Majorettes tattoo to be axed

ONE of Felixstowe's longest-running summertime events is being cut because community leaders have decided to charge organisers for holding it.

ONE of Felixstowe's longest-running summertime events is being cut because community leaders have decided to charge organisers for holding it.

The annual majorettes tattoo has attracted thousands of visitors over the years and is part of its varied calendar of attractions enjoyed by residents, daytrippers and holidaymakers.

For 16 years troupes of girls from all over the region have come to the resort to strut their stuff, supported by families and friends, with big crowds attending to watch their marching and baton twirling displays.

Russell Hampshire, publicity officer for tattoo organisers Technotronic Majorettes said: “We don't hold the event to make a profit - all we want to do is break even so we can hold it again next year.

“People who come all use the restaurants, cafes, shops and so on, so it brings in business for the town's traders.

“This year Suffolk Coastal charged us £100 for hiring the park and we made a loss.

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“It is costing us to put on an event which benefits the town and we cannot afford that.

“We have spoken to the council but they won't change their mind, which is very disappointing.

“Although we clear up the park, they want us to pay £94 for bins to be emptied.

“It is ridiculous and reluctantly we have decided to cancel the event next year. It was an awful decision and very distressing.”

Felixstowe town councillor Mike Ninnmey said: “We cannot afford to lose events that bring people into the town to spend money and help our economy, especially one that has been part of the town for years.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Coastal said new charges for hiring open spaces were introduced in 2007 and, like other charitable organisations, the majorettes had been given a 66 per cent discount on the hire fee.

She said: “The charges were brought in to increase income, reduce council tax, protect services and introduce consistency of pricing.

“It is a condition of booking the park that it is left as clean and tidy at the end of the hire period as it was to begin with. The event organisers have the option of tidying up themselves, or paying Suffolk Coastal Services to do it for them.”

Should charities be charged to hire the park to stage major events? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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