For a happy crowd, sign (is) here
CELEBRATIONS have been held to welcome back an "old friend" – a much-missed village sign in the heart of a busy community.The Old Felixstowe sign, with its design capturing the history of the resort's oldest area, was felled by storm-force winds last year and many feared it would not return to its place between the pub, church, homes and community centre.
CELEBRATIONS have been held to welcome back an "old friend" – a much-missed village sign in the heart of a busy community.
The Old Felixstowe sign, with its design capturing the history of the resort's oldest area, was felled by storm-force winds last year and many feared it would not return to its place between the pub, church, homes and community centre.
But thanks to Old Felixstowe Community Association (OFCA), the sign is back in place after being refurbished, and is now set to give the area its special identity for many more years.
Mayor Doreen Savage unveiled a plaque on the sign before more than 40 guests enjoyed a celebration in the community centre.
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The sign was placed in Ferry Road, opposite St Peter and St Paul Church, in 1979 by Old Felixstowe Women's Institute to mark the group's diamond jubilee.
A competition was held to come up with a suitable design, won by the then WI president Joan Meredith.
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Her design featured a Roman arch to mark the Roman settlement and shore fort which had stood in the area 2,000 years ago, a monk of the local priory from Edward III's reign, and a ship from the king's navy, which set off to fight the French from nearby Kingsfleet in 1338.
OFCA chairman Alick Barnett said the community association had rescued the sign after its post collapsed in the winds and stored it during the winter while it was decided what to do about it.
The association received many comments from people upset at the gap left in the street scene by the loss of the sign and it was decided to restore it.
Local builder and joiner Graham Watts was commissioned to refurbish and re-erect the sign, using supporting ironwork supplied by Kirton blacksmith Alec Jacobs, who also did the original ironwork on the sign.
"OFCA has funded the immediate cost of this project but many local residents and organisations have responded to our village sign restoration fund and donated generously towards the cost," said Mr Barnett.
"We still need to raise about £700 and all offers of financial support, large and small, will be welcomed."
Guests at the unveiling included members of the OFCA management committee and affiliated organisations which use the centre, and also sign designer Mrs Meredith and Alan Ryley, who unveiled the original when mayor in 1979.