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David Ellesmere: Why I'm proud to live in Ipswich

Last month Ipswich was the place to be. The sun shone and the town was full of thousands of local people and visitors enjoying themselves.

First was the Windrush celebration. All day the Cornhill was alive with music and speakers celebrating the contribution made by Ipswich’s Caribbean community over the past 70 years. There were stalls and food, and inside the Town Hall an exhibition documenting the history of nearly those thousands of people who, between 1948 and 1970, moved from the Caribbean to Britain. The exhibition told the stories of their courage and resilience in settling and staying, and their huge contribution to the UK and to Ipswich in particular over many years – including veteran Labour councillors and Ipswich Mayors Albert Grant and Hamil Clark.

At the same time Suffolk Pride 2019 filled the Waterfront with a march, music, food, poetry and speakers. The event really was, in the words of the organisers, “for absolutely everyone – the family, the children, the dog” – not to mention local school students, the police and fire service, and Ipswich MP Sandy Martin, all having a great time.

Also last month was the fourth annual Ipswich Jazz Festival which gave us wonderful performances by local, national and international musicians, workshops, and a free family jazz show where Cliff Lane Primary School’s orchestra was a star turn!

Ipswich Borough Council’s Area Committees helped fund both Pride and free tickets at the Jazz Festival.

The fourth big event was the ongoing St Elizabeth Hospice’s Elmer’s Big Parade. From day one local families have been tracking the painted elephants across the town. Ipswich Borough Council commissioned two – including my personal favourite, the mammoth. Elmer HQ is in the Town Hall and the trail will be providing fun for all until September 7.

Meanwhile, the Wonder Walls exhibition continues at Christchurch Mansion, as did Ipswich Art Society’s 142nd Open Exhibition at Ipswich Art Gallery. Both offer wonderful examples of works by local artists past and present.

This was a huge amount to be happening in just one day and really showed the town off at its best. I was both glad and proud to live in Ipswich.

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