‘Blink and it’ll be gone’ - Campaign warns tourists flooding could take ‘wonderful Suffolk playground’

Local business owners gathered at the Moot Hall to launch the Alde and Ore Estuary summer campaign

Local business owners gathered at the Moot Hall to launch the Alde and Ore Estuary summer campaign Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Business owners on the Suffolk coast have rallied to raise awareness and funds for a £12 million flood defence scheme.

The Alde and Ore Estuary Trust (AOET) gathered supporters at the Moot Hall in Aldeburgh recently to kick start the Save Our Suffolk Estuary’s summer campaign.

Launched last year, the campaign aims to raise £12million to upgrade the Alde and Ore estuary flood defences.

Campaigners have highlighted the importance of the estuary to Suffolk’s economy, particularly farming and tourism. And with an estimated 300,000 visitors flocking to Aldeburgh this summer, businesses and organisations in the town are taking the opportunity to remind tourists of what could be lost to flooding.

The summer campaign will see posters depicting the floods that happened in Aldeburgh in 1953 and Snape in 2013, together with an artist’s impression of what the High Street could look like with further floods.

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Gerard King of Aldeburgh butchers Salter and King, who ran a fundraising marmalade competition this year, said: “It is vital to sustain this area of natural beauty. Its existence is important for the town and for visitors to enjoy so they keep returning to our wonderful Suffolk playground.”

The AOET, which formed to highlight the need to upgrade river defences, has led various fundraising activities in recent months including art exhibitions, quiz nights and specially devised cocktails and menus.

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Torben Merriott of Blackwing Ltd who supported the campaign’s film, presented by the BBC’s Nick Robinson, said: “Our beautiful estuary is unique and because of the erosions we must work hard to look after it. If we don’t, we’ll blink and it will be gone.”

AOET chairman Jane Maxim highlighted Aldeburgh’s status as one Suffolk’s “coastal gems”.

“This year we are asking visitors to donate to help reduce risks the Alde and Ore estuary faces from tidal surges and the devastating impact this flooding would have on the town, so they are able continue to enjoy all that if offers,” she added.

Ms Maxim said the AOET was “enormously grateful” to the business for their support.

It is estimated £12m is needed for upgrading the river defences, of which £5m will need to be raised through donations.

People can donate £10 by texting AOET10 £10 to 70070. A further 25% Gift Aid can be added at no extra cost.

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