Suffolk: Happy Christmas to all our readers!

IPSWICH/FELIXSTOWE/SUFFOLK: A Happy Christmas and a hopeful New Year!

That was the message ringing out from Suffolk’s county town today as our county prepares for a much-need holiday break.

With economic woes wafting over us from Europe – and continuing hard times on the home front – we believe this is the time for the “power of the positive” to take centre stage.

So your Evening Star is renewing its vow to fight for its county town, its major resort just down the road and its beautiful county as never before in 2012.

From our bases in the heart of Ipswich and Felixstowe, we are full of energy, hope and optimism for the coming year – and will not be brow-beaten by doom-mongers and nay-sayers who seem to get a pleasure from being negative.

Like any other place in the UK we have our problems – but there’s so much good going on here that we haven’t got enough space to tell you all the details!

So what have we got to shout so loudly about?

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Here’s what:

-Firstly we must tell you about our own role. For we have become one of Britain’s first Beacon Towns – under the banner of our I Love Ipswich campaign. We believe this idea will spread around the UK, so that Beacon Britain towns can drive the country forward in difficult times. Already we are breaking Beacon Town stories in Ipswich and Felixstowe and more are to come! In the early New Year an Evening Star Beacon Ipswich Conference will be a call to action for everyone who cares about our major town.

- Last night’s exclusive front-page news revealed the prospect for 1,500 vitally-needed jobs with the arrival of a John Lewis At Home store and a Waitrose superstore at Ransomes Way.

-Today we reveal more jobs on the way in the town when Call Connection expands in 2012.

- Then there’s more great town centre news with dynamic new ownership of the Tower Ramparts shopping centre...and an innovative Waitrose store opening in the Corn Exchange.

- Today we reveal a huge Doctor Who event for the town in June and July, with Ipswich winning a national event as part of the Cultural Olympiad. The audience-interactive Crash of the Elysium is likely to draw scores of thousands of visitors to Ipswich. Wow!

-Then there’s the Olympics themselves just an hour down the track – and The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee will see many events locally – including beacons!

- Then there are extravaganzas planned the Waterfront in Ipswich, major pop concerts for Chantry Park … and a classical supershow for Christchurch Park.

- These and dozens of other events are under the wing of the brilliant Ip-Art festival which The Evening Star is proud to support and promote.

And that’s just a part of it.

Join us in being positive about Ipswich and Suffolk in 2012.

Join us in tackling some of the problems our towns have to face – they are, if thought through, huge opportunities.

And together we’ll get through the tough times and emerge as a stronger, caring, community-minded, place to live.

A Beacon Town for Britain!

Your Star of the East (our historic title) will not be found wanting.