Suffolk: Royal wedding feel-good factor boosts community spirit

RESIDENTS in Suffolk and Essex enjoyed a renewed sense of community yesterday as thousands came together to celebrate the Royal wedding.

Bars and restaurants were the chief beneficiaries as the region raised a glass to the happy couple. Families and neighbours also shared the special moment with street parties and private gatherings.

MP Ben Gummer, who spent the afternoon at street parties in his Ipswich constituency, said: “It’s been a wonderful day.

“The service this morning was absolutely perfect and it’s been great to see people celebrating back here in Ipswich.

“Every party has been different but they’ve all helped to bring people together to celebrate. People say that community does not exist any more – well today we’ve seen that it’s alive and well!”

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Suffolk County Council chairman Eddy Alcock watched the ceremony at a special event at the Debenham Leisure Centre with about 150 other people from the village. He said: “In many ways this was a fairly low-key event, but if it was representative of the kind of thing that was happening across Suffolk then it will have certainly helped to bring communities together.

“I know a lot of people have had a wonderful time during the day and it really helped to bring the nation together. It was a similar story in Essex. Sonia Lewis, mayor of Colchester, said: “There’s a very good party atmosphere in Colchester. I know as mayor I signed off the orders for lots of street parties.

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“There’s a lot of people getting together, it’s brought communities together.

“I think it’s put a spring in people’s step, I know a lot of people were looking forward to it, there’s a feel-good factor.”

Gary Install, owner of Ferguson’s Delicatessen in Hadleigh, said the town was very quiet during the morning as people were glued to television screens watching the ceremony. He said: “I have lost 50% of my normal Friday trade, which is my busiest day. So the choice of day is not great for me.

“The High Street in Hadleigh has been very quiet – some of the key traders have been closed. I think probably when I sit down on Saturday evening and balance the books the net effect of Easter and the Royal wedding has cost a bit, but it should be evened out by Thursday’s and Saturday’s trade.”

But for pubs, the Royal wedding brought with it some swift trade. One hostelry –The White Hart in Tuddenham, near Mildenhall – even used the big day to launch a brew it has made in conjunction with the nearby Red Rat Brewery called ‘Pearly King’.

The landlady of the family-owned pub, Rebecca Casson, said: “It has been very, very busy here. It has been wonderful. We’ve had two other ales on offer called Royal Ginger and London Glory.”

Laura Palfrey, assistant manager of the Slug and Lettuce in Colchester High Street, said: “We have had a very busy morning with people watching the Royal wedding. But the Bank Holiday has impacted on the lunch trade, and we have seen that fall off.

“Everyone seems very happy, there’s been no trouble at all,” she added. “They were all happy and cheering the Royal couple on.”

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