Suffolk: Summer washout claims more events

THE summer washout claimed yet more event cancellations in Suffolk yesterday - but the tourist industry remains determined to turn the season around.

Organisers of Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life were forced to call off a second race at Nowton Park, Bury St Edmunds, yesterday afternoon, due to torrential rain in the morning. An earlier race had already taken place.

Gemma Turpin, event manager, said: “The health and safety of our participants has to come first so we hope everyone understands why we had to make this difficult decision. All participants will be contacted by Cancer Research UK and we will do our utmost to ensure they can take part in an alternative event.”

Heavy rain also forced organisers of the Great Whelnetham Vintage Car, Bike and Tractor Rally near Bury St Edmunds to cancel the event for the first time in five years.

Co-organiser Peter Royce said: “We had to take the decision to cancel because it was hammering it down with rain and with this type of event held in a field there are risks to pedestrians as well as the risk of vehicles becoming stuck in the mud.”

It was the latest in a series of events hit by the generally abysmal summer weather so far, including the Suffolk Show.

However, seaside businesses have said they are determined to make the most from the remaining summer months.

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Businesses up and down the Suffolk and Essex coast are hoping that better times are around the corner as they look to recover from some of the wet weather.

Director of Clacton Pier, Billy Ball said: “It’s currently a major factor, it’s affected us here. Footfall is down by a significant amount and it’s affecting businesses quite dramatically.”

Mr Ball said that although people were holidaying in the region the bad weather was restricting the days when they could go out.

The owner of Southwold Pier, Stephen Bournes, said the wet weather had made it difficult to estimate tourist numbers.

“It’s hard work to manage because of staffing. We are probably 10% down in numbers from last year,” Mr Bournes said.

But he added: “People who come to Suffolk are hardy, they want to be by the coast, they are not fazed, it’s a great place to be.”

Naomi Tarry, who is director of the holiday cottages firm, Best of Suffolk, and chairman of the Aldeburgh Business Association, said businesses needed to take action to respond to the bad weather.

“The figures for the average occupancy rate have gone up, but we are working hard for it,” said Mrs Tarry.

“We always say we must react to the circumstances. People are booking very much more last minute, people are not booking in advance, they want to see what the weather is like, they are that bit more price conscientious.

“What we are trying to do is to provide compelling reasons for people to come. We have all got our fingers crossed for some better weather.”

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