Region basks in the glorious sunshine
By Juliette MaxamSEASIDE resorts and countryside attractions were busy as the region basked in the glorious sunshine and warm weather.Temperatures reached 22 degrees C (72 degrees F) in parts of East Anglia and the South East yesterday, but it was a different picture in the North and West where showers and dark clouds blighted the holiday weekend.
By Juliette Maxam
SEASIDE resorts and countryside attractions were busy as the region basked in the glorious sunshine and warm weather.
Temperatures reached 22 degrees C (72 degrees F) in parts of East Anglia and the South East yesterday, but it was a different picture in the North and West where showers and dark clouds blighted the holiday weekend.
Hundred of cyclists took advantage of the good weather and joined in the third annual Blue Peter Bikeathon in Colchester.
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Cyclists, mainly children, rode up and down the riverside bicycle path alongside the River Colne, opposite Colchester Leisure World. At the same time children across the country were also on their bikes and taking part in bikeathons in 79 other locations.
It is hoped the event, organised by the BBC children's television programme, will raise thousands of pounds for the Leukaemia Research Fund. Last year 21,000 children took part in the Blue Peter Bikeathon and raised more than £500,000.
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The fine weather also saw crowds flocking to enjoy the artistic goings-on, including giant mural painting and book sculpture, at Firstsite gallery.
The Colchester-based art gallery held a family day on Saturday to celebrate the launch of Museums and Galleries Month.
Artist Lisa Temple-Cox led a Larger Than Life workshop to paint a large-scale still life mural, while sculptor Ian Etheridge encouraged people to respond the gallery's exhibitions with 3-D models made out of clay and plaster.
Jayne Knowles helped children to make their own book sculptures in the interactive children's gallery and artist-in-residence Mark Storor was in the garden, where the Jaywick caravan and shoe tree were on show.
East Anglian Daily Times weatherman Ken Blowers said he expected Bank Holiday Monday to be mostly dry, but not as hot as yesterday when temperatures soared in East Anglia to 19C (67F).
"It looks as though it will be chiefly dry. There's a chance that one or two showers will come up from France, but I think there will be plenty of sunshine and it will keep warm – about 18C (65F)," he added.
The hot May weather, which is about 7 degrees F above average for this time of year, comes on the back of one of the sunniest Aprils in East Anglia for more than 50 years.
On April 16, temperatures reached 24C (76F) – the hottest April day recorded in the region – which Mr Blowers called "phenomenal".
He added: "It can even be classed as an April heatwave – there were 14 days of brilliant sunshine last month. The hot days were due to a flow of warm air that came up over Spain and eventually travelled into France and the British Isles."
The AA predicted about 10 million cars would be on the roads over the Bank Holiday Weekend, but said routes had been reasonably quiet throughout Saturday and yesterday.