IT was a weekend of fun and frivolity that left Eastbourne breathless. And yet gasping for more . . .
Patriotism was the order of the day - of four days, in fact - as the town’s reborn carnival kicked off a spectacular schedule that will live long in the memory.
The party mood was already well in evidence by the time the carnival floats were gathering late Saturday afternoon on the eastern side of the seafront - a wonderful sight not seen for the previous 15 years.
Rain clouds hung ominously beyond the Sovereign Centre and with a turn in the weather predicted for early that evening, the assembled procession hardly dared look over its shoulder.
But Lady Luck smiled on the town as we prayed she would and the rain held off long enough for the carnival to parade in all its glory along the length of the seafront.
Those who thought we’d seen the last of the once-popular carnival had been proven wrong. The crowds turned out in their thousands - locals and hotel guests alike - as the procession brought the curtain up on a fabulous four days.
Every town across the country had its diamond day, of course, but nowhere does it better than Eastbourne. With the carnival for starters, the parties for main course and the jubilee concert and fireworks display on the Western Lawns for dessert, we dined out in style. The weather had tried to spoil things but - by that time - most revellers didn’t care a jot. Britishness had got the better of us all!
So the scene is set for Eastbourne’s summer season. Soon the tennis, then the Olympics and the torch relay, and then Airbourne. All big events that should deliver a boost to local business.
All evidence, as Nick Clegg was told when he visited Eastbourne on Wednesday, that the town is fighting hard to make the most of a wretched economy.
The deputy prime minister also heard how the threat to the DGH was occupying much of the town’s mind, and how consultants had now come out against the strategy.
The hospital Trust’s meeting on Wednesday was enough to put a dampener on any party. But the consultants’ late letter must have dropped on them like a lead balloon.