What a difference a year makes!

By Jenni DixonWHAT a difference a year makes.This time last year East Anglia was basking in scorching temperatures as the mercury broke through the 80F barrier.

By Jenni Dixon

WHAT a difference a year makes.

This time last year East Anglia was basking in scorching temperatures as the mercury broke through the 80F barrier.

But it was a different story yesterday as temperatures struggled to reach past 60F as the region endured a cold and miserable day.

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As well as giving us something to complain about, the poor weather has been hitting the fortunes of traders in seaside resorts and tourist attractions, who have been suffering from lack of visitors.

Barry McGregor, general manager for CinquePort Leisure, which owns Walton Pier, said the weather had taken its toll on business.

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“To be honest, for the month of June when the weather was poor, it affected our business and we were about 15% down on last year,” he added.

“During June we can live with the poorer weather from Monday to Friday because the children are at school and the number of visitors is not as high.

“But it has been the weekend business where we suffered, but hopefully we can pull that back if we have a good summer from here on in. It has not been disastrous, but it could have been better.”

Stephen Cornell, chairman of Southwold Chamber of Trade and Commerce, was also concerned about the situation.

“I monitor the situation on a daily basis with various retailers and it seems like the hotels, guesthouses, pubs and restaurants are all reporting that their businesses are down on last year, but that was particularly spectacular in terms of weather,” he said.

“A lot of it is down to the weather - if there's a bad weather report, day-trippers just aren't going to venture out.”

Rachael Eade, business manager at the seafront Victoria Hotel in Lowestoft, agreed.

“It's very quiet during the day, there's hardly any movement on the seafront and not a lot of people coming in for bar lunches, snacks, afternoon tea and drinks,” she said.

But a spokesman for Woodbridge and Felixstowe tourist information offices said both were doing well, with Maggi Hambling's controversial Scallop sculpture bringing extra visitors to Aldeburgh.

Temperatures reached 27C (81F) on July 10 last year and had dropped back to 24C (76F) by July 12 - but yesterday it was only 17C (62F).

Friday saw the coldest July day in East Anglia for at least 20 years as temperatures plunged to 14C (58F)>

However, East Anglian Daily Times weatherman, Ken Blowers, predicted temperatures would reach 22C (72F) by end of the week.

But he added: “Last summer north-western Europe - which includes the UK - saw the sunniest and hottest summer for 500 years. This year has been a cool and unsettled and it often tends to continue like that for weeks.

“Most people in the country expect far too much of the British summer, which usually falls into the mediocre category, and people remember their childhood summers as hot, with them only needing one sheet on the bed and eggs frying on the pavement, but that is completely wrong.

“Long hot summers are rare occurrences in the British Isles - the only outstanding summers in the last century were in 1911, 1933, 1947 and 1949 while the summers of 1903, 1920, 1954 and 1956 were described as deplorable.”


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