Unusual requests for tourist staff

BEING presented with dead hamsters, asked for escorts telephone numbers or for the number of a taxidermist are just some of the every day enquiries the staff at the Ipswich Tourist Information Centre get.

BEING presented with dead hamsters, asked for escorts telephone numbers or for the number of a taxidermist are just some of the every day enquiries the staff at the Ipswich Tourist Information Centre get.

This month the centre is celebrating its 10th year anniversary and is also hoping to be getting its two millionth customers through the doors.

David Stainer, manager of the centre, said: "To celebrate the anniversary on May 22 we will have things from local attractions at the centre.

"An historic vehicle from the Ipswich Transport Museum will be outside and will be joined by go-karts from Beacon Rally Karts.


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"Characters from history connected with Ipswich will be inside and blue badge tour guides will be giving a guide of Ipswich from 2pm."

During the past 10 years David says the staff have had to deal with some bizarre enquiries.

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One man came in to arrange a trip to Liverpool to organise his funeral there.

A woman called from Northern Ireland saying she had visited Ipswich years before and bought a pink powder which cleaned her garden pond. She wanted to know what the powder was and which shops in Ipswich sold it.

He said: "We had a woman come in to say her husband was out of prison for a few hours and did we know of a hotel in the town which rented rooms by the hour. Another gentleman was staying in Ipswich for the night and asked if we had any telephone numbers for a lady escort in her 40s.

"We have even had a dead hamster brought in by someone who was house sitting while the owners were away. She wanted to know if we had any ideas of how to preserve the animal until the family came home. I think that in the end she stored it in the fridge."

David says the staff work very hard to be able to answer any enquiry but find it a lot easier if it is about arranging holidays, information about local attractions, walks and river cruises or to buy a map.

He added: "We pride ourselves on our customer care and it is the staff who make the centre so successful. I look forward to the next 10 years and hope many people will join us to celebrate the anniversary."

The lucky two millionth customer to go through the doors of the centre, in St Stephen's Church, St Stephen's Lane, will be given gifts.

nDo you have any news from the town centre area of Ipswich? If you do contact Lisa Woollard at lisa.woollard@eveningstar.co.uk or 01473 324788.

nHave you made any bizarre requests to a Tourist Information Centre? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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