THE tills were jangling on Southend seafront over the bank holiday weekend as huge crowds turned out to bask in the sunshine.

Traffic almost came to a standstill along the A127 around noon, while people queued outside the Seaway car park to wait for a space in the early afternoon.

The numbers of people heading to the town matched the recent Shakedown rally.

Paul Thompson, who runs Pebbles One Cafe in Marine Parade, said: “It’s been very busy.

Everyone seems to have come out today.

“The sun shines and Southend is packed. I think it’s probably as busy as it was for the Shakedown two weeks ago. It’s been a good day all round.”

Colin Gray, director of Rossi Ice Cream, which supplies the seafront outlets, said: “It’s terrific.

It’s great to see so many people in town.

“We’ve extended our factory opening hours until 2pm, from noon, due to the demand. Some of our customers have even taken deliveries twice because they didn’t realise how good the weather was going to be.”

Paul van Looy, owner of VL’s fish and chip shop near Southend Pier, said: “It’s been a very busy weekend and it’s the start of May.

There’s a long summer ahead of us, so let’s hope it continues.”

There were huge queues at seafront attractions like Adventure Island, on Western Esplanade.

On Sunday, England and Tottenham right back Kyle Walker was in town. The 23-yearold tweeted yesterday to Adventure Island: “Had a great day with the family yesterday.

Thanks for the tickets, we’ll be back soon.”

But it wasn’t as good elsewhere.

East Beach in Shoebury remained closed due to munitions having been found there.

A few people turned out to sunbathe or enjoy the greensward close to the beach, but traders were not happy that most people stayed away.

Harish Panchal who runs Station News, in High Street, said: “It’s been very quiet. I hope they do what they need to do there as quickly as possible so people can enjoy the beach again.”