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Could Sudbury follow Ipswich pigs and Colchester giraffes with silk moth trail?

PUBLISHED: 12:22 07 March 2017 | UPDATED: 16:05 07 March 2017

Chairman of Vanners Silk Weavers David Tooth with former MEP Richard Howitt in 2015. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Chairman of Vanners Silk Weavers David Tooth with former MEP Richard Howitt in 2015. Picture: GREGG BROWN

In recent years, the region has experienced pigs running wild around Ipswich, giraffes randomly appearing across the Colchester area - and now there’s a chance visitors to Sudbury could encounter a flutter of silk moths.

Chairman of Vanners Silk Weavers David Tooth with former MEP Richard Howitt in 2015. Picture: GREGG BROWN Chairman of Vanners Silk Weavers David Tooth with former MEP Richard Howitt in 2015. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Plans for a festival to showcase the town’s tradition for producing quality silk products are now underway and could include silk flags draped around the streets and a silk moth trail.

Organisers say they were astounded at the large turnout – around 50 people – for a first consultation on what the festival should entail, held in the town’s assembly rooms last week.

Sudbury Town Council’s events coordinator Ami Birrell said she believed it would be a “fantastic event”.

“I think it’s an event locals have been waiting for and they’re desperate for it to go ahead,” she said.

The Colchester giraffe trail celebrated Colchester Zoo's 50th anniversary. Pictured her is Suffolk-based artist Cyndi Speer with Cam, the 2.5m giraffe sponsored by directors Stuart Silkstone, Neil Stones and Heather Davies of Fuller Davies printers in Ipswich. Picture: SU ANDERSON The Colchester giraffe trail celebrated Colchester Zoo's 50th anniversary. Pictured her is Suffolk-based artist Cyndi Speer with Cam, the 2.5m giraffe sponsored by directors Stuart Silkstone, Neil Stones and Heather Davies of Fuller Davies printers in Ipswich. Picture: SU ANDERSON

All the responses to the consultation are now being collated by Babergh District Council, which is also behind the event.

Some of the ideas that came up were for silk moths models to be placed throughout the town, in the manner of Colchester’s giraffe trail in 2014 and Ipswich’s Pigs Gone Wild in 2016.

Others want the practice of ‘yarn bombing’ street art to be mimicked in silk, which has been described as a popular form of urban graffiti, with pieces of material placed around public objects. Silk flags could also be placed around the town.

Used by designers and couturiers all over the world to make everything from soft furnishings for palaces, to outfits for royalty, Sudbury silk has long had a reputation for quality and tradition. However, until now the region’s rich silk heritage has remained a relatively well kept secret.

A date for the festival is yet to be confirmed but currently June, 2018, is being looked at.

Ami said this was not “set in stone” and if people have suggestions that could tie in with an anniversary or mark a particular date then it would be considered.

The market town is one of the country’s last remaining producers of woven silk textiles, with three working mills – Vanners Silks, which has been weaving since before the Napoleonic wars, Stephen Walters & Sons dating back to 1720, and Gainsborough Silk Weaving Company established in 1903.

Anyone with further suggestions for the Sudbury Silk Festival can email ami.birrell@sudburytowncouncil.co.uk

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