Referee escaped hotel illness

WORLD Cup referee Graham Poll today reported fit and well - unlike 75 of his fellow diners at a dinner in Felixstowe.Meanwhile, investigations are still taking place to try to find out what caused the illness - a severe bout of diarrhoea and vomiting - which afflicted so many people after their meal at the Hotel Elizabeth Orwell.

WORLD Cup referee Graham Poll today reported fit and well - unlike 75 of his fellow diners at a dinner in Felixstowe.

Meanwhile, investigations are still taking place to try to find out what caused the illness - a severe bout of diarrhoea and vomiting - which afflicted so many people after their meal at the Hotel Elizabeth Orwell.

Environmental health officers have taken samples from a large number of the guests at the dinner and tests are still being carried out to see what bacteria grows - this could take several days.

Mr Poll was special guest speaker at the event, attended by 200 people from the shipping industry from all over the country, talking about the players and incidents from his illustrious career as a Premiership ref, sometimes a controversial one, too.

He said he had not suffered any illness at all following the event.

He said: “I trust it was not my anecdotes which caused any issues!”

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The dinner was held by the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers and guests included people from shipping and haulage companies, as well as the Port of Felixstowe.

Simon Underwood, of Goldstar Transport, made the first call to environmental health.

He said: “I gave them 20 names and phone numbers of all the people that I knew at the function.

“All bar one of the people that I knew at the function have been very ill, and some are still ill.”

A spokesman for Suffolk Coastal council's environmental health department said the latest official number of cases was 75.

He said: “We are awaiting the results of tests from the laboratory but at the moment there is no timescale on when these will be available.”

Environmental health officers have launched an investigation into alleged food poisoning but have stressed it could still prove to be another cause.

Suffolk Coastal offices are working with the Suffolk Office of the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Health Protection Unit and the Suffolk Primary Care Trust on the investigation.

Graham Sheppard, food safety consultant for Elizabeth Hotels Ltd, said the company was co-operating fully.

He said: “Some attendees at the dinner have alleged they suffered illness subsequent to the dinner. The investigation is still in its early stages and at this point there is nothing to suggest the cause is food borne. Winter vomiting disease, which is a possibility, is invariably not associated with food.”

Were you at the event? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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