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Hopes for cavalcade in future

PUBLISHED: 11:42 28 July 2009 | UPDATED: 14:31 03 July 2010

THERE is fresh hope for the future of a charity motorcycle cavalcade which folded earlier this month after becoming embroiled in a red-tape battle.

Organisers of the Eastern Lights Motorcycle Cavalcade are planning talks with Suffolk police about the possibility of holding the event next year following a successful rally at the weekend, which saw nearly 1,500 bikers descend of Lowestoft in support of the cancelled cavalcade.

THERE is fresh hope for the future of a charity motorcycle cavalcade which folded earlier this month after becoming embroiled in a red-tape battle.

Organisers of the Eastern Lights Motorcycle Cavalcade are planning talks with Suffolk police about the possibility of holding the event next year following a successful rally at the weekend, which saw nearly 1,500 bikers descend of Lowestoft in support of the cancelled cavalcade.

This year's cavalcade from Norwich to Lowestoft via Yarmouth was due to take place on Sunday, but it was called off after organisers said Norfolk police had given them a licence deadline that was impossible to meet.

Event officials said they were informed three weeks before the cavalcade that police would withdraw their cover if a temporary road closure licence was not obtained. They were told it would then take eight weeks for Norfolk County Council to process.

The last-minute ruling meant that organisers were forced to cancel this year's cavalcade and said they planned to shelve the event for good.

But last night Eastern Lights organising committee chairman Paul Howard said he was “completely overwhelmed” by the response of bikers who turned up in their droves to attend a free get-together on the day the cavalcade should have gone ahead.

Almost 1,500 motorcyclists from as far afield as Germany travelled to Royal Green, Lowestoft, for the meeting.

Mr Howard said: “We were completely overwhelmed by it. It was a very humbling experience to see them coming to support us. People were just angry and bemused about how this had happened.”

He added that there was a glimmer of hope that the cavalcade could be resurrected next year, saying: “There are lots of ideas that have been put forward for us. We would still continue to have a rally like we did on Sunday. Whether we can hold a cavalcade in Suffolk we don't yet know, but we will be talking to Suffolk police to see what they say.”

The cavalcade has raised £45,000 in the past eight years for the James Paget University Hospital accident and emergency unit and Mr Howard said that organisers still hope to give the hospital a “substantial sum” this year. Despite offering refunds to motorcyclists who had paid to enter this year's cavalcade, he said that hardly any had asked for their money back.

A Suffolk police spokesman confirmed that officers would be talking to event organisers. She said: “We will be having talks with them and we will be looking at the issues in order to try to facilitate the event for next year.”

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