Scene set for friendly invasion

DUTCH invaders will arrive by sea and scramble up Felixstowe's beaches to face their enemy next summer in a reconstruction of the last invasion of England.

DUTCH invaders will arrive by sea and scramble up Felixstowe's beaches to face their enemy next summer in a reconstruction of the last invasion of England.

It will be part of the SeaBritain festival, a massive three-day celebration of the country's maritime heritage being planned at the resort.

It is hoped a warship will also visit the town – to be berthed at the port so people can visit – and there will be sail pasts, a spectacular fireworks display, art exhibitions, live bands and many more events.

A special committee has been set up in the town, involving town and district councils and the chamber of trade, to oversee the project, part of the national celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

Felixstowe's celebrations will one of the biggest in East Anglia and take place from July 1 to 3, and it is hoped will lattract 40,000 visitors to give a huge boost to the resort's economy and tourist trade.

Resort regeneration chairman Doreen Savage said the invasion by a Dutch historical re-enactment group would be one of the highlights of the weekend.

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They would land on the beach and the march to Landguard Fort where Capt Nathaniel Darrel and his men successfully repelled the invaders in 1667, the last time the country was invaded.

"It sounds as if it will be very exciting and dramatic and should draw huge crowds to watch," she said.

"We are currently looking for a site for the Dutch to camp on – apparently they are so authentic they only sleep on straw beds!"

Mrs Savage said the programme for the weekend was coming together well.

"Everyone involved is working exceedingly hard and the aim is to have as many events and activities as possible taking place with a variety of entertainment which will appeal to all ages," she said.

The weekend will start with a huge nautical barbecue at Felixstowe Ferry with sea shanties and other maritime entertainment, and then throughout the weekends there will be sail pasts and opportunities for people to sail, and a large programme of events at Landguard Fort.

Live bands will play alongside the prom, children's competitions will be held, and there will be a special church service, also at the fort.

Town clerk Susan Robinson said an application for a £5,000 grant had been made to the lottery Awards for All scheme to help with the promotion and marketing of the event.

Organisers are calling for businesses to help support and finance the event and would also love to hear from local residents who would like to help organise it.

Volunteers are required for a number of activities including organising events, overseeing car parking and arranging children's activities.

Anyone wishing to offer their support should contact event co-ordinator Richard Love on e-mail

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