Yobs force an end to Christmas sparkle

CHRISTMAS will lose some of its sparkle on an Ipswich housing estate this year after yob culture forced a charity to cancel its festive rounds.

CHRISTMAS will lose some of its sparkle on an Ipswich housing estate this year after yob culture forced a charity to cancel its festive rounds.

The Round Table has decided Rudolph will not be calling at streets on the Whitehouse estate this Christmas because last year its volunteers were hounded by youths.

George King, Ipswich councillor for the Whitehouse ward, said: “I'm quite annoyed by this.

“They are going out for a good cause to help so many people.

“It is always the less fortunate who suffer in the long run and it also spoils the enjoyment of the young children who want to stand on the doorstep and wave as it comes by.

“This is the world we are in today - someone spoils it for everyone else.”

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Mr King said he would speak to the Round Table and police to see if there was a possibility of the float returning with some kind of police presence in the area on the evening of its rounds.

But Neville Branch, of the Round Table, said the charity was likely to seek alternative routes.

He said: “In Whitehouse last year we had youths follow us around and throw stones and spears that they made with pieces of wood ripped off trees.

“They are just being stupid really - it is a pack mentality and I think they are showing off.

“We are not going to make a big fuss about it and haven't reported it to the police - we just won't be going there this year.”

Mr Branch said the charity usually has groups of youngsters following its float around over Christmas and attempting to get on the back of the vehicle but said it usually wasn't malicious and was just done because the youngsters were bored.

But he said the reception from Whitehouse youths was not worth facing again this year and instead the float would seek an alternative route.

The Round Table has been conducting their Christmas float collection for more than 20 years, taking numerous routes across the town and raising thousands of pounds for charity.

It only returned to the Whitehouse estate last year when it cancelled its town centre collection.

Despite the Round Table changing some of the route for its festive pilgrimage this year, there is some good news for lovers of all things festive.

The Orwell Mencap Olde Tyme Christmas float will return this year, although the routes have not yet been determined.

The float did not do its usual rounds last year due to a lack of volunteers but is planning to return to the streets of Ipswich this year.

Anyone interested in helping out should call Nino Serritiello on 01473 723888.

What do you think of The Round Table's decision to avoid Whitehouse? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail: eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Weblinks: www.roundtable.co.uk; www.eveningstar.co.uk/news.