Seaside comes to Ipswich (rain and all)

WE ALL like to be beside the seaside!And beach-lovers looked no further than Ipswich's town centre for some seaside fun, frolics and fundraising yesterday.

WE ALL like to be beside the seaside!

And beach-lovers looked no further than Ipswich's town centre for some seaside fun, frolics and fundraising yesterday.

Sandpits, deckchairs and sticks of rock transformed the Cornhill for a huge beach party called IpswicHotspot.

The sun was reluctant to show its face but it was still smiles all round as donations poured in for The Evening Star's Ipswich Victims' Support Fund.

The fund was set up to support families of Ipswich victims of the July 7 London bombings and is being supported by the organisers of the IpswicHotspot event – the Ipswich Partnership.

The town centre management group provided buckets and spades, face painting, caricature artists and stilt walkers to bring the holiday atmosphere of the seaside to town.

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Punch and Judy performed in Arras Square, outside the Buttermarket, and the Ipswich Community Playbus and performers from the New Wolsey kept visitors to the Cornhill entertained.

Ben Collins, project co-ordinator for the Ipswich Partnership, said: "Considering the bad weather the event was very warmly received by the public.

"The town centre was a lot busier than usual and there are lots of people with smiles on their faces, enjoying the activities and party atmosphere. That's what we were hoping for."

Mother-of-three Lisa Catchpole, of Renfrew Road, Ipswich, said: "We wanted to come whatever the weather and the children certainly haven't been put off having fun."

Kay O'Dell, of Queen's Way, Ipswich, said: "There's always rain when you go to the English seaside anyway so it's typical. Everyone seems to be having a good time and ignoring the rain."

On Saturday, Ipswich's Odeon Cinema helped raise cash for the Ipswich Victims' Support Fund.

Staff at the St Margaret's Street cinema held face-painting sessions to coincide with showings of the new animated blockbuster Madagascar.

Along with a similar event last weekend, £35 has been raised for the fund.

Pat Ellis, duty manager at the cinema, said: "It's a small way in which we can help.

"We knew there would be lots of young people in the cinema that day because the film is popular and it was good for the children to be able to go and watch the film looking like their favourite character.

"The zebra seemed to be the most popular."

Are you organising an event to support The Evening Star's Ipswich Victims' Support Fund? Call the Star newsroom on 01473 324788 or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk.

If you would like to send a donation to the appeal, make a cheque payable to Ipswich Partnership and send it to us at 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN

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