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Events & Activities

Radio Caroline’s 50th Anniversary



Where it all began in Felixstowe! Original DJ, Tony Prince tells The Felixstowe Magazine about his time on Radio Caroline and more…

You may remember with enormous affection being a teenager in 1964, when, with a music drought in the land, you spent your nights burrowed beneath your pillow listening to Radio Caroline. Many of our audience saw the movie ‘The Boat that Rocked’ and none of them could understand why a bunch of young lads had to live on a ship broadcasting to the UK in the period which saw the arrival of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and all the other working-class wonders of the 1960s.

One day, the manager of English R&B singer Georgie Fame visited Radio Luxembourg’s English HQ in London’s Hertford Street.  He had an appointment with the big boss Geoffrey Everett, himself a former DJ on the station. The manager was Ronan O’Rahilly, an Irish entrepreneur who wanted to know why Georgie’s new record was not getting any airtime at all. Everett explained to O’Rahilly that the record companies had to programme tunes, it had nothing to do with him. The last thing the Irishman said to Everett as he left his office was: “Well, in that case, I’ll have to start my own radio station!” Everett laughed.

This became the legendary meeting which sparked a teenage revolution. Ronan’s father had a shipyard in Greenore, Ireland.  Within weeks, the local fishermen were gazing at a former Dutch ferry with quite an unusual feature; its mast was 120ft high!

Dropping anchor a seagull’s flight from Felixstowe, suddenly the air became filled with unadulterated pop. Simon Dee was one of the first DJs – his first shift on board lasted 8 weeks, by which time the south of England became a new place.  Suddenly, teenagers had colourful radio, where once there had only been radio where the government saw the obvious advantage of the BBC having the monopoly because it offered better political control than a local radio network.  World War 1 saw the birth of modern spin. Prime Minister Lloyd George used the BBC to communicate with the nation, knowing the entire population would be listening because there was no alternative radio station.

I spent 2 years with Caroline. 50 years later, Radio Caroline continues legally online. A small, light ship has been moored on the Mersey waterfront to reincarnate Caroline North for this month of celebration of all we achieved. A pirate DJ Day reunion in Amsterdam attracted 450 anoraks, together with a panel of 18 surviving DJs such as Johnny Walker, Robbie Dale, Roger ‘Twiggy’ Day and myself.

You might consider putting this article in the hands of your kids and grandkids so that they realise Great Britain didn’t endure just two World Wars –  there was a third and I was lucky enough to have been on the front line. This third ‘world war’ was staged by teenagers; the first time in history that they had become a voice and a community that were no longer ‘seen and not heard’ – Tony Prince

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Events & Activities

Scarecrow Festival: 25th July 2020



If you have driven down country roads and past tiny villages, you may have noticed households with scarecrows in their gardens. This is a great way to bring the community together and raises community spirit in the area. So why not bring the scarecrows to Felixstowe? It has never been done before. 

That is until now. Luke Smout has been providing news and information for the town but also has been organising events which ultimately benefit the community. 

‘The Felixstowe Scarecrow Festival’ will take place on the 25th of July until the 31st of July and has already seen much support. 

The festival will be raising money for the BASIC Life Charity. Graham Denny and the charity volunteers have been working tirelessly for years supporting Felixstowe and Walton. More recently, throughout the pandemic, they have set up an Emergency Resource Centre, which helps those most hard hit by the coronavirus. The aim is to raise community morale and spread ‘The Great Felixstowe Community Spirit’ to every corner of the town. 

If you want to enter a scarecrow, please place it outside your household for the 23rd July take a photo and email it to Luke will feature your photo on Felixstowe & Suffolk News Facebook Page, social media platforms and website. 

Please also send a rough estimate of your area if you intend to enter your scarecrow by FRIDAY 17TH JULY 2020 so Luke can direct people towards your scarecrow. 

Luke suggests a minimum donation of £5 to enter your scarecrow and all monies will be donated to the BASIC Life Charity. 

To donate, click on the link: 

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Books & Literature

Felixstowe Online Book Festival a Resounding Success



George Alagiah

From temporary studios of laptop computers, microphones and lights, set up in the home of authors and interviewers, the Felixstowe Book Festival’s venture into the online world was a tremendous success. 

Meg Reid, the Festival director said,

“What a wonderful weekend! A feast of diverse and varied talks watched by people from all over the world. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to taking Felixstowe Book Festival online and to everyone who has sent such lovely appreciative messages. On our Facebook page we can see that over 8,000 people watched some or all of the online Festival and that figure is still rising as all of the videos are still on Facebook, and the Festival webpage, to watch or watch again.”

Felixstowe Book Festival  had people tuning in from Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Jacksonville Florida, California, Australia, Cape Town South Africa, Ontario Canada, Shanghai, Omagh Northern Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, Paris, North Yorkshire, Devon, Basingstoke, Nottingham, Berkhamstead, South Godstone Surrey, London and (closer to home)….Norfolk, Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Hadleigh and… Felixstowe. 

The Festival went live through entertaining interviews with Paul French, Liz Trenow, Nick Cottam, Carol Drinkwater, George Alagiah and Harriet Tyce. A fascinating evening was spent with Brontë expert Nick Holland on Friday evening and Martin Bell mused on his life and career on Saturday evening. The weekend was peppered with video insights into the days in the lockdown lives of some favourite authors. The younger festival fans enjoyed story readings and drawalongs to keep them busy. 

“All in all, our packed programme provided some much-needed literary sustenance to everyone during one of the strangest and most stressful year of our lives. Next year’s festival will be held on the last weekend in June and we hope to be back at our home at The Orwell Hotel, Felixstowe.”

The festival organisers raised over £1000 from donations via JustGiving and the festival was also supported by local sponsors.

A huge thanks to all participants!

Images provided by Felixstowe Book Festival

Rachel Sloane and Carol Drinkwater

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Books & Literature

Felixstowe Online Book Festival



Exciting news! Felixstowe Book Festival has started! Across this weekend they will be hosting a series of live-streamed author Q&As and interviews online, plus talks and videos and more!

All live events across the weekend will be streamed on their Facebook page. To watch simply click HERE.

You can view the full programme of events HERE.

If you would like to help us out this year with a donation, take a look at our fundraising page HERE

Enjoy you weekend folks!

VIDEO PREMIERE | A day in the life of a writer in lockdown…Sam Ruddock
Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a writer? Here at the Felixstowe Book Festival we may be able to provide some answers for your musings…

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