Region basks in hot bank holiday weather

By David Lennard, Sharon Asplin and Danielle NuttallA SECOND day of glorious sunshine has left organisers hoping the attendance at one of the region's shows will have broken through the 40,000 barrier.

By David Lennard, Sharon Asplin and Danielle Nuttall

A SECOND day of glorious sunshine has left organisers hoping the attendance at one of the region's shows will have broken through the 40,000 barrier.

The warm weather brought plenty of smiling faces at the Eye Show yesterday, one of the highlights of East Anglia's summer calendar.

Show director Tim Seeley's family have been organising the event for more than 40 years and he could not hide his delight at the success of this year's two-day spectacular.

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"I am delighted that everyone is happy with the changes we have made which have seen a whole range of displays and entertainment put on across the showground rather than all in main ring. It has helped create a wonderful atmosphere and this is something we very much want to keep," he said.

Mr Seeley said weather had also played its part in helping to attract such a large crowd to the Dragon Hill showground.

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"This is the first time for many years when we have had two successive warm sunny days for the show. It will be a few days before all the figures are added up for the two days, but there an awful amount of people of all ages enjoying a great day out in the countryside," he said.

This year's attractions included a stunt car display by Terry Grant, daring aerobatics with international test pilot Denny Dobson and an outrageous comedy routine from Ian Jay on top of a 50ft ladder.

Also included in a wide range of entertainment were archery displays, a jousting tournament, steam engines, lurcher and terrier racing, a fun fair and live music.

Some stallholders had to show a degree of initiative to sell their goods and umbrellas – so often a necessity on Bank Holiday weekends in England – were instead being sold as sun shades.

The hot weather also sent the crowd flocking in their droves yesterday to Dedham Fun Day to enjoy a range of different activities, organised by villager Judith Fowle.

Participants were challenged to discover the Dedham dollies, view an exhibition of Second World War vehicles as well as throwing wet sponges at victims in the children's area.

Other highlights included majorette displays, sports coaching, trips up the church tower, carriage rides around the village and an antiques fair. All funds raised will be divided between village organisations and charities.

An historic castle was also brought to life yesterday with a series of events re-creating life during Tudor times.

Large crowds attended Framlingham Castle to see archery and sword-fighting demonstrations, along with drama and living history presentations.

The events were part of a project from English Heritage designed to encourage more people to learn about life in England during what was an often turbulent and violent part of the country's history.

There was another step back in time at Colchester Castle yesterday as a henpecked Saxon builder and his nagging wife helped bring history alive for visitors.

Eadrich the hapless builder showed youngsters how to work on building the castle with traditional Saxon wood and thatch as well as the Norman's preferred materials of flint, mortar and stone, while wife Agatha was furious he had agreed to work for the Norman conquerors.

A spokeswoman for Colchester Museums said: "The pair brought the Norman and Saxon era to life with a lot of humour thrown in for good measure. This event was part of our commitment to add value to visitors' experiences and interpret our history in a fun and engaging way."

More than 1,500 people went to Rendlesham Street Fair yesterday where the attractions included a birds of prey display, a dog show, a fun fair and belly dancers.

The event was held at St Gregory's Church, which will benefit from the funds raised as well as St Felix Church in the village.

The Rev Colin MacDonald, Rendlesham's vicar, said: "We've had a successful day with lots and lots of people. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and it was bigger and better than last year."

The clocks were turned back to the 1940s as Christchurch Park in Ipswich held a big street party yesterday to add to the 60th anniversary celebrations marking the end of the Second World War.

The event, which was organised by Ipswich Museums Service and the Royal British Legion, saw Christchurch Mansion staff dress up in 1940s uniforms and costumes.

There was a variety of entertainment, including the Silver Bird Music Show and Ipswich Hospital Band, to put visitors in the 1940s mood, as well as a hog roast, beer tent and space for picnics.

Visitors were also able to visit the Imperial War Museum touring exhibition Their Past Your Future, which featured wartime stories and memorabilia, currently on display at the mansion.

There was also Fun in the Park as Sue Ryder Care – The Chantry held a summer spectacular in Chantry Park, Ipswich, yesterday.

There was a host of activities including dog agility displays, karate demonstrations, Suffolk Punch horses, a craft fair and games at the fun day, which raised money for the charity, which offers specialised care to people with severe neurological conditions.

The region's seaside resorts were also busy and daytrippers headed for the coast to enjoy a day at the beach in the hot weather.

Ken Blowers, East Anglian Daily Times weatherman, said temperatures reached 80F (27C) yesterday, the warmest day since August 18.

He said temperatures today should be slightly hotter at 81F (27C) due to the continuing warm airstream coming up from Spain, into France and across to East Anglia.

But Mr Blowers warned the weather would turn thundery in the early hours of Thursday and temperatures would fall to a cooler 71F (22C).

He said there had been only three days so far in July and August when temperatures had reached 80F, which Mr Blowers said was rare, while the average rainfall this month had been 2.56in, compared to the monthly average of 2.23in.

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