Floral bid now flying high

AN amazing three-D floral plane took centre stage today as Felixstowe launched its bid to become Britain in Bloom champions.The resort is entered this year for not only the regional Anglia in Bloom competition, but will also be judged nationally against seaside towns from around the country.

AN amazing three-D floral plane took centre stage today as Felixstowe launched its bid to become Britain in Bloom champions.

The resort is entered this year for not only the regional Anglia in Bloom competition, but will also be judged nationally against seaside towns from around the country.

To mark the start of the summer campaign, dignitaries, sponsors and supporters gathered on the seafront to launch Felixstowe in Flower, the lynchpin of the resort's entry.

They gathered outside the leisure centre in Undercliff Road West where the colourful central bed boasts a fantastic floral seaplane to mark the 50th anniversary of the RAF being given the Freedom of Felixstowe and the 90th anniversary of the RAF.

Mayor Mike Deacon - whose idea set up Felixstowe in Flower back in 1985 - thought the display was the best ever.

“I never thought Felixstowe in Flower would grow the way it has and it makes me immensely proud - it's wonderful for the town and so many people put so much hard work into it every year. It just gets better and better,” he said.

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The scheme, sponsored by the Port of Felixstowe, provides a floral trail through the seaside town with 120 sponsored hanging baskets, plus tubs and troughs, making the resort really colourful.

As part of this, the town council - which runs the scheme - holds a series of competitions for schools, allotment holders, businesses and private gardeners to encourage them to help make the town look great.

These displays then marry up with the civic areas created by Suffolk Coastal council's gardening team.

This year the aircraft - a model of a Felixstowe F2A seaplane developed at the town's air experimental station in the early 1900s - was designed by the team and built by E Jacobs and Sons at the Kirton forge.

Gardener Martin Stewart, who designed the display, said: “We were trying to think of a theme and one of the guys suggested an aircraft because a Lancaster bomber had gone down off the seafront in the war.

“Then we realised it was the RAF's 90th anniversary and Felixstowe has such strong links with aircraft having had an airbase, and is this year celebrating the 50th anniversary of the RAF's freedom of the town - it all seemed to come together.”

Around the town businesses are getting their premises ready for the competitions.

One of many setting a fine example is Anglia Car Valeting, off Gulpher Road, where Jayney Wincer has pulled out all the stops to make the building look as colourful as possible.

Her husband Tim said: “We won two or three prizes last year and it would be great to do as well this time. It's lovely to take part and it really helps brighten up the town.”

What do you think of Felixstowe's floral displays? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

FASTFACTS: RAF Felixstowe

Felixstowe was commissioned as a seaplanes base in 1913 and during the first world war aircraft from the base patrolled the coast from Southwold to Clacton looking for German U-Boats and by the end of the war was the largest station in the world.

In 1924 the base - which was where the port now stands - took on a new role as the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment.

During the following years more than 250 types of seaplane and flying boat - military and civilian aircraft - and others were tested and designed at Felixstowe.

The base was responsible for inventing the technology which led to the development of Concorde and also the space shuttle.

Those who served at RAF Felixstowe included Flying Officer Frank Whittle, inventor of the jet engine, and Aircraftsman 1st Class TE Shaw, better known as Lawrence of Arabia.

The station's special high-speed flight also won the world famous Schneider Trophy for Britain three times in a row.

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