Ipswich was sensationally named as the best place to live in the UK – before someone realised the awards presenter had been given the wrong envelope.
Guests at a lavish ceremony gasped in shock when Suffolk’s dreary and crime-ridden county town beat idyllic places like the Isle of Wight and Bournemouth to the coveted title.
But just as the town’s mayor was about to give his tearful acceptance speech, organisers discovered the ‘winning’ envelope was actually for the Most Miserable Town Award.
Instead, Bebbington on the Wirral was named top spot – and just to add insult to injury, north-west Norwich bagged second.
The error is by far the most embarrassing gaffe ever during the long and glamorous history of the Most Desirable Places to Live in the UK awards, conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) on behalf of Royal Mail.
Ipswich has changed from a once-proud industrial town with a great town centre shopping experience into a grey, downmarket urbanisation where crime is rising and the general malaise has even hit the town’s once-proud football club.
However, anyone with an ounce of local knowledge will tell you this is the postcode for the well-heeled and generally well-off areas of Rushmere St Andrew, Martlesham Heath and Kesgrave – far removed from the grim reality of living in Ipswich.
An insider at Ipswich Borough Council said: “We thought it was odd when the presenter opened the envelope and named us as the winner. We were delighted, of course, but then it was cruelly taken away from us.
“It was all rather humiliating, but congratulations to Bebbington on the Wirral.”