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Big maritime event for Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 04:19 30 May 2004 | UPDATED: 04:55 02 March 2010

A MASSIVE maritime-based event is coming to Ipswich waterfront next month as part of a multi-national European bank's corporate weekend.

Dutch-based ABN AMRO is inviting around 300 guests to travel to Suffolk along with its management for a gala dinner and boat races across the North Sea.

A MASSIVE maritime-based event is coming to Ipswich waterfront next month as part of a multi-national European bank's corporate weekend.

Dutch-based ABN AMRO is inviting around 300 guests to travel to Suffolk along with its management for a gala dinner and boat races across the North Sea.

Landing the weekend is being lauded as a substantial coup for business and tourism in the town. It is also being heralded as an example of Ipswich's burgeoning continental links with large companies in Europe.

More than 50 boats are expected to berth at the town's marina from June 10-12.

Ipswich Borough Council staff are extremely pleased to have landed the event in the face stiff competition.

Months of planning have gone into bringing Amsterdam-based ABN AMRO to Ipswich, including whistle-stop three-hour visits by its management to help with the planning.

Billy Brennan, head of arts and entertainment for IBC, said: "We are delighted. It's a tremendous coup for Ipswich to win this event.

"The organisers were looking at other sites around the UK. While they are in Ipswich the visitors will be enjoying the town's hospitality. They have taken over the Salthouse Hotel. And the Last Anchor at the waterfront will be making the food for the gala dinner to be held at the town hall.

"The dinner will also include a host of international stars who are being flown over from Holland. It will be a huge operation to get the place right. They will be taking over the whole town hall complex including the Corn Exchange. We are very pleased for the local economy. It's a big boost."

Mr Brennan said the King's Division Waterloo Band will lead a late night lantern-lit parade from the gala dinner to the waterfront after the festivities.

The parade will round off an evening, which is scheduled to begin with a Dixieland band leading the guests to the town hall.

Although it is a private event the pomp and pageantry will be seen throughout the town on Friday, June 11.

Mr Brennan said: "It's good for the town's profile. I imagine the whole waterfront is going to be extremely busy from midweek until the weekend of the race."

John Baldry, assistant marina manager at Ipswich docks said: "We are expecting 50-60 sailing boats to race over from Holland and they will be accompanied by a 50 metre three-masted schooner. It is quite a big event and very good for the town. Racing starts on June 9 at 11am in Holland. The quicker boats are expected to be here in 15 hours. They will race home from Harwich harbour at 10.30am on the Saturday."

Dolf Clarenburg, one of ABM AMRO's main organisers of the event, said Ipswich was chosen because it was the best location on the east coast for the bi-annual race, partly because of De Oosterschelde, the three-masted schooner.

He said: "There are only three harbours on the east coast we could go to - Ramsgate, Ipswich and Lowestoft. Ipswich is such an attractive harbour and a good job has been done restoring it. You also have good party facilities in the Corn Exchange. Ipswich is a very attractive location."

N What do you think of Ipswich's waterfront regeneration? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

n ABN AMRO is a prominent international bank

N Its origins going back to 1824.

N ABN AMRO ranks 11th in Europe and 23rd in the world

N It has more than 3,000 branches in more than 60 countries.

N It has a staff of the equivalent of about 110,000 full-time employees

N The bank's total assets stood at EUR 639.9 billion as at 31 March 2004.

n Around 60 boats due to berth at Ipswich Marina

n Massive three-masted schooner De Oosterschelde to accompany craft

n Three hundred corporate guests and board members of ABN AMRO

n The whole of the Salthouse Hotel will be used for the three-day festival

n Gala dinner at Ipswich Town Hall

n Host of continental stars being flown in for gala dinner

n Dixie Band parade to the town hall

n King's Division of Waterloo band to lead a lantern-lit return parade

n Big boost for Ipswich, its profile, tourism and business community

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