Ipswich: French students confuse Ipswich with Oz

IPSWICH: When you’ve got a language barrier causing difficulty, the last thing you need is confusion from the other side of the world.

But that’s what faced staff at the town’s tourist information centre when a group of students from a French school arrived in town yesterday.

The students, from a school at Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, arrived at the Tourist Information Centre in St Stephen’s Church after struggling to find Ipswich’s leading sights.

They had been given maps of the town, but were still struggling to find landmarks... like the Bremer River and Queen’s Park.

Because the maps they had been given by their school were for the “other” Ipswich – the one 10,200 miles away in Queensland, Australia!

Tourist manager David Stainer said staff were amused by what had happened – but made sure the students were given maps to clearly show them around our town.

He said: “It certainly made us smile! There were three of them who came in here. They had stopped someone in the street and they had shown them the way to us.

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“They took about six or eight maps and they said their fellow students would share. I think there were about a dozen or a few more here in Ipswich. They must have been very confused.”

He was given a contact address for their school and said he would be sending a supply of maps of our Ipswich for when future parties of students arrive.

Mr Stainer said: “We’re delighted they came to see what there is in Ipswich. We hope that in future they will be able to find their way around with our maps!”

This was not the first time the centre has had to help out confused people.

Mr Stainer said: “We quite often get e-mails sent on to us from Queensland which have been sent to them by accident.

“We had a request that was sent from Cardiff to Queensland asking for the best place to park for football fans coming to Portman Road!”

Probably the most bizarre confusion was a letter that was sent from Britain with a second class stamp addressed: Tourist Information Centre, Ipswich.

Mr Stainer said: “That went all the way to Queensland before they redirected it to us.

“It got here eventually – but it was an awfully long journey on a single second class stamp!”

n Have you got a funny story to tell? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk.