long Melford

A hippo and children outside Sophie Allen's house in Long Melford where the pop-up zoo began - Credit: Sophie Allen

The village was home to a sprawling map of enclosures and attractions, with animals made from various objects outside each house.

The Just Giving page raised hundreds of pounds for the zoo which welcome several new births this year, including a white rhino calf named Lottie, a Philippine spotted deer named Clive, female Cheetah cubs Nova, Hope and Star after the NHS and a male called Colonel Tom.

Zoom parties

No one had heard of Zoom before the start of 2020 and most of us are pretty sick of it by now. However, it has provided an amazing tool to stay in touch with even the least tech-savvy friends and family.

The East Anglian Daily Times hosted interactive webinars during the first lockdown, Dance East taught classes, churches held services and Girl Guides did activities.

While the lags, accidentally muted microphones and awkward interruptions were frustrating, it allowed businesses to carry on working throughout the pandemic, helped connect lonely friends and gave shielding grandparents a way to see their family.

VE Day street parties

With large scale services still out of bounds over the summer, the celebrations in recognition of the sacrifice millions made to bring an end to the Second World War in Europe were forced to adapt.

Dean and Lynne Ward getting into the spirit at the Brunswick Road street party Picture: SARAH LUCY B

Dean and Lynne Ward getting into the spirit at the Brunswick Road VE Day street party - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Across Suffolk families brought the celebrations to their homes with a nod to the past by hosting socially distanced street parties to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

Colourful bunting and balloons were strewn across Kitchener Road in Ipswich for a full blown doorstep party, as well as Brunswick Road and Beverley Road, and also Ransome Close, Sproughton.


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