Rural life returns as Ipswich land campus marks new era with day of family fun

Children enjoy Otley's Big Day Out

Kieran, Connor and Isla at Suffolk Rural's Big Day Out at Otley - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Visitors basked in glorious June sunshine as they were given an insight into what Suffolk’s re-launched rural college campus has to offer.

Around 5,000 people booked tickets for Suffolk Rural’s Big Day Out at Otley, near Ipswich. It was a chance for the college to showcase what it has to offer and offer a flavour of college life.

Families enjoyed a day of free entertainment including live music, livestock displays, stalls and family games on Thursday, June 3. They were given time slots to keep within pandemic rules.

Josh Locke at Otley's Big Day Out on June 3

Singer Josh Locke performing at Suffolk Rural's Big Day Out - Credit: John Nice

Otley hosts a Big Day Out every year, but last year’s event — postponed because of the pandemic — should have been particularly special as it marked a new era and a new name for the campus. In 2019, Easton and Otley College was de-merged, and the Otley  site was officially merged with Suffolk New College on January 1, 2020.

Guests got to listen to live music from former Suffolk New College student and singer Josh Locke. Josh got to share the stage with Ed Sheeran during the early part of their careers and he entertained guests with a mixture of covers and original songs.

Visitors were treated to equine displays and catering demonstrations. They also took part in “face your fears” activities, and were offered a chance to try out their practical skills at stalls which gave them a go at bricklaying and other specialist skills taught at the college.

Marketing events co-ordinator Charlotte Rossiter said: “I’d like to thank everyone who came along and supported us while respecting the restrictions. The atmosphere had a great feel-good factor.”

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Nasima Ali-Uddim from Ipswich — who brought her family along to the event — said the family had enjoyed the day. 

“This was Covid-friendly and in the open air and the highlight was all the free activities for the kids. I would definitely come back again,” she said.

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