The first ever recipients of a new honour recognising Suffolk’s most outstanding people have been named.

East Anglian Daily Times: Richard Martineau, from Walsham-le-Willows, is also one of the first recipients of the Suffolk Medal Picture: ARCHANTRichard Martineau, from Walsham-le-Willows, is also one of the first recipients of the Suffolk Medal Picture: ARCHANT

The Suffolk Medal was unveiled in March 2019 to reward and champion people who have made a lasting difference to the county.

Today, we can reveal Canon Sally Fogden MBE, former East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star editor Terry Hunt, and lifelong social activist Richard Martineau are the first winners of the award.

What is the Suffolk Medal?

Designed by Suffolk artist Maggi Hambling and masterminded by 2018-19 High Sheriff George Vestey, the Suffolk Medal is thought to be the first of its kind in the country.

Administered by the Suffolk Community Foundation, the award's purpose is to recognise, reward and champion "exceptional" contributions of people living in Suffolk - those who have made a fundamental, measurable and lasting difference to people's lives.

Key elements for consideration include a clear demonstration of outstanding volunteering, either as a single feat, an accumulation of personal impact over a period of time, or a lifetime of selfless service.

Those honoured each year with the Suffolk Medal will have their names recorded and stories told at the new Suffolk Records Office, The Hold, at Ipswich Waterfront.

East Anglian Daily Times: Terry was editor of the EADT for more than 20 years Picture: ARCHANTTerry was editor of the EADT for more than 20 years Picture: ARCHANT (Image: Archant)

The 2019 medals will be presented on Thursday, June 20, at the Museum of East Anglian Life.

Meet this year's winners

Winners were decided on by a panel chaired by the Lord Lieutenant, and including Suffolk's High Sheriff, the Police and Crime Commissioner and the CEOs of Suffolk County Council, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, Suffolk Community Foundation and Community Action Suffolk.

Judges said this year's recipients have made their contribution to Suffolk in a variety of ways - including outstanding leadership, ambassadorship, volunteering and philanthropy.

"Our first three recipients are truly great Suffolk people that remain unfailing in their dedication in supporting Suffolk to meet many of its most difficult challenges, while also making the most of its opportunities to prosper," they added.

Sally Fogden MBE

Canon Sally Fogden was a member of the first group of women to be ordained in the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich in 1994.

She is founder and chair of the Suffolk branch of the Farming Community Network.

Sally was the driving force behind the Addington Fund - which helped to alleviate problems for Suffolk pig farmers during the outbreak of classical swine fever in 2000 and rural communities during the foot and mouth epidemic in 2001, for which she received an MBE.

As founder of the Rural Coffee Caravan, she has helped to alleviate rural loneliness and isolation, and played a key role in launching the Meet-up Mondays initiative.

Judging panel members said: "Sally has immense personal compassion for everyone she meets, is gentle and humorous, yet focused and determined in supporting the vulnerable - truly a shining light to the ideal of selfless giving back.

"She is such a positive, uplifting and genuine person who is always ready to embrace new opportunities to help others."

How did she react to the news?

She said: "I am very honoured and also very surprised.

"I keep thinking of all the amazing people who could have been given this award and am still shocked I have been chosen.

"I feel this honour is very much for the charities with which I have worked."

Terry Hunt

Terry was editor of the East Anglian Daily Times for more than 20 years until he retired in September 2017.

He was born and educated in Suffolk, and alongside his support for local business, sport, education and tourism, Terry has a particular interest in rural life and fully embraced his role as president of the Suffolk Agricultural Association in 2015.

"As chair of Ipswich Vision, Terry is a long-standing champion for the regeneration of our county town, Ipswich and its important role as the key driver of a healthy Suffolk economy," the judges' citation stated.

"Terry has been a huge supporter of Suffolk's voluntary sector, and his endorsement and hands-on editorial support for their Suffolk Surviving Winter appeal has seen it consistently lead the UK in the amounts it has raised to support older vulnerable people during the winter months.

"Many other local charitable initiatives simply would not have delivered all that they have without his passionate and consistent editorial."

Since Terry's retirement, he has become a volunteer for more than a dozen organisations - he is currently a trustee of Inspire Suffolk, Headway Suffolk and St Elizabeth Hospice.

He is also chair of the development board at the Museum of East Anglian Life.

The judges added: "One of Terry's greatest attributes is the way he has used his own personal challenges and those of his family to increase his own understanding and to take action on behalf of others.

"His approach has always been to roll up his sleeves and this has proved to be an inspiration and a catalyst for positive change to local lives across the county."

How did he react to the news?

Terry spoke of his surprise at being honoured in this way.

He said: "I am delighted, and very surprised, to be one of the first recipients of the new Suffolk Medal.

"To be honoured in this way by my home county means a huge amount to me. I was enormously privileged to be the editor of the EADT for more than 20 years, and since retirement I have been lucky to work with some brilliant Suffolk organisations.

"I would like to thank the Lord Lieutenant and the other members of the nominations panel, all the people who have helped me through the years, and especially my family for their love and support - and for putting up with me!"

Richard Martineau

Lifelong social activist Richard is being honoured for his contribution to the Walsham-le-Willows community and Suffolk as a whole.

He has committed to protecting the history and character of the village by donating land and buildings to it.

His great grandfather built seven blocks of cottages in the village, including sheltered housing for the elderly.

In 2011 Richard decided to donate four of the blocks in the centre of the village, 12 cottages in total, to the Suffolk Community Foundation so they and the gardens around them would remain unspoilt for future generations.

Surplus rent will fund good causes in Suffolk.

Richard retired early to devote his time to the voluntary sector - and on his farm, he has created new woods, planted hedgerows on an abandoned airfield and opened as network of permissive footpaths across most of his land so walkers can enjoy the countryside.

He has also donated land to the village sports club which has allowed it to expand and install an all-weather pitch.

Richard also helped the club adapt to changes in the charity laws so that it owns its own grand and has achieved full charitable status.

The judges said: "Richard has made an enormous lifelong contribution to local community of Walsham-le-Willows and the county of Suffolk as a whole.

"In the history of the Suffolk Community Foundation, his support has been crucial and his positive influence and philanthropic support for Suffolk causes will be felt for hundreds of years to come."

How did he react to the news?

"I am very surprised, I didn't expect this at all. I feel there are so many people who deserve this more than me, there are so many brilliant people working in the voluntary sector in Suffolk.

"I have been very lucky in my life and I was inspired to help after spending a few years on what was then known as the lottery board, I had an insight into the pockets of poverty in Suffolk.

"We usually do relatively well in government statistics and it can look like a very wealthy county.

"However there are people who are really suffering and it's for those people that I decided to do what I did.

"The Suffolk Community Foundation have been excellent and I feel so privileged to be honoured in this way."

The judging panel meets at least once a year.

Nominations for future medals can be made via the Suffolk Medal website.