Why I Love Suffolk: Brad Jones
- Credit: Archant
How to pick a ‘favourite’ memory from 48 years of being a Suffolk boy? That’s impossible, so let me pick a couple of random moments that will stick with me forever.
Firstly, walking to Copleston High School the morning after the Great Storm of 1987 (I was 13), trying to avoid the downed electricity lines which were thrashing and sparking all over Britannia Road. School was closed - my mum and dad didn’t know this. But I love the fact they still sent me on a day like that. A life lesson: just get on with it if you can - and don’t touch live electricity cables.
Secondly, Ipswich Town’s play-off win in 2000 was unforgettable, as were the celebrations afterwards when we got back from Wembley. The whole town was euphoric, people out in the streets, drivers sounding their horns. It was a magical, unifying moment for the town.
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Is it too predictable to say Ipswich Town's stadium? My mum first started taking me to Portman Road in 1980. I was only seven, so had to stand on a milkcrate in Churchman's so I could see the action. My dad was often at the football too - but as a policeman. We once saw him wrestling with a fan outside the ground as he tried to arrest him. He managed a wave and smile in the midst of this tussle - a great memory.
I was brought up on a footballing diet of Beattie, Muhren, Thijssen, Wark, Mariner, Mills, Butcher, Burley etc. I didn't know how lucky I was - I do now. There have been many highs and lows since.
- 1 Teen among two arrested in armed police incident
- 2 Jail for man who threatened to 'do a Raoul Moat' and kill police
- 3 Couple fear they will never sell home after A12 upgrade outside
- 4 Channel 4's Changing Rooms comes to Bury St Edmunds tonight
- 5 The stats which put Bonne top of the League One charts and firmly on course for a very rare Ipswich Town milestone
- 6 Villagers call to stop 'hazardous' 5-week road closure with huge diversions
- 7 Suffolk coast named one of top UK destinations for autumn
- 8 Things to do in Suffolk this weekend with friends and family
- 9 'We have formed a successful partnership' - Morsy on his Evans reunion
- 10 Burgers, Wings and Ribs comes to Stowmarket
I’m back as a season ticket holder this year, along with my five-year-old son getting his first experience of being a Town fan. He'll thank me one day, I think. Despite the shaky start to the season, we have loved every second. The feelgood factor is back at Portman Road.
Felixstowe all the way. It's where we used to go on family days out as kids - a day at the beach, the penny pushers in the amusements, fish and chips on way home - and now it's where our kids love to go the most.
It's been so good seeing all the investment there over recent years - the pier, Spa Pavilion, Beach Street etc - because for too long it's lived in the shadow of Aldeburgh and Southwold on the Costa del Suffolk. I love those places too, but Felixstowe has its own special charm and character for us.
Town/City or Village
I have to say Ipswich. It's been my home for most of my life, it’s where family and friends are. Like most places it's got its challenges, but it's a great town with so much going for it.
I do get sick of the negativity towards it. Robust and fair-minded criticism is healthy, but so much strays beyond that on social media.
Just look at the waterfront on a summer's day - it is stunning. The parks are beautiful. The historic buildings in the town centre also a little unappreciated.
Sometimes it feels like Ipswich needs a bit more self-confidence. In August 2019 - Ed Sheeran's homecoming gigs at Chantry and the Elmer art trail - Ipswich really showed what it is capable of. Brilliant events, brilliantly organised. The town was buzzing. We can do great things here.
Ipswich is my home, and I'm proud of that.
Place to eat
The Unruly Pig is always a treat (and I loved their cook-at-home stuff during lockdown, I could pretend to be a chef for the night). But I do love a good coffee shop lunch too - and we have lots of good cafes. Honey + Harvey and Applaud to name two of the best.
I have two children, aged five and seven. These are not ‘peak’ pub times for me!
So it’s hard to pinpoint a favourite Suffolk pub, because it’s all about the moment and company anyway. But I do like the Cherry Tree in Woodbridge, Isaac's in Ipswich has a great buzz, and The Dove in Ipswich always has good beer and good atmosphere. I also had a great night hosting the quiz at the King’s Head in Orford a few years ago - a fantastic community pub in a lovely village.
Attraction or day out
A trip to the coast is always good for the soul. Most days out are now focussed around the kids. There are lots of great places to visit - Hollow Trees Farm, Easton Farm Park etc. But a trip to the beach, even outside the summer months, always takes some beating.
The Suffolk Show. I'm usually there in a work capacity, and get to catch up with so many friends and contacts. I can't wait for the show to return in 2022 after two years off due to the pandemic. It's just great fun, and makes you feel proud to live in Suffolk.
I do have some kind of allergic reaction whenever I am near livestock though, which is a little embarrassing. I spend much of the show sneezing - but still love it.
I'm a bit food obsessed, so will go with Suffolk Food Hall. An ideal Saturday morning is a long run, followed by a trip to the food hall to undo all the good work. The deli counter at the food hall is one of my favourite places to visit in Suffolk.
Adnams beer - Ghost Ship to be precise. Do I really need to say any more?