What a wash-out! Wet Bank Holiday misery

WHAT a wash-out!The second consecutive late Bank Holiday in May was overshadowed by torrential rain. Householders endured power cuts and one major event had to be cancelled.

WHAT a wash-out!

The second consecutive late Bank Holiday in May was overshadowed by torrential rain. Householders endured power cuts and one major event had to be cancelled.

But the weather is due to improve in time for the Suffolk Show at Trinity Park with tens of thousands of visitors flocking to enjoy the county's showcase event.

Several thousand customers lost electricity yesterday after high winds and heavy rain caused dozens of faults on the power network.

A spokesman for EDF Energy said: “It has been particularly busy in and around Bury St Edmunds, but there have been dozens of faults across the patch reported, with several thousand customers off supply at its height.

“EDF Energy Networks has activated its emergency plans and has called on additional support to ensure that all the faults are repaired as quickly and as safely as possible.”

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Engineers were still working late last night to restore power.

A total of 1.08inches of rain fell in Ipswich on Sunday and Monday - the average rainfall for May is 1.59ins - following a mainly dry spell of more than three weeks.

Ken Blowers, an Ipswich-based weatherman, said the temperature had also plummeted in a slow-moving depression over France to 12C yesterdayand along the Suffolk coast the winds had reached 45mph.

However, the outlook is warmer and brighter for the Suffolk Show on Wednesday and Thursday with the temperatures due to hit 23C, although it will remain unsettled.

The high winds brought down trees across the country and Polly Cowan, control room supervisor at Suffolk Police HQ in Martlesham, said several weather related incidents had taken place.

Noone was injured when a tree fell on a car in Shetland Close, Ipswich, about 9am and half an hour later another tree fell across the A12 at Stratford St Mary and a northbound lane had to be closed while it was removed.

A tree also fell across the A1156 Bridge Street, Levington, and similar incidents were reported at Gazeley, Herringswell and Lowestoft.

A sailor was flown to Ipswich Hospital for treatment after he fell over board from his 20ft yacht Boru which had run aground in the River Orwell.

The Harwich inshore lifeboat was called out at 2.20pm and the crew found the man was back on his yacht but he had mild hypothermia. He was transferred from the lifeboat to the Wattisham rescue helicopter and taken to hospital.

In Framlingham the atrocious weather did not deter the hardy souls who turned up for the annual gala parade.

As participants assembled at 12.30 pm the rain sheeted down and strong gusts of wind turned umbrellas inside out. Costumes quickly became wet, together with cardboard props and placards by the time the processions set off at 1 pm.

However, there was a steely determination to cope with the elements. Eleven members of Framlingham WI walked the route as Mary Poppins characters while the only traditional float carried members of Framlingham Community Club, celebrating 60 years of musicals.

Other walking participants included young children, mums and dads from Framlingham Toddlers Club as well as various individuals.

The gala princesses, Clare Mooney, Georgia Moore and Lucy Johnson, accepted a lift in the town's fire appliance at the head of the procession with two fire fighters agreeing to take their places in an open top truck.

Syd Vice, chairman of the gala committee, praised those who had turned out for the event, especially those who had taken part in the parade. “It is very well done to all them,” he said.

Mr Vice said there had been a determination to go ahead with this year's gala - despite weather similar to that which forced the cancellation of last year's event for the first time in its long history.

The gala continued on the Castle Meadow although part of the programme of entertainment was curtailed by the bad weather.

Organisers, the Framlingham Sports Club, suffered a major financial blow as a result of last year's cancellation but there are hopes that this year's gala will at least break even.

But there was disappointment for the organisers of Hospital Radio Colchester's annual fun day after the event was cancelled for the second year running.

The fun day, which has been held for 30 years, was declared a wash-out in the town's Castle Park.

Volunteers were at the park at 7am but two hours later the event was cancelled.

Andy Patrick, the event organiser, said yesterday: “It was like déjà vu this morning, we had such bad luck last year but you wouldn't have thought it could happen two years in a row.

“We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who took part in the planning and also to those who got windswept and wet on the day, next year hopefully we'll be 'third time lucky' with dry weather.''

There was a north-south divide to the Bank Holiday weather with holidaymakers in northern England enjoying a pleasant day.

Meteorologist Rachel Vince, of MeteoGroup, said: ''People in northern England will probably be wondering what all the fuss is about. It's been sunny with just a light breeze up there - a real North-South divide.''