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Daytrippers quit concrete city; HEATWAVE ROUND-UP.

Byline: SAMANTHA CLARKE

THE sizzling summer is sending holidaymakers from Coventry and Warwickshire back to the daytrip trends of 20 years ago.

The soaring temperatures have led to a dramatic increase in the number of people escaping to the coast or inland attractions for the day, on top of their usual week or fortnight away.

Coventry firm Harry Shaw City Cruiser has recorded a 20 per cent rise in daytrip bookings.

Bosses say that, by the end of the summer, the company will have taken about 18,000 people away for the day.

Among the most popular resorts are Torquay, Great Yarmouth and Blackpool, while favourite inland attractions include Althorp Hall, Alton Towers and the Trafford Centre in Manchester.

Robert Shaw, the company's managing director, said the rise in daytrips reflected the trends of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

He said: "It used to be common practice for people to take their family holiday for a week or a fortnight and then supplement that with two or three daytrips during the summer months.

"But the idea has fallen away over the past 15 years.

"This year, however, it seems to have come back into fashion and that is owed, largely, to the weather.

"We have seen lots of holidaymakers coming in to book daytrips when they are already taking their summer break with us.

"Others are choosing to go to the seaside for the day in the UK during the summer because the weather is so nice and then opting for one of our holidays to Spain in September or October."

Mr Shaw added: "The weather has been great for the whole country.

"Tourism has been through a very difficult period as an industry, but this summer has been a real pick-me-up."

Lager sales put thirst things first

SALES of lager have been booming in the city - but, so far, there are no fears of a shortage.

Nationally, emergency supplies of lager have been shipped in from abroad because of this summer's heatwave.

Brewing giant Carlsberg-Tetley, based in Northampton, said the soaring temperatures in the past two months had led to a 40 per cent rise in sales across the country, as drinkers sought to quench their thirst.

Pubs and bars in Coventry have also reported an increase in sales as the hot weather took hold.

Ian Robinson, bar manager at the Orange House, Skydome, Coventry, said: "We've definitely sold more and I put it down to the hot weather.

"We expected to sell more lagers so we were prepared for that but the increase in sales of bitters and Guinness took us by surprise and we did have a shortage over the weekend.

"We sold 30 gallons more of Guinness alone and, overall, I think our sales increased by about 30 per cent."

Leigh Stratton, barman at the Craven Arms, Woodway Lane, Coventry, said: "We haven't had any shortages but we have been selling more lager.

"People have been coming in more because of the heat and we've been a lot busier."

Workers at Carlsberg-Tetley's Northampton plant struggled to cope with demand and called for extra supplies and lager vats from the firm's head office in Denmark.

Company spokeswoman Donna Cresswell said the demand was "unprecendented".

She said: "We've seen a huge increase in the amount of lager sold during the heatwave.

"Everybody has been working flat out to meet demand but we've also had to call over to Copenhagenfor extra supplies."

Youngsters soak up the summer fun

CHILDREN have been enjoying a splashing good time to beat the heat in Coventry.

Youngsters at the Chace Wraparound, a childcare facility organised by Coventry City Council, enjoyed playing with water to help them cool off.

The Chace Wraparound is based at Chace Primary School, Robin Hood Road, Willenhall, and has been running for seven years.

Nursery officer Dot Eggison said: "We're registered to look after 24 children and we cover all of the holidays. We provide childcare for children aged between three and 11 with working parents, those returning to work and going back to college. And as you can tell, they really enjoy it!

"When the weather is this hot, they don't go outside for very long - only about 15 minutes in the afternoon sun - and we make sure they have hats and protective lotion. We do lots of activities with the children, including games to encourage sharing and play."

Details are available from Catherine Dumbleton on 024 7683 1595.

Flowers still a priority

GARDENING crews sent out by city centre management company CV One have been kept busy watering plants in the unusually high heat.

The Britain in Bloom judging has already taken place.

The results of Europe's biggest horticultural campaign will be announced in an awards ceremony at Coventry Cathedral on August 29. A further range of city centre floral displays will be planted in readiness for the event.

Some flowers, such as geraniums, have fared better than others in the heat while some have been affected a lot more, like busy Lizzies.

Roger Bache, operations manager at CV One, said: "The judging for the contest may be over but we still want the flowers to look good for the people of Coventry."

Long, hot summer gets more comfy

PEOPLE in Coventry are set for another fine weekend.

Met office forecaster Andy Yeatman predicted another dry, sunny weekend in Coventry and Warwickshire.

He said: "It should be another good weekend with temperatures of about 25C (77F). It's not as hot as it has been over the past week but there's still lots of dry, sunny weather.

"It will be a little more cloudy than last weekend and temperatures have dropped but it's certainly a lot more comfortable.

"Temperatures are normally about 22C (72F) at this time of year. That is what is expected so it's still a fair bit above average.

"The good news is that we're not expecting any rain this weekend, but there are possible showers next week when the temperature will drop a bit more."

Fridges and fans strain power firms

ELECTRICITY demand has been unusually high for the time of year, putting a strain on power stations across the country.

Coventry-based electricity provider Powergen says electricity usage normally drops with warm weather because people spend less time indoors and don't use central heating.

However, the recent extreme heat has resulted in power consumption rising, as homes and businesses turn up their fridges, freezers, fans and air conditioning.

The problem is made worse because buying electricity from other countries in Europe isn't an option - they are facing a similar problem.

Janet Morrow, for Powergen, says the problem is that electricity companies take power stations offline for routine maintenance as demand traditionally falls this time of year.

She said: "It's an industry-wide problem and we're all working together to make sure there are no problems for our customers."

CAPTION(S):

LIFE'S A BEACH: Sizzling temperatures have seen sun-lovers flock to seaside resorts; EXHILARATING: City centre worker Dave Peacock, 37, embraces the heat - and the cool of the fountain - in Coventry. Pictures: JAMES BALFOUR.; BUSY: Ian Robinson, bar manager at the Orange House, said the hot weather had seen sales of both lager and bitter soar. Picture: ROBIN BIDGOOD; SPLASHING TIME: Youngsters enjoy the fun and frolics as part of the Chase Wraparound project which enables working parents to leave their children to play in safety at Chase Primary School. Picture: RICHARD NELMES
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Aug 15, 2003
Words:1238
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