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Court action fear after festival

PUBLISHED: 18:00 03 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:08 03 March 2010

SIX people are facing court action over the losses suffered by this summer's massive golden jubilee celebration in Felixstowe.

Companies owed money for helping to stage the 11-hour music festival - one of the biggest events in the country held to mark the Queen's 50 years on the throne - are suing the organisers over unpaid bills.

SIX people are facing court action over the losses suffered by this summer's massive golden jubilee celebration in Felixstowe.

Companies owed money for helping to stage the 11-hour music festival – one of the biggest events in the country held to mark the Queen's 50 years on the throne – are suing the organisers over unpaid bills.

It could mean that co-ordinator Les Arbon and his five fellow committee members could be liable and have to fork out the cash owed, nearly £9,000.

Mr Arbon is taking legal advice and preparing to fight the claims – and has threatened to "name and shame" those individuals and businesses which promised donations but did not honour their pledges.

The free event cost £26,500 to stage but hit a massive financial crisis after the organisers failed to raise enough sponsorship.

Mr Arbon said the experience had left him feeling very bitter, and worried about trying to stage any future events.

"It is very worrying indeed and at the moment we just do not know what is going to happen," said Mr Arbon.

"We have received court summonses for the county court from people who are owed money for helping to put on the event, but as all the committee resigned there is a lot of legal discussion going on about the extent of liability.

"I am just disgusted that we are in this position at all. All we wanted to do was to give Felixstowe a great day, the best jubilee celebrations it could wish for.

"More than 35,000 people came and had a tremendous time – all for free. If we had charged £1 a head it would have paid for the day and made thousands for charity as well.

"Charities who held stalls and collections did do really well and raised several hundred pounds. But I still heard stories of people who would not give because they had already bought an ice cream or been on a ride!"

His biggest argument though is with people and traders who he claimed promised to give sponsorship but then never paid up.

"I cannot say too much at the moment because of the legal proceedings but I may do as yet," he warned.

The event, part of the BBC jubilee celebrations, featured 50-plus live bands, It's A Knock-out, street entertainers, air display, karaoke marathon, and fireworks.

Park and ride bus receipts were £1,200 less than planned. The It's a Knockout raised £500 less and visitors donated £1,500 less than forecast. Extra VAT accounted for another £2,200, extra insurance £800 and the shortfall from traders was £3,100. Donations received totalled approximately £16,700.

Among those who donated were Suffolk Coastal and county council, and also the town council, which gave £1,000 and has offered another £500 if organisers can raise the rest of the shortfall.

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