Pier scare during sea festival

A FIREWORKS display to celebrate a Suffolk resort's relationship with the sea caused a pier to catch alight.A number of areas on the underside of Felixstowe Pier began to smoulder after embers fell from the fireworks, which were set off from the end of the structure on Saturday night .

A FIREWORKS display to celebrate a Suffolk resort's relationship with the sea caused a pier to catch alight.

A number of areas on the underside of Felixstowe Pier began to smoulder after embers fell from the fireworks, which were set off from the end of the structure on Saturday night .

But the incident failed to spoil a hugely successful weekend at the resort which saw up to 20,000 visitors taking part in a vast array of activities.

The fireworks display was part of the SeaBritain See Felixstowe event.


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A spokesman for Thames coastguard said it received a number of reports of a fire on Felixstowe Pier at about 9.45pm.

The local patrol craft, Volunteer, Felixstowe coastguard, Harwich RNLI inshore lifeboat and three fire engines went to the scene and found the smouldering patches.

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Water pumps were used from boats to extinguish the embers and firefighters gave the all clear about an hour later.

A spokesman for Suffolk fire service said approximately 100 metres of the pier was affected and the main difficulty was reaching the underside of the structure. It has advised that an engineer should look at the structure and any damage, he added.

Kate Bowden Smith, who organised publicity for the event, said Suffolk Coastal District Council would wait for the fire brigade's report before deciding on the future of any activity on the pier.

The event was one of the biggest celebrations of the sea, and was prompted by this year's 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

The highlights included a re-enactment of the last Dutch invasion of the UK, with a beach landing at Cobbolds Point, as well as musket and cannon fire from Languard Fort.

Mrs Bowden Smith said: "It has gone really well. SeaBritain is a national celebration of England's relationship with the sea and the reason we are celebrating it here is because we have many connections with the sea.

"In 1667 the last opposed invasion of Britain took place in Felixstowe when the Dutch invaded Cobbolds Point and went up to Languard Fort but were repelled. That happened on July 2 in 1667.

"We have the docks here and the beautiful prom and it is a good excuse for us to celebrate the sea and how much our lives are touched by it."

The festival started with a barbecue at the Spa Pavilion on Friday night. On Saturday there were seaplane flights and a massive sailing event. Model boat sailing, brass bands in the Spa Gardens, live bands along the prom, and an air sea rescue demonstration also featured.

There were art exhibitions at Languard Point and the Reunion Gallery, stalls and displays as well as a Summer Magic show from the Dennis Lowe Theatre Company at the Spa Pavilion.

Children were entertained by a 17th Century Dutch camp at the Martello Tower in Langer Road, competitions and treasure hunts, with the whole event coming to an end with a church service in the Spa Gardens on Sunday.

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