Bank Holiday washout feared

WEATHER forecasters are warning atrocious downpours which led to the cancellation of some events in East Anglia yesterday could get even worse today.

John Howard

WEATHER forecasters are warning atrocious downpours which led to the cancellation of some events in East Anglia yesterday could get even worse today.

Torrential rain resulted in a washout at some events, while others were cancelled altogether.

One of the biggest casualties was the annual StowFest music event in Stowmarket, which after months of planning was called off just hours before it was due to get underway.

Daniel Harvey, public services manager with Stowmarket Town Council, said: “We are all gutted at having to postpone the event and we apologise to all the stallholders, bands and everyone involved for having to take this decision, but we had no choice.

“As well as the risk of causing water damage to the sound equipment there is obviously a big hazard using electrical equipment in the rain.

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“Plus it would be no fun for the bands, the performers or the stallholders being out there in the wet.”

But he added: “A lot of work has gone into organising StowFest and we don't want all that work to go to waste so of course we will be rescheduling. A lot of people would be disappointed if we didn't.”

With many events planned for today's Bank Holiday, it had been hoped the sunshine would make a return - but that does not seem likely.

Jim Bacon, a senior forecaster and managing director of Weatherquest, based at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, said: “Bank Holiday Monday is not looking good.

“During Monday the rainfall could be more and it could be wetter, people will have to accept it's a bust for hot weather this weekend.”

There was an estimated five to ten millimetres of rain in some parts of Suffolk yesterday.

Mr Bacon added: “This level of rain is not unusual for this time of year, it is just such a shame it has come on a Bank Holiday weekend.”

Another event which has been affected by the weather is the Felixstowe Fair, which had already been hit by snow on the Easter weekend.

Stan Harris, the organiser, said: “We won't cancel it. We are going to hang around and see if the weather gets better. We don't just give up and go - we persevere.

“If it gets too windy and dangerous, we will close. We can open if it rains, providing there are customers, though things like the go-karting course would have to stay closed. We had a few people down on Saturday but it was quite cold and windy.

“The weather is our enemy. It is something you cannot do anything about.”

Simon Waspe, one of the organisers of the Crowfield Truck Rally at Orwell Crossing, said he was heartbroken the weather had been so bad.

“We have spent a lot of money on this for all the children's activities and there are no members of the public here. The bouncy castle has flooded and collapsed - it's a wash out. It's a shame because if the sun had shone, we would have made so much money for the children's charity.

“The truckers' enthusiasm is fantastic and the atmosphere is electrifying but no one from the public has come. We were drenched last year and now it's the same again. I guess it's third time lucky next year. Last year we had 80 trucks stuck in ditches in the meadow at Crowfield but at least we don't have that this year.

“I'm proud of what we have achieved and thank everyone for their help. About 95 trucks turned up. The weather has just been terrible.”

The money from the day was due to be given to the East Coast Truckers' Children's Charity.

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