Meet 100 of Suffolk’s most inspirational women
- Credit: Archant
This is a list that Suffolk should be proud of - 100 women who are positive role models for future generations, women who have achieved success in a diverse range of fields from business, the arts, sport and education to the third sector. The list was put together by a panel of judges this summer after we asked readers for their nominations.
Jenna Ackerley, Events Under Canvas: A Felixstowe girl originally, 38-year-old Jenna now lives in East Bergholt with her husband and two young children, operating her business, Events Under Canvas, from Capel St Mary. While travelling in her 20s, Jenna began a recruitment business in Spain which she sold upon moving back to Suffolk. This, she says, gave her an interest in and passion for business, and she has since undertaken a degree in leadership and management, adding to her experience in sales, customer service and management. “The idea for Events Under Canvas came after attending my cousin’s tipi wedding in 2013,” she says. “Research revealed that no one was offering tipis in this region, and I decided to take the plunge to start a tipi hire business for weddings, parties and events. “Over the past five years Events Under Canvas has grown to a £1M turnover business undertaking over 200 events each year and employing 30 people in the busy summer months. We supply tipis and sailcloth tents as marquee alternatives, as well as all the furniture, lighting and interiors to go in them. We also supply glamping tents for guest accommodation and offer event planning services. “I feel very lucky to work with a brilliant bunch of people who take real pride in their work, and with customers who are planning exciting and spectacular parties and events.”
Anne Beckett-Allen, Rosedale Funeral Home: Anne joined the funeral profession at the age of 16 and is now one of the most highly qualified funeral directors in the country. She formed Rosedale Funeral Home in Diss in 2004 which has now expanded to six branches. Anne is a mental health first aid instructor with Mental Health First Aid England and also a registered tutor with the National Association of Funeral Directors, investing a lot of her time tutoring students for the Diploma in Funeral Directing and delivering talks to raise awareness around mental health issues and encouraging conversations around death and dying. Anne is also a VQ Assessor and a lecturer for the Foundation Degree in Funeral Services at Bath University. In her spare time she completes endurance events such as the Bolton Ironman, 5km swims, and for Rosedale’s 10th anniversary, she completed 10 marathons in 10 weeks, helping Rosedale Funeral Home towards its target of raising £10,000 for charity. Anne also regularly swims, weather permitting, in her swimming pond which she has had built in her garden and enjoys walking her dog and running in the beautiful Suffolk countryside. Charities close to Anne’s heart are Help for Heroes, The East Anglian Air Ambulance, Clinks Care Farm and EACH, all of whom the family has fundraised for, as well as Nelsons Journey of which Anne is a trustee and volunteer. Anne has lived in East Anglia all her life and loves Suffolk’s community spirit, generosity and desire to work together to bring about change.
Katie Bannister, Sizewell B: Katie studied a Masters in Chemical Engineering with Industrial Experience at Manchester University, went on to teach Maths and Physics in Secondary School for two years before joining EDF Energy via their graduate scheme. Katie joined the nuclear industry following work experience with EDF Energy’s Nuclear New Build business. Katie is now a qualified Reactor Operator at Sizewell B nuclear power station. Katie has also been a STEM Ambassador for five years, taking part in workshops, national conferences and working with children of all ages to discuss the opportunities in STEM subjects and has taken on media interviews to inspire and educate about the nuclear industry.
Jane Basham, Social Justice Campaigner: Jane says she cares deeply about social injustice and has always campaigned for a fairer, more equal society. “A friend reminded me recently of the banners I’d made for us to campaign outside the Canadian Embassy against the seal pup cull in Canada when we were 13. Always an activist,” she says. “From a working class background, I had a career in retail management and human resources, including as the HR manager for at Suffolk Police at the time when the Stephen Lawrence Report was published and when part-time working was finally introduced. “My career highlight is leading the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality to becoming the ‘go-to’ leading civil rights charity in Suffolk. I know that our work changed people’s lives and raised awareness of the racism and other discrimination that blights lives in Suffolk. “I’ve been a police and crime commissioner and Parliamentary candidate. It doesn’t matter that I haven’t won, although my party might disagree! I took the opportunity to use my candidacy to offer voters real choice, to challenge the patriarchy, encourage women to get involved and to do meaningful case work. “The sudden death of my partner last year changed my life forever. In sharing my experience of grief on social media I have been overwhelmed at the messages from people who tell me it inspires them. Between us, my partner and I have four daughters and eight grandchildren- time with them all and close friends is very precious. I am a Crisis at Christmas volunteer and a Trustee of Stopwatch. “The one thing I have learnt is to be courageous and always speak truth to power, however uncomfortable that may be.”
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Dayle Bayliss, Dayle Bayliss Associates LLP: “As a chartered surveyor, seven years ago Dayle’s desire to deliver construction services from a different perspective led her to found Dayle Bayliss Associates LLP - a surveying, design and project management consultancy. This gave Dayle the freedom to exercise her collaborative approach to construction projects, as well as tackle the challenges of skills and diversity in construction. Dayle has won national and local business awards, including East Anglian Daily Times’ Young Business Person of the Year 2012 and the East of England RICS Regeneration Award 2015, and she holds highly commended accolades for her work. Not content with running a successful practice, Dayle is passionate about breaking down myths and barriers that exist around construction careers. This has led to her work on the NALEP Construction Sector Skills Plan, and taking the chair position at the 2017 Suffolk Skills Show. She’s a member of the NALEP Skills Board and the skills lead for the construction sector group, Building Growth. Her experience culminated in Dayle being appointed as chair to the Department for Education Employer Advisory Panel (Construction – Design, Surveying and Planning board) the task group set up for the development of the new T-Levels. Dayle is also enthusiastic about enterprise, new business and innovation in Suffolk. Her appetite to support entrepreneurship has led her to become vice chair on the board for Menta, the Suffolk Enterprise Agency. A Fellow member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Dayle is a member of the governing council and vice chair on the board of trustees of Lionheart, the Benevolent Fund for RICS members. Both posts enable Dayle to make rewarding contributions to the RICS – especially helping colleagues who experience financial, social or wellbeing difficulties. Finally, Dayle still finds time to run her food business, Brace and Hook, which focuses on game and artisan food demonstrations.
Shayra Begum, Bangladeshi Support Centre, Ipswich: Shayra, manager of Ipswich’s Bangladeshi Support Centre, came to England in 1975, aged six, from Bangladesh with her mother to join her father who had settled in Ipswich. Shayra, now mother to four grown-up children herself, has always lived in the town and says nowhere else compares. By the age of seven or eight she says she was already involved in helping the Bangladeshi community by interpreting at GP surgeries, hospitals, Inland Revenue, and the Benefits Office as only a handful spoke English at the time. Shayra says she has had various roles supporting the local Bangladeshi community and she has worked for the BSC since 2004 in various roles. BSC is a voluntary organisation supporting people of around 40 different nationalities. “I have worked on various projects over the years,” Shayra says, “as well as a general adviser providing advice, support and guidance on a whole range of issues including domestic violence issues, benefits, housing, and Immigration. I also deliver various training such as in cultural awareness to service providers.“I enjoy the challenges of event management and manage events for BSC such as the Suffolk Pita Festival and the One Big Multicultural Festival that brings in thousands of people from Suffolk and beyond to enjoy music and food from around the world, with an aim to create a better understanding between the diverse communities of Suffolk. “I am a trustee for the Disabled Advice Bureau and also volunteer for the Ipswich and Suffolk Muslim Council where I help to put on events to create better understanding of the Muslim faith and help out at its monthly Feed the Homeless project.”
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Nicola Beach, Suffolk County Council: Nicola Beach is chief executive of Suffolk County Council and has been in post since May 2018. Before joining Suffolk Nicola was executive director for infrastructure and environment at Essex County Council, where she developed an ambitious agenda for sustainable growth and environmental services, to meet the needs of a growing county. Nicola’s previous roles include chief executive of Braintree District Council, a position she held from January 2013 to July 2017, leading an innovative investment and improvement programme to deliver financial stability for the council. Nicola started her career in recycling, waste and environmental management, but over her 24 years in local government has worked in many senior roles in Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex and now Suffolk. Nicola is also the joint chairman of the East of England Branch of Solace (society of local authority chief executives). Nicola is a strong advocate of women’s groups and diversity in the workplace, mentoring others on an informal basis and continuing to support the women’s springboard programme in Essex. Nicola regularly gives leadership talks to a range of organisations to share her experience of leadership in the increasingly unpredictable and complex public sector. Nicola enjoys working with great colleagues to try and do the best for the people of Suffolk. Trust, authenticity, honesty, energy and passion for the job are her watch words. Nicola has lived in Suffolk for over twenty years and is enjoying living and now working in this wonderful county. Nicola enjoys spending her weekends outside whatever the weather. Her favourite things to do are cycling, bird watching at Minsmere and gardening with the help (or hindrance) of her hens!
Adele Bellis, campaigner: Adele, from Lowestoft, was the victim of a vicious attack in 2014 as Jason Harrison (sentenced to life for the crime) threw sulphuric acid at her on the orders of her ex-boyfriend Anthony Riley (serving a 13-year sentence). Since the attack and throughout her long recovery, Adele, who has to visit hospital regularly for laser treatment on her scar tissue, has been a strong voice and campaigner for victims of acid attacks and believes there needs to be tougher, more consistent sentencing for perpetrators. “Anyone who throws acid should get a life sentence. I think that would cause a decrease in attacks,” she said. “We are scarred for life, they should be in prison for life.”
Professor Emma Bond, University of Suffolk: Emma Bond is the director of research at the University of Suffolk and has developed her career in higher education with over 15 years of undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and research expertise with global impact. Her pioneering research has centered on working with hard-to-reach and marginalised groups and developing innovative methods which foster inclusion and participation. Her research has received international and national acclaim and is frequently cited in the national press. Emma is passionate about Suffolk and with university colleagues has led local research and evaluation initiatives on youth unemployment, youth offending, childhood sexual abuse and educational achievement. Emma’s work has been highly influential in shaping online safeguarding locally as a member of the e-safety strategy group, and nationally through UKCCIS, the Marie Collins Foundation, BT and the APPG for Young People and Social Media.
Jo Carrick, Red Rose Chain: Jo Carrick, playwright, actress, theatre director, film-maker, is the driving force behind community theatre company Red Rose Chain. Based at Gippeswyk Hall, Jo’s company manager The Avenue Theatre and produce the annual Theatre in the Forest performances, originally at Rendlesham but now at Jimmy’s Farm. Red Rose Chain started by offering acting workshops and theatre experience for young people and has developed an extensive range of social and community theatre programmes as well as a number of films which tackled subjects as diverse as teenagers coming out to recovering from domestic violence to exploring the Rendlesham UFO mystery. In addition to community theatre Jo is also an accomplished playwright with a special love of putting the local, human face onto national historical events. Plays like Fallen In Love looked at the relationship between Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and her brother George, while Put Out The Lights uncovered the story of Alice Driver, the young Grundisburgh woman, who was burnt at the stake on Ipswich Cornhill for her beliefs during the reign of Queen Mary. Jo also writes and directs an alternative, non-panto Christmas show each year. The daughter of Antony Carrick, who played the press secretary in Yes Minister, and was artistic director of Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch, Jo moved to Suffolk at the age of seven and lived at Pin Mill, before moving into Ipswich “right next to Christchurch Park” and then to Tuddenham in her 20s. Today she calls Blythburgh home.
Sally Chicken, East of England Co-op: Sally was re-elected as director and president of the East of England Retail Co-operative Society in May 2018 after taking a year away to help start the Shotley Pier project. She is also the vice-chairman of the newly formed Shotley Heritage Charitable Community Benefit Society Ltd. “We succeeded in crowdfunding to buy Shotley Pier in February 2018 with more than 500 community investors, and I’m involved in the next stage of fundraising to start pier renovations for local people and visitors to enjoy the amazing views and sunsets across the River Stour. “My hobby for the last 25 years has been to volunteer at credit unions, and I am a volunteer director at two credit unions in Suffolk: Eastern Savings and Loans Credit Union Ltd in Ipswich, and Rainbow Saver Anglia Credit Union Ltd in Lowestoft. These credit unions aim to offer community banking services to people who cannot get a bank account, as well as fair loans and savings accounts to people from all walks of life. “I have lived in Europe, America and Asia, most recently in India, with my husband Steve and two daughters who are now grown up. Shotley Peninsula has become our forever home, with plenty of walking and enjoying the views of the stunning countryside and the waterfront. I am lucky that four generations of our family live in the same street so I get to be a hands-on Nana on a daily basis too,” Sally said.
Erika Clegg, Spring: When Erika launched the award-winning strategic communications agency Spring in 2006, she pledged to deliver substantial community benefit. The agency, whose clients include Anglian Water, EDF Energy and Suffolk County Council, donates 10% of its turnover to Suffolk charities, and Erika engages consistently with regional growth. In this capacity, her involvement with rural needs initiative, Flourish, has included branding and consultancy for community outreach, champion engagement and project strategy, and her brand vision for Ipswich has underpinned high level civic engagement with potential development partners. A campaign donated by Spring to AGE UK allowed the charity to support around 250 more clients. Erika advises a range of fledgling businesses, community benefit organisations and charities on their positioning, audience and business growth pro bono. Spring’s commission to deliver the east’s cultural tourism project, LookSideways-East, has seen the sector grow by 15%, and clients report a 35:1 return on their spend. Last year Erika launched a nationwide community engagement network with its headquarters firmly and proudly remaining in Suffolk.
Dani Church, Ferrywoman: Dani is the fifth generation of her family to have responsibility for rowing the ferryboats across the tide from Walberswick to Southwold. While her father insisted she go to university and apply for ‘real’ jobs, Dani says she always knew being part of the family business was her destiny. And she says it still makes her smile when she hears comments that it should be a man at the oars. “It’s very common when I’m rowing,” she said. “I feel proud that I can do it. I’m not strong but I can row that boat across in any tide. It’s not about brute strength, it’s about technique. Dad taught me how to do it properly.” Dani, who was a finalist in Channel 4’s Shed of the Year with Walberswick Ferry Hut, combines five shifts a week with running her business at home and says she has no desire to retire in the future. “It’s my life,” she said.
Hannah Huntley and Beth Cook, Applaud Coffee: Hannah Huntly studied illustration at Cambridge School of Art. Following this she worked as a freelance illustrator for five years. Beth Cook studied a National Diploma in Business at Suffolk College, going on to work in estate agency for Fine & Country in Woodbridge. In 2012 after they both attended life coaching sessions. From this the two sisters decided to open Applaud Coffee, a speciality coffee shop on St Peters St Ipswich. They won the ‘Best Coffee / tearoom’ in the EADT food and drink awards in 2016 and 2018. Earlier this year Hannah and Beth opened their second coffee shop, this time in Crown House, an office building in the centre of Ipswich. Their combined hobbies and interests are drawing, baking and cooking, visiting local eateries and walking along the coast and countryside. “We think that Suffolk has lots to offer,” the young businesswomen said. “We enjoy visiting places like Ipswich Waterfront, Christchurch Park, Pin Mill, Woodbridge and Orford. With the great offering from local food producers there are plenty of cafes, bakeries and restaurants to visit!”
Lady Caroline Cranbrook, Rural Campaigner: The Countess of Cranbrook, better known as Caroline, has risen to national prominence over the past 20 years as a tireless campaigner for local food producers, retailers and abattoirs. This role grew out of her concern for small independent food businesses when plans for a major new supermarket were submitted for her local market town of Saxmundham in 1997. Already an active volunteer for the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, she compiled a detailed study of the local food network and how it would be damaged by a large superstore located in the centre of the area. Her survey covered 81 food shops and over 300 local food producers and wholesalers in seven market towns and numerous villages and farms. It uncovered a web of links between them and also highlighted the immense social value of the small shops. Her research successfully challenged the need for the planned superstore and the application was refused by Suffolk Coastal District Council. It also highlighted the vulnerability of similar food webs elsewhere to supermarket competition. Her research was first published by the EADT and later by CPRE (Food Webs and The Real Choice). It was quickly picked up by the national media and became highly influential. As an honorary vice-president of the Suffolk Country Land & Business Association she continues to campaign for the independent food sector and the environment, including the importance of grazing and the local provision of abattoir facilities. Her interest in local food continues as president and co-founder of the Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival. More recently she has been involved in helping set-up the Suffolk Young Producers Group, which is proving to be an innovative and useful way of facilitating networking between some of Suffolk’s most enterprising entrepreneurs. She has received a host of awards, ranging from an OBE for services to the red meat industry, to Fellowship of the Royal Agricultural Association of England.
Helen Crawford, Dancer: Ipswich-born Helen Crawford always wanted to dance. Since she was a little girl Helen dreamed of ballet. A former student of the Linda Shipton School of Ballet, Helen is today a first soloist of the Royal Ballet. As a youngster she danced Clara in the Nutcracker, today her impressive credits include Lise (La Fille mal gardée), Olga (Onegin), Lilac Fairy (The Sleeping Beauty), Fairy Winter (Cinderella), Myrtha (Giselle), Lescaut’s Mistress and Courtesan (Manon), Harlot (Romeo and Juliet), Olga (Anastasia), Vivandière Doll and Rose Fairy (The Nutcracker), Caroline Beaufort (Frankenstein). Helen also trained at The Royal Ballet School and joined the Company in 1999, promoted to First Artist in 2003, Soloist in 2008 and First Soloist in 2009. In an interview with this newspaper in 2016 Helen paid tribute to her sister Sarah: “She’s my absolute rock, supporting me from day one, she has been emotionally supportive from the day I left home until now, always encouraging me and reassuring me when I’ve doubted myself. I know that she’ll always be there for me in any situation and make me feel better.” In the same interview she offered some advice to others: “Grab hold of any opportunities you can get with both hands and absolutely go for it. Put your heart and soul into it because if you love something and have the passion for it, that’s what makes an artist.”
Scarlett Curtis, campaigner: Self-professed feminist Scarlett admits she doesn’t like to sit still when it comes to female issues and awareness. She sees her calling as being out in the real world, making a true difference to the lives of other women, rather than hiding in a board room. Scarlett, the Sunday Times Style contributing editor and curator of Feminists Don’t Wear Pink & Other Lies, co-founded the Pink Protest in 2017 after becoming involved with feminist activism in New York. Pink Protest kick-started the #FreePeriods movement, aiming to stamp out period poverty, which led to a change in the law in 2017, and the group hosts regular events and protests campaigning for the rights of women, and women’s issues.
Andrea Davies, AED Leadership Dynamics: Andrea is an experienced business strategist and executive coaching director with a passion for helping people raise their professional equity and be the best that they can be. Working in Suffolk for over 35 years, Andrea has a proven track record in business transformation, executive development and cultural change. Starting her career from a junior position, she progressed to being one of an elite team of business strategists advising the BT Group chairman on major developments in technology and cultural change at the dawn of the digital era. She designed and orchestrated many programmes that supported BT’s global expansion, including their leadership capability framework to evaluate the personal performance of all company leaders world-wide. Establishing the AED Leadership Dynamics consultancy in 2007, Andrea went on to provide leadership coaching and business development services to commercial enterprises and public sector organisations across the East of England. Andrea’s ambitious but pragmatic approach has led her to support businesses operating in manufacturing, energy, media, health, medical research, shipping, government, education and charity sectors. Her relentless drive stems from the immense satisfaction she gets from seeing her client’s careers accelerate as they achieve their personal ambitions and their businesses transform and grow. Andrea believes business can be a vehicle for change. This passion has led her to playing a part in developing commercial skills in schools and colleges across the region. This includes her time as interim CEO for the Eastern Enterprise Hub, her support for SCC’s Raising the Bar and the design and delivery of entrepreneurial skills development programmes to help students understand how they could pave the way for their future careers.
Helen Davies, Long distance runner: Ipswich-born Helen Davies is a long distance runner who has competed for her country and has a string of running achievements to her name. Davies (nee Decker) ran for Great Britain at the European Championships in Barcelona, in July of 2010, and just three months later was donning another international vest when proudly running for England at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India. She finished 19th in Barcelona in two hours 43mins 00secs, and completed the quickfire marathon double with a 2:49:24 clocking in Delhi, where she finished eighth. Both in 2011 and 2012 Davies improved on her London Marathon time taking her personal best to 2:34:11, but a time just short of the required 2:31:00 for a place at the 2012 London Olympics. After taking a career break to start a family she spoke to the EADT earlier this year: “Last year I tested the water again, in terms of marathon training, after a five-year break,” continued Davies. “It was a bit of a shock to the system. I had kept running 10Ks and half-marathons, but it took time to adapt to marathon training again.
Deanne Dickson, Lowestoft Players: Deanne was born in Happisburgh, Norfolk and trained as an othoptist. Having moved to Jersey, Deanne returned to Lowestoft in 1970 with her two children Miles and Sarah from her first marriage, marrying her present husband Bob in 1975, and welcoming her third child later that year. “Looking for a friendly and creative crowd to mix with on my return I found the Lowestoft Players -then a fledging society of amateurs with only seven shows under their belt since their beginnings in 1968, and with very little in the way of money, resources or stagecraft. Over the next 45 years they developed into the award-winning, technically-adept and confident society that we applaud today. I’ve had the very great pleasure of travelling with them. Such a long-term evolution is an exciting thing to be part of. You find yourself constantly utilising new aids to performance – think how lighting and sound systems have changed! Our theatres themselves have changed beyond recognition , from the leaky old ‘Sparrows Nest’, through the stylish ‘Marina’ (that we had to argue and fight for), to the point where we now own our own small but very capable ‘Players Theatre’. So looking back – now over 160-odd shows, it is inevitable to find oneself credited with some of this ‘evolution’. And it would be strange indeed if one did not take on some of the admin load of the company too. “I find myself getting the credit for umpteen shows as lead actor, 20 as director, four spells as chairman, and one as president which maybe seems ‘inspirational’ but it didn’t seem that way at the time. It just seemed fun! Still does!”
Lia Ditton, Sailor/Adventurer/Artist: Lia Ditton, 38, is an artist and professional sailor. She has sailed the equivalent of eight laps of the globe, gone a month without a shower and raced a yacht over 40 knots. Lia was the only woman to complete the OSTAR 2005 single-handed transatlantic race. The experience formed the basis of her 2006 art installation Absolute Solitude: One Woman, One Boat in which Lia lived on her boat, next to the Tate Britain Gallery, for 28 days – the number of days it took her to sail to America. A licensed captain, she came 2nd in France’s single-handed transatlantic race Le Route du Rhum; captained the boat from the film Waterworld with Kevin Costner; project-managed the largest solar-powered boat in the world and is the 53rd woman to row the Atlantic. Lia’s first book, 50 Water Adventures To Do Before You Die!, was commissioned by Bloomsbury to inspire others. Three months before the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Lia will leave from Japan in an endeavour to row 5,500 miles solo across the Pacific Ocean to San Francisco. To date, 18 people have attempted to row this distance. If Lia succeeds, she will be the first woman and third person in history to do so. Originally from Playford, near Ipswich, Aurelia (known as Lia) attended Bealings Primary School and later Woodbridge School, Northgate Sixth Form, and then University College Suffolk to do an art foundation course before gaining one of only 24 places at Chelsea College of Art in London. Her mother, Elizabeth Ditton, was head teacher of Nacton Primary School before her retirement in 2012.
Fiona Ellis, Survivors in Transition: Fiona came to the UK from Zimbabwe in 2005. She founded Survivors in Transition (SiT) along with Clare Wilson in 2009 to provide support to female survivors of childhood sexual abuse. SiT became a charity in 2011 and now supports men and women who have experienced sexual abuse, violence and exploitation in childhood. Fiona studied Psychology at the University of Cape Town and has always taken an interest in childhood trauma and women’s issues. She specialises in developing group programmes and innovative interventions for adult survivors of sexual abuse. Fiona has worked at SiT full time since 2014, previously running the organisation in her ‘spare time’. SiT has grown from providing support to a handful of women once a week to working with hundreds of male and female survivors annually offering a range of services designed to meet individual need. She is passionately committed to survivors’ rights and improving their access to specialist services and as such sits on a number of national strategic fora. Fiona loves to play cricket, and enjoys living close to the Suffolk coast with partner Clare, children and grandchildren.
Kerry Ellis, Actor/singer: Kerry Ellis was born in Haughley, just outside Stowmarket, and is equipped with one of the best singing voices in the West End. She is one of the few actresses to play Elphaba, the green-skinned witch, in the long-running musical Wicked, in both the West End and on Broadway. She is also one of the longest serving Elphaba’s, playing the role from January 2007 to May 2009. She returned to the part for six months in 2014. Ellis, has described herself as hyperactive as a child, loving swimming, but swiftly developed a love of performing. At the age of nine she graced the stage of the Wolsey Theatre as a Munchkin in a production of The Wizard of Oz. Having attended Stowmarket High School, she won a place at Laine Theatre Arts at 16. During this period she was also gaining professional experience performing at Potters Leisure resort in Pakefield. After graduating from Laine, her big break came when she had to go on as Martine McCutcheon’s understudy in Trevor Nunn’s revival of My Fair Lady. She played multiple performances to great acclaim. One of the people in the audience was Queen guitarist Brian May who was looking for people to star in Queen’s new musical We Will Rock You. He encouraged Kerry to audition, she won the role of Meat and stayed with the show for 18 months. Her professional friendship with May has continued after leaving the show and the pair have released three albums and completed a number of sell-out tours both in Britain and Europe. She now mixes music tours with theatre runs. Other West End hits include playing Nancy in Cameron Mackintosh’s London revival of Oliver! at Drury Lane, performing in the 20th anniversary tour of Rent, sang Memory as Grizabella in Cats at the London Palladium and starred in Murder Ballad at the Arts Theatre, off Leicester Square.
Prema Fairburn, Cardinal Healthcare: Prema Fairburn trained and worked as a paediatric nurse for 13 years. She was promoted to ward sister at the age of 24 which was rare in 1974 especially for someone from an ethnic minority. She came to Suffolk 32 years ago to own and run The Old Rectory Nursing Home in Barham. Prema also gained a BSc in Nursing, a Postgraduate Certificate in Education and a Masters in Education from Cambridge University all in the 1990s. The Old Rectory Nursing Home is now part of the Cardinal Healthcare Group. Prema runs the businesses with sons Adrian, David and Jonathan and has grown the business to include Baylham Care Centre, Primary Homecare and Cardinal Healthcare Properties. She is engaged in new innovative services/partnership with CCGs/Social Services/voluntary sector, resulting in enhanced services which enable people to remain home for as long as possible. Success of the services is 80-95%. During her divorce in 2003 she almost lost everything but worked tirelessly with her sons to rebuild and expand the business. The care businesses are Multi-award winners locally and nationally. Prema is currently President of the Rotary Club of Ipswich and gets very involved in community projects with charities and other needy causes. She is also Chairperson of the Suffolk Association for Independent Care Providers (SAICP) and is working with Suffolk County Council and care providers to ensure delivery of care to vulnerable adults is fair and streamlined. Prema’s biggest highlight was becoming a grandmother recently. At 68, amazing!
Clare Euston, Euston Estates and Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk: Clare was appointed Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk in 2014 - the first female to ever hold the posistion. A long-time supporter of Suffolk, as well as looking after the Euston estate, Clare also dedicates much of her time to local charities - particularly those with links to farming, wildlife, preservation, and conservation. Clare is passionate about preserving the lineage of the Suffolk Punch horse and in 2014 also launched the Suffolk Rural Life Fund with the Suffolk Community Foundation, to help people who live in villages and rural areas access services that are available in towns. Clare has worked her entire life in the voluntary sector and is a past chairman of St Nicholas Hospice Care in Bury St Edmunds and past vice-chairman of Suffolk Community Foundation.
Karen Finch, The Hearing Care Centre Ltd: Born in Ipswich, Karen attended Northgate Grammar School for Girls and Suffolk College before a career in commerce. In 1991 she joined a local hearing company, was promoted to practice manager and company secretary, and then moved to the NHS to develop a new clinical audit department. In 1996 she trained as an audiologist. Within two years, then a single mum of two boys, she had re-mortgaged her home and set up her business, The Hearing Care Centre, in Ipswich from scratch. Since then the business has grown to employ a staff of 29, six years ago moving from its old site in High Street, Ipswich to a new location in Upper Brook Street. This has meant a massive financial investment in providing the latest high-tech facilities in modern tranquil surroundings. In addition to this latest centre Karen has developed 25 outreach centres across Suffolk and Norfolk, and a fully equipped 7m long mobile hearing unit. Karen has won an accolade of awards over the last 15 years including three national titles and for her services to audiology. She is a strong supporter of charity work locally, has raised £50,000 for the Hearing Dogs for Deaf People Charity and is an active Ipswich East Rotarian and an Inner Wheeler. Her current overseas project is a school for hearing impaired children in Rwanda, where in 2019 she has plans to go and fit as many of the children with hearing aids as possible, training a hearing assistant in the maintenance of hearing aids for the future. Karen is an energetic member of the British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists. She has served a two-year term as national president and recently stepped down from chair of the annual congress organising committee, chair of the communications committee and a member of the national council after 13 years. Karen is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Clare Flintoff, ASSET Education: Clare Flintoff is CEO at ASSET Education, a primary multi-academy trust of 10 Suffolk schools. The trust was formed out of a collaboration of three Ipswich primary schools in 2016 when Clare was headteacher at St Helen’s Primary in the centre of Ipswich. The schools saw ‘the writing on the wall’ for local authority maintained schools and decided to make the most of the opportunities and freedoms that becoming academies gave them. Since Clare took up the overall leadership role, the trust has grown and spread its wings to north-east Suffolk and more recently to the Shotley peninsula. Prior to her second headship at St Helen’s, Clare was headteacher at Ixworth Primary, and then worked as a school improvement partner for Suffolk County Council. Her particular interests are in developing school to school support, building strengths-based leadership, focusing on teaching and learning as well as developing staff at all levels. In 2013 St Helen’s became a Lead School for teacher training in the area and Clare sits on the Suffolk and Norfolk School Centred Initial Teacher Training Strategic Board. Clare is a member of the Ipswich Opportunity Area Partnership Board and co-chairs two of the priority areas. Clare grew up in Ipswich, attended Northgate Grammar School for Girls and Suffolk College before starting her first career in business. She believes passionately that Suffolk schools should be leading the way, providing the highest quality educational experiences, so that every child, no matter what their background, can succeed and thrive at school.
Sally Fogden, MBE, Priest: Sally has sometimes been referred to as ‘a pioneer woman priest’. Having initially trained and licensed as deaconess before women priests became legal she was for a while the only one in the diocese! Later she was one of the first three to be ordained deacon and then became one of the first women priests. Somehow, during this time, along with being a wife and mother she has to her slight surprise, found herself helping to set up various charities, beginning with being part of the group that set up the womens’ refuge in Bury St Edmunds with Sheila Wormleighton. Later Sally was part of the group with Richard Norburn that founded St Nicholas Hospice and was for a time their chairman. Sally is always amazed by the hospice when visiting, and continues to help raise funds by being part of the organising group of The Rural Pastimes Country Fair held each year in Euston Park. As the bishop’s agricultural chaplain and chairman of the Farming Community Network for Suffolk it was not surprising that when Swine Fever hit our county Sally was closely involved, and very soon she and Canon Richard Addington had set about organising a fund to help pay for fodder for those who could not move or sell any pigs. The Addington Fund served the county well and when Foot and Mouth disease struck the fund went national, moving to Stoneleigh, making more space on Sally’s kitchen table from where it had been administered. As a result of this Sally was very honoured to receive an MBE and says that when she sees what The Addington Fund does now she feels like a proud mother! Sally, along with FCN members were aware of the growing problem of rural isolation too so the idea of the Rural Coffee Caravan Information Project was born. The charity was set up and a few weeks later they were on the road going to isolated villages with coffee, homemade cakes and information. That is about 16 years ago now and the project has grown. As chairman and founder Sally is very actively involved working closely with the director Ann Osborn, she enjoys being a ‘hands on’ chairman getting to know so many people and working alongside volunteers all of whom have caught the vision of doing something to help people who are alone too much. Sally’s other great delight is as working as a coach with a Riding For The Disabled Group. “The greatest joy of my life,” says Sally, “is to be the wife of Tim, mother of Chris and Mary and mother-in-law to Richard. A family who have always supported me and in their own way help other charities. I am so proud of them all.”
Katy Ford, Foundation East: Katy is chief executive at Foundation East – a not-for-profit organisation that lends money to businesses throughout Suffolk and the eastern area. It offers loans and support to businesses when the banks and other organisations refuse to give them credit. Katy has been with the company since it started in 2004. “My primary role is to lead the strong team to deliver the mission of Foundation East, and to demonstrate through evidence that Foundation East achieves its mission,” said Katy. She continued: “I am responsible for fundraising, building and maintaining relationships with all stakeholders including the society’s members and funders. We are a small team, so I also undertake such functions as HR, nti money laundering, FCA compliance and governance as well as providing a hands-on supporting role in the respective teams as and when the need arises.” Before joining Foundation East Kat worked on the island of Guernsey initially in the hospitality industry running a small hotel and, more recently, in the finance industry as treasury manager for a large insurance company. Katy enjoys both living and working in Suffolk.
Emma Freud OBE, Broadcaster: Broadcaster and script editor Emma Freud has had a long and distinguished career in television and radio. She has presented a variety of television programmes and has been a regular contributor on BBC Radio 4’s Loose Ends. Emma has edited scripts for films and comedy programmes written by her partner Richard Curtis, including Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and The Vicar of Dibley. The couple have a second home in Walberswick and Emma is patron of the Southwold Arts Festival and the Ipswich theatre company Red Rose Chain. She is also on the judging panel for Norwich Film Festival. In 2012 Emma was awarded an OBE for her work with Comic Relief, the charity co-founded by Richard Curtis and Lenny Henry in 1985. She has also been involved with other charities including Make Poverty History and Live 8. Emma is the daughter of politician and broadcaster Sir Clement Freud and actress Jill Freud and the great-granddaughter of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud.
Viv Gillespie, Suffolk New College: Viv Gillespie, who was appointed as Principal of Suffolk New College in the autumn of 2015, has an outstanding track record in further education, having taught and managed in the sector for more than 25 years. Mrs Gillespie, who holds a first class honours degree in Business Studies, was previously Principal at South Worcestershire College, where she led a fast turnaround from an ‘inadequate’ to ‘good’ Ofsted rating in under one year. She was also Principal at Northumberland College, and at City College Plymouth for 6 years, where she oversaw a multi-million pound investment in College facilities, a rapid increase in student success rates and the forging of strong links with employers at home and abroad. At Suffolk New College, she has overseen development of new programmes and investment in STEM facilities. In 2017, the College was graded as Good by Ofsted, moving up from the previous grade of Requires Improvement. Viv is a director on a number of boards, including University of Suffolk, Ipswich Chamber, Ipswich Central, and the Association of Colleges Eastern Region. She is also a member of the Ipswich Opportunity Area Partnership Board, and the Orwell Multi- Academy Trust. She has previous experience as a member of a secondary- level Academy in Plymouth, and led the setting–up of UTC Plymouth. Viv is a trained Ofsted Inspector (Post-16).
Anne Gordon, MSC: Anne Gordon is finance director of MSC (UK) Ltd (Mediterranean Shipping Company), the world’s second largest container shipping company and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland. Her career began in Glasgow at a small accountancy firm and she then joined the Philips group in Wiltshire. On moving to the East of England, she lectured at Suffolk College, and then furthered her career in logistics at P&O Trans European in Ipswich, growing a finance team from 12 to 60 people. When the operation was sold, she handled the dismantling/relocation of the team, gaining valuable experience in change management. Joining MSC in 2003, she was appointed to the UK Board in 2006, with responsibility for Finance, HR and IT. In 2010 Anne formed the Social Policy Committee, to manage staff charitable fundraising and donations and over £230,000 has been donated to local and national charities to date. Her leisure time is dominated by family, keeping fit and as often as possible travelling, both locally and further afield. Having lived in Suffolk for nearly 30 years Anne feels privileged to have raised her family in such a great rural community with access to the beautiful countryside and coast. These same benefits extend to employees, making Suffolk a very attractive place to work, supporting the work-life balance we all strive for. She is therefore keen to play a positive role in the community in which her children and grandchildren live and work.
Belinda Gray, Art for Cure: Belinda moved to Suffolk from London 16 years ago with her young family in tow, taking a game on a major career change, from pallative AIDS nursing, to moving into a house with what she says was “a house with an amazing kitchen garden which needed high maintenance!” After several horticultural and design courses Belinda started teaching courses from her home on growing organic produce, as well as designing vegetables gardens. She dipped into the world of journalism too. “Then I developed breast cancer out-of-the-blue aged 46. I had a year of aggressive treatment. Art for Cure evolved from my illness. Initially it was a one-off fundraising exhibition of art and sculpture at my home, but due to its success, raising over £100,000 for national breast cancer research, the charity was established. “Art for Cure is led by an amazing event team. We all work voluntarily staging art exhibitions here in Suffolk and, soon, London.” So far more than half a million pounds has been raised with Belinda saying she’s “overwhelmed” by the support from volunteers, sponsors and venues. “The funds we raise are donated to Suffolk support services for those facing a breast cancer diagnosis as well as direct funding to specific national research. I feel very fortunate to live in Suffolk and my increasing love of the art and culture here is at the root of most pursuits. I have even started painting myself after being inspired by so many local artists. Biking has also become a new activity as 45 of us are ambitiously riding this November from Vietnam to Cambodia as a fundraiser for the charity.
Caroline Gumble, EEF: Caroline is responsible for the delivery of membership and commercial services at EEF. She ensures that EEF’s services and information sources reach and support all of their members. She’s also responsible for EEF’s apprentice and technical training, learning and development, as well as a portfolio of open courses and bespoke training programmes. Prior to joining EEF in 2003, Caroline had an extensive career as a human resources professional in the automotive sector. She also worked for an American international capital goods company gaining valuable business transformation experience.
Maggi Hambling, Artist: Maggi Hambling CBE is one of the nation’s leading artists with a number of public works on display including a statue of Oscar Wilde in St Martin’s In The Field, opposite Charing Cross, and The Scallop, a tribute to Benjamin Britten, on Aldeburgh beach. Born, in Sudbury, Maggi grew up in Hadleigh and was educated at Amberfield School in Nacton, where artist Yvonne Drewry encouraged her talent. She also studied with Cedric Morris and Lett Haines at East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing at Benton End, then at Ipswich School of Art (1962–64), Camberwell (1964–67), and finally the Slade School of Art. Best known in recent years for her celebrated sea paintings, Maggi was initially best known as a portrait painter and was the first artist in residence at the National Gallery. While there she completed a series of portraits of the comic and clown Max Wall. She still creates portraits, particularly of close friends who have died. She drew death bed portraits of her mother and father, Cedric Morris and Lett Haines, former lover Henrietta Moraes and long-term friend George Melly. Maggi continues to live and exhibit locally, frequently at Snape, as well as in London at the National Gallery, British Museum and The Serpentine Gallery. Maggi also continues to create sculpture as well continuing her sea paintings and reacting to world events like the refugee crisis. She also produces a Good Friday painting each year. In May, Hambling was chosen to create a statue commemorating Mary Wollstonecraft, the “foremother of feminism”. Maggi’s design will feature a figure – described as an every woman – emerging out of organic matter.
Stephany Hardingham, Alder Tree: “I was lucky to grow up in Suffolk on the family farm, Alder Carr, in Creeting St Mary,” Stephany says. “I attended local schools including Stowmarket High, then headed to Sheffield to study environmental science, followed by an MSc in environmental technology at Imperial College. I had many jobs as a student including fruit-picking and bar work but my first ‘proper’ job was as an environmental business consultant for the charity Groundwork East London. I decided, however, that what I would really like to do is run my own ethical business. So, in 2004, I returned to the family farm to develop the ice cream side of the business. In 2007 I set-up my own company – Alder Tree Ltd, and our ice creams are now available nationwide. I’m proud to say that we have stayed true to our original ideals, using locally sourced ingredients, Carbon Balancing with the World Land Trust, achieving Gold in the Suffolk Carbon Charter and being listed by Ethical Consumer magazine.” In 2017 Stephany began building her own eco-house and this summer took on the running of the farm shop at Alder Carr – packed full of local and artisan produce. In her spare time Stephany says she enjoys yoga, meditation and gardening, and she likes nothing more than an autumnal walk in the beautiful Suffolk countryside.
Ruthie Henshall, Actor/singer: Ruthie Henshall, although born in Bromley, moved to Suffolk as a teenager when father David was appointed news editor of the East Anglian Daily Times and Evening Star. She trained at the Laine Theatre Arts school and at the age of 19 made her stage debut at the West Cliff Theatre in Clacton-on-Sea in a show called The Cascade Revue. However, less than a year later she was cast in Cats in the West End and, during her run with the show, performed as Jemima, Demeter, Griddlebone and Grizabella. In 1988, at the age of 21, Ruthie was cast in the original production of Miss Saigon as one of the bargirls, before winning the role of Aphra in Stephen Schwartz’ short-lived Children of Eden. Ruthie Henshall’s breakthrough role came when she was cast as Fantine in Les Misérables in 1988, it’s a role which she quickly became identified with and was invited to recreate the part for the 10th anniversary ‘dream cast’ production. Her first Olivier nomination came in 1993 for her role as Polly Baker in the Gershwin musical Crazy For You, she was nominated again the following year for the part of Amalia Balash in She Loves Me at The Savoy Theatre, and this time she won. In a packed West End career Ruthie has starred in such diverse shows as Peggy Sue Got Married, The Woman In White, Marguerite, Oliver! and Billy Elliott: The Musical but the show that she has been most closely associated with in recent years is Chicago is played Roxie Hart in the original West End production before reprising the role on Broadway. She went onto to play the other lead role Velma Kelly in both London and New York before returning to the show earlier this year to play jailer Mama Morton. Ruthie now divides her time between West End shows and developing shows for cruise ships from her Suffolk home.
Karen Hester, Adnams: Karen joined Adnams in 1988 as a part-time cleaner. Today, as chief operating officer, she is responsible for over 400 employees, ensuring the smooth running of all day-to-day operations at Adnams brewery, hotels, pubs and stores. Karen won East of England Business Woman of the Year in 2008 and First Women Business of the Year in 2013. Karen became the first woman to be appointed to the Adnams Board as an Executive Director. Karen was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by University Campus Suffolk (UCS) in 2015. Karen is a non-executive director of Independence Matters, a Norfolk-based company that provides a wide range of support services for adults with learning and physical disabilities, young people in transition and older people with dementia, and their families. Most recently Karen became a non-executive director of Fram Farmers, a co-operative based in Suffolk. In 2009 Karen became a magistrate and in her spare time enjoys spending time with her family.
Bal Kaur Howard, Motivational Speaker/Campaigner: A former project officer within Suffolk Constabulary for nearly eight years as project officer for honour based violence (forced marriage and female genital mutilation) Bal was responsible for forming policies, procedures and training for police officers and partner agencies. She was based for three years in the child investigation abuse unit and within the service trained over 1,500 front-line practitioners a year. Bal has developed and delivered training in health, social care, police, education and the voluntary sector across the country and is an advocate for the issues of BME, domestic violence, honour-based crimes and sexual exploitation. A victim of forced marriage herself, Bal has brought to her various roles a true understanding and personal experience. Bal was nominated twice for the IKWRO True Honour Awards and won the Judges Special Award in the inaugural BME Suffolk Business Awards in 2016.
Sarah Howard MBE, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce: Sarah Howard has been a 21st century pioneer in encouraging women to have the confidence to take on high-profiled roles both in business and in the voluntary sector. After a successful career in London working for both KPMG and JP Morgan, Sarah set up Sarand Business Software in 1994 with her partner – a company she continues to run from its Haverhill offices. Sarah is Suffolk Chamber of Commerce’s immediate past president and is now the vice president of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), the first Suffolk businessperson to have been elected to the role. She chairs the BCC’s accreditation board. She also chairs Abbeycroft Leisure, a not-for-profit organisation running leisure centres across Cambridgeshire and Suffolk and is a governor of West Suffolk College. She was awarded the MBE for her services to the community as chair of ONE Haverhill, a neighbourhood community programme. Sarah believes that “gender equality will never truly be delivered through temporarily gaming the system or via positive discrimination. It will come about by women showing they have the right skills and the right aptitudes for whatever they are asked to do and being role models for the next generation of women in the process.“My message to young women entering the Suffolk workplace: ‘Go for it! You are good enough. Now prove it to the world!”
Ania Hobson, portrait artist: Rising East Anglian portrait artist Ania Hobson is currently “living the dream” having won Young Artist Award 2018 as part of the prestigious annual BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery. The 28 year old artist, who lives outside Saxmundham, was chosen for the award after submitting her large-scale work A Portrait of Two Female Painters, which depicts Ania sitting alongside her sister in law Stevie Dix. The £9,000 prize, is given to artists aged between 18 and 30 who show exceptional promise. More than 2,667 artists from 88 countries submitted work for the competition from which 48 were selected for the exhibition. Last year Ania’s self portrait was selected for exhibition, but this is the first time her work has been considered for any of the prizes. The former pupil of Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham studied at Suffolk College before completing a degree in Fine Art at the University of Suffolk. She followed this with short courses at the Prince’s Drawing School and Florence Academy of Art. Her work has been seen in group exhibitions in the UK and the annual exhibitions of the Society of Women Artists and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. Ania is based in Asylum studios at RAF Bentwaters near Woodbridge. She is hoping to continue submitting to international exhibitions and is also looking to study further.
Sarah Holmes, New Wolsey Theatre: New Zealander Sarah Holmes arrived in Suffolk in 2001 to become chief executive and open the New Wolsey Theatre. Sarah arrived from Theatr Clwyd with a vision to open up the Ipswich theatre to a wide range of different audiences. She wanted to develop a programme of in-house and touring work that would appeal to different age groups and people of different backgrounds. From the earliest days, Sarah has always maintained that theatre doesn’t just have one audience, there are a multitude of different audiences and the role of modern theatre is to appeal to as many of these as possible and deliver work of the highest quality. The result of this drive has been the development of work with Deaf and disabled actors as part of the Ramps on the Moon project and working with national companies like Graeae. The New Wolsey-Graeae co-production of Reasons to be Cheerful not only has done two UK tours after being developed at Ipswich but was also chosen to form part of the 2012 Paralympic Games opening ceremony. Under Sarah’s guidance the New Wolsey has pioneered a fringe theatre festival, Pulse, as well as created close ties with the community with its numerous youth theatre companies and annual Open Season when the theatre is made available to amateur companies during the early summer. In January, Sarah became one of the few regional producers to make The Stage’s Top 100 list which ranks the most influential people in British theatre. This was a highly prestigious award as historically The Stage rarely casts its gaze beyond London when looking for examples of quality and innovation.
Anna Hughes, Church of England: Anna initially trained as an accountant but confesses to just one rewarding audit client - the Royal Opera House - which started her journey into the world of opera, the arts and the wider voluntary sector. That experience led indirectly to coordinating the opening of Tate Modern in 2000, a high profile and exciting project that convinced her of the power of teams. Since 2004 Anna has worked in Suffolk. She spent three years as finance director of Ipswich Town Football Club, a role that she loved despite never understanding the offside rule! In 2010, Anna became Finance Director of Suffolk Mind, latterly CEO. She helped rejuvenate the charity by building a committed team and forging a new direction, raising the profile of the importance of mental health for all in Suffolk. As part of that, Suffolk Mind worked with the Churches Conservation Trust, winning £3.6m from the Heritage Lottery Fund to renovate and extend a medieval Ipswich church, St Mary at the Quay, as a well-being and heritage centre. Anna is now a trustee of Mind nationally, an immense honour, allowing her to continue to drive forward the cause of mental health. In 2017, Anna became Diocesan Secretary for the Church of England in Suffolk. The Church has an integral role in society, connecting with communities throughout the county. In her role running the charity at the heart of the Church, Anna is proud to play a part in supporting and enabling clergy and congregations to flourish and serve their local communities.
Lily May Humphreys, Rising Golf Star: Sixteen-year-old Lily May Humphreys was born in Chelmsford, moving to Great Cornard in Suffolk with her family two years ago. Lily’s older brother has played golf for some tome and took her to TopGolf when she was just nine to hit balls on the range. It was the beginning of something new and special for the now teen: “I really liked it and was quite good at hitting the ball straight away. I joined a local golf course when I was 10 and got a club handicap of 44! I got down to a five handicap by the time I was 11, and scratch at 13” Lily went on to win the English Girls U14 Open Championship aged 14 and the next year won the U16 title.In 2017 she won five national and international titles – the English Women’s Amateur, European Young Masters, British Girls’ Open, Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters, and the Junior Orange Bowl in the USA. In 2018 Lily wonthe Scottish Women’s Open at Troon, played for GB&I Women at the Curtis Cup in New York, and is in the GB&I selection for the Youth Olympics in Argentina. “I work hard to improve my game and hope to turn professional in the future,” she says.
Ipswich Women’s Basketball Team 2018: Ipswich Basketball Women’s Team is a brilliant Suffolk success story. Last year, they had a perfect season, winning National League Division 2 and the Play-off Final plus the National Cup, going undefeated throughout the season. In winning the cup they defeated four Divison 1 teams - including the league winners in the final, coming back from 17 points down. Many of the players have been involved in encouraging and promoting basketball in the community and primary schools. They are described as a once in a lifetime team who played to win but more importantly play for each other.
Catherine Johnson, Greater Ipswich Chamber/Birketts: Catherine Johnson is a partner at Birketts Solicitors where she heads up its Ipswich Employment and HR practice. Catherine is also the chair of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce in Greater Ipswich, a director of Suffolk Chamber, and a director of Ipswich Central. These varied voluntary appointments provide Catherine with the opportunity to gather real insight into local issues, feedback on members’ views and opinions and play a role for each of these pivotal organisations supporting the town. Catherine grew up in Suffolk and trained locally as a solicitor before moving to work for an international law firm in London. Catherine and her family returned to Suffolk in 2009 when she joined Birketts LLP. Catherine both lives and works in Ipswich and is very passionate about its continuing growth through inward investment and regeneration. She is a member of the Ipswich Vision Board, which is working collaboratively together to improve the prospects and development of the town to make it vibrant and prosperous. One of Catherine’s favourite activities is walking her dog with friends and family, and visiting some of her favourite Suffolk spots – Felixstowe Ferry, Waldringfield and the Ipswich Waterfront.
Jennifer Jo-Lees, Campaigner for transgender rights: Speaking to the EADT earlier this year Jennifer said: “Going through what I have been through so far has been life changing, in more ways than one,” said Jen, who works as a general assistant on grocery at Tesco in Saxmundham. “I have done things with my life that I wouldn’t have even dreamed of doing, that I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do as Mark. “I know that Mark wasn’t who I was. Mark was just a shell with Jennifer on the inside. That’s all Mark ever was. “In my mind I have always been a girl, but it’s unfortunate you get the hand you are given at birth so obviously over the past 15 months I have been correcting that.” A campaigner for transgender awareness and rights Jennifer Jo has remained loyal to her home town - Leiston and spoken frankly about her own experience, her poor mental health and emotional challenges. She said: “I think a lot of people find that going to places like London and Brighton helps them the most, because a lot of people think they have to move to places like that to be able to be their true selves, but people tell me what they find so brilliant about this is I have come out in a small town where everyone knows everyone and for a small opinionated town like Leiston to accept me for who I am is just amazing and I can’t fault it.” She believes transgender people deserve “The same dignity and respect as anyone else. All we are trying to do is be who we are.”
Franstine Jones, BInspyred: Franstine was born and raised in Ipswich, Suffolk where she still lives. Franstine has been the Interim Director and the Vice Chair on the Board of the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Race Equality (ISCRE). She has also been a trustee of Voyage Youth and Suffolk Rape Crisis. Franstine has a HR background and is a CIPD graduate where her interest in equality and diversity became her preferred subject. As well as running her training business since 2005, she has worked as a HR Diversity Officer for Suffolk County Council and asa Diversity Officer and Partnership Manager in Community Safety for Suffolk Constabulary. She has also held other previous roles in the private and voluntary sector. In the national arena, Franstine, was the first women and police staff in the history of the National Black Police Association (NBPA), to be elected as the President. Franstine is passionate about equality and diversity particularly race equality. In her national role, Franstine regularly meets with Home Office officials and Ministers to raise issues where police policy and powers has a detrimental impact on police officers, police staff and the wider black and other minority groups. On election as President of the NBPA she was invited along with other CEO’s to a roundtable meeting at 10 Downing Street by David Cameron, to discuss how to remove bias from the recruitment process. Franstine was also invited by the Rt Hon Theresa May MP when she was Home Secretary, to a round-table meeting of senior police leaders and community representatives to discuss diversity in policing. As an urgent priority, the round-table meeting discussed the recruitment, retention and progression of black and minority ethnic officers, and specifically the use of equalities legislation to ensure a more diverse police workforce.
Gay Kelleway, Former Jockey and Trainer: Gay had her first ride as an amateur when she was 16. At 17 she rode her first winner for Clive Brittain and was runner up for the Ladies Amateur Championship that year. Gay came first in that championship the next year and (18 at the time) she remains the youngest ever lady to have won the championship to this day. She became a professional jockey at 19 years old. During her career she rode 86 winners in the UK and 16 winners abroad including New Zealand. She was leading lady jockey for two years, the first woman to ride in a classic race and she is still the only woman to have won a race at Royal Ascot in 1987 with Sprowston Boy in the Queen Alexandra Stakes. Gay retired from race riding in 1989. Gay took her trainers license in 1991, she also reapplied for her jockey’s license the same year and was both training and riding for two years. In 1992 she was the first jockey to ride with a camera on her helmet in the Arlington Millions in Chicago on a horse trained by her father called John Rose. She would have liked to continue riding and training but in 1993 the Jockey Club prevented it as she was now an established trainer. But that didn’t stop Gay, being such a passionate rider in 1994 she took her Arab Jockey License and rode her sister’s Arab horses, she was one of the leading Arab horses jockey and won numerous charity races. She stopped riding in races in 1998. After 15 years of training in which she started on her own without any help from family and no financial backup. She was lucky to buy a horse called Vortex who won no less than 17 races at the highest level. With the money she won she invested in the 300 year old Harraton Stables which she renamed Queen Alexandra Stables after the famous Royal Ascot race. She also purchased the original plaque of the Queen Alexandra from Royal Ascot memorabilia. Gay has been training successfully for 27 years and counting! In her free time Gay is very active in multiple charities. She is a patron for the MS Therapy Center in Huntington. She is on the committee for The Leger Legends which helps injured jockeys. She also helps the charity Heros who takes care of rehoming retired race horses. What Gay particularly loves about Suffolk is Newmarket. There no other place like it in the world. Between it’s amazing facilities to train horses, the prestigious horse racing and the history it is truly a wonderful place. Gay has mostly lived in Newmarket since she was 13, she even remembers moving here on the day of her 13th birthday.
Bee Kemball, Debach Enterprises and Suffolk Agricultural Association: Debach is a third-party logistics company and is in every sense a people business, focussing on warehousing, real-time stock control and distribution solutions for a wide range of international customers. This family owned business is part of a group of companies who also farm over 3,000 acres in east Suffolk, as well as running a portfolio of other commercial businesses on the east coast such as Bentwaters Parks. Since 1992, Debach has been managed by Bee who has overseen the business’s growth to become one of the most forward-looking companies within its sector. However, with her roots still firmly in agriculture, Bee is also a trustee of the Suffolk Agricultural Association, which runs The Suffolk Show. In 2016 Bee took on the role as honorary show director – the first woman to do so in the association’s history.
Helen Langton, University of Suffolk: Professor Helen Langton joined UoS from the University of South Wales where she was deputy vice chancellor and a professor in children’s cancer nursing education. Helen held a number of senior posts in universities in the United Kingdom and has a range of experience across health and social care, science and social science and education. Helen’s research and teaching expertise relates to children and young people with cancer, inter professional education, technology enhanced learning and innovation and improvement methodologies. Helen has been a member of a number of national boards and bodies including with the Nursing and Midwifery Council and Department of Health. Helen is now co-chair of the Health Education England Advisory Group for Nursing and Midwifery. Helen has been a governor for Monkton Combe School for seven years and then became chair of governors in January 2016. Internationally Helen is a board member for the Academy of Health Care Improvement, and a board member for the De Souza Nursing Institute in Toronto Canada, as well as associate editor of the International Journal of Child Health Care. Helen has four children and one grandchild and alongside spending time with her family enjoys music and baking. Helen has had a long affiliation with Suffolk and places with special memories include the Meare at Thorpeness and the concert hall at Snape Maltings. Helen loves the diversity of countryside and coast in Suffolk, the creativity of the community and the warmth of the people she meets.
Jo Leah, Ipswich Building Society: Jo is the general manager of retail and distribution for Ipswich Building Society. Appointed to the executive team over 10 years ago, she leads sales and distribution, building relationships with local broker and intermediaries. Jo is on the board of Ipswich Chamber and on the committee of Ipswich Building Preservation Trust as she believes it’s important to look after our historical architecture. Of her career so far she says: “Way back in 1984 I joined a newly established Marketing team - the past 30 years have flown by, after obtaining my marketing qualifications I headed up the Marketing team and in the early 90s led the rebranding of the Society and have played a key role in maintaining the Society’s profile both locally and nationally. The Society works hard to ensure that we offer the best possible service to the people of Suffolk and have maintained convenient locations to provide them with a face to face service.”
Gina Long MBE: Gina Long MBE is a philanthropist, entrepreneur, journalist, global charity campaigner and activist, and proud farmers wife. A voluntary fundraiser for 40 years, she has raised over £4 million for national and regional charities. Three years ago, she started her own charitable foundation, GeeWizz, to support East Anglian families living with cancer or a disability. Gina spent 12 years supporting the work of the Prince’s Trust before co-founding Breakthrough Suffolk in 1999 and helping the group raise £1 million so far. Gina also founded Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction in 2011 and, to date, her six global online auctions have raised £1,018,000. In her bid to support the work of charities and organisations alike, Gina, and her husband Andrew, have raised over £250,000 for St Nicholas Hospice Care through the creation of Classic Sports Cars by the Lake, as well as becoming a patron for both the Women’s Aid Centre in Bury St Edmunds and the Ipswich & Suffolk Business Club. She is an ambassador for West Suffolk College and West Suffolk Hospital and supports many other charities in a mentoring capacity. Alongside her charity work, Gina forged a successful media and communications career both across the UK and America. Notable highlights included working with the National Football League, Major League Baseball and National Basketball Association, creating and selling some of the most successful sporting novelty products in the world. She founded Marketing Force, now the UK’s market leader in roundabout sponsorship, before becoming head of Communications at Hutchinson Whampoa Ltd and then head of communications at BT Exact. Gina regularly contributes columns and articles for the Archant newspapers and magazines and has her own Q&A pages in Heaven in the East Anglian Daily Times and Eastern Daily Press every Saturday. Gina, who lives in Bury St Edmunds, has two children, Samuel and Alexandra, along with her five stepchildren. She was awarded an MBE for services to the charity sector in December 2015.
Audrey Ludwig, ISCRE/Suffolk Law Centre: Audrey Ludwig is director of Suffolk Law Centre and Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE). Audrey studied law at Wolverhampton Polytechnic, the College of Law in Guildford and Monash University, Melbourne. She moved to Ipswich in 1988, training at Prettys Solicitors. After working as a solicitor in private practice and Suffolk County Council, she moved into disability rights advocacy and charity management at Ipswich DAB and Mind, and became a non executive director of Ipswich Primary Care Trust. Audrey joined ISCRE in 2006 and set up a specialist discrimination law project now called Tackling Discrimination in the East. She and her team have assisted over 500 victims of discrimination in the last three years. Audrey delivers free workshops to a wide range of groups on discrimination law, hate crime and asserting legal rights. She also manages the free Law Advice Clinics, where more than 70 local lawyers give free legal advice to the whole community. Motivated by the adverse consequences of the legal aid cuts, she led a campaign group to set up Suffolk Law Centre to “green the legal advice desert” in Suffolk and replace legal services which were lost. It launched on 23 March 2018, as a subsidiary of ISCRE, and is working towards improving the understanding of legal rights and responsibilities and access to justice for all in Suffolk. Audrey lives in Ipswich with her husband and 16 year old son, is a Quaker and enjoys book club, playing cards, general knowledge quizzes and walking daily in Christchurch Park.
Carol Lukins MBE: Ipswich woman Carol Lukins was awarded an MBE, for services to HM Coastguard and the prison service. She has volunteered with the Felixstowe Coastguard Rescue team, worked with Suffolk police by supporting young offenders, been a member of the Royal Navy Auxiliary Service, and has helped tens of thousands of children, nationally and worldwide, to get fit. Carol was instrumental in setting up the Suffolk Schools Swimming Service under Suffolk County Council.
Pippa Mann, Racing Car Driver: Born in London in 1983, but raised in Suffolk, Pippa started racing karts when she was 13 years old, and progressed to competing in the World and European Championships of the top classes by the time she was 18. She then moved into single-seater racing in Europe, and became the first female racer ever to score points in the World Series by Renault championship. In 2009 she left her native England to move to the United States to compete in Indy Lights, the feeder series to Indycar, and in 2010 she finished in the top five of the championship with a race win, two podium finishes, and three pole positions to her name – including becoming the first female racer in history to win a pole position at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In 2011, Pippa qualified for her first Indianapolis 500, making her the first British female athlete to ever qualify for the race, and she has since competed in the event a further five times. She currently holds the unofficial record for the fastest female ever at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, by setting an average lap of over 230mph on Fast Friday of 2017. She has also made several one-off appearances in a Lamborghini in North American sports car racing, and holds a finish record of four podium finishes from four starts in the series this season. This winter, Pippa will also be competing in a 25 hour race as a member of an all-female driving team, piloting a vintage 1989 Mosler Consulier.
Hannah Martin, Hockey Player: Hannah says: “I started playing hockey at Ipswich School in year 4 and absolutely loved it. I was lucky enough to have some brilliant coaches whose passion for the game certainly inspired me to pursue the sport. After three fantastic years at the University of Birmingham, I am now currently training as a full-time athlete with the Great Britain women’s hockey team at Bisham Abbey NSC aspiring for Tokyo 2020 and beyond. Since making my international debut in February 2017, I have competed in a number of tournaments, with the most recent being the World Cup in London this summer. As England, we won a bronze medal at both the European Championships (2017) and the Commonwealth Games (2018). Domestically, I play for Surbiton HC who have been National Champions for five years running. In addition to my training, I am undertaking a Digital Marketing qualification, and have gained experience in this field at London & Partners and Emperor. Playing the game I love as a living is a very special opportunity, and I am extremely fortunate to do it alongside my fantastic teammates. It’s an incredible honour to represent your country and one I will always cherish. Whilst my ultimate goal is to participate and medal at an Olympic Games, my present focus is to keep improving and never stop enjoying the game!”
Dame Clare Marx, Chair of General Medical Council: Dame Clare Marx is one of the UK’s most eminent medics. A former president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, Dame Clare was the first woman in the history of the college to hold this role.In July this year it was announced Dame Clare been appointed by the Privy Council as the new chair of the General Medical Council (GMC) to succeed Professor Sir Terence Stephenson in January 2019.She will be the first woman to hold the chair since the GMC was established 160 years ago. Dame Clare studied medicine at University College London Medical School qualifying in 1977 and pursued a surgical career with a series of training posts in the London area. In 1990 she was appointed a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at St. Mary’s Hospital and St. Charles Hospital London with a particular interest in early surgical education. In 1993 she moved to Ipswich hospital and became clinical director of the combined A&E, Trauma and Orthopaedics and Rheumatology directorate. She worked at the hospital for 25 years. She told the EADT: “Being part of an extraordinary team at Ipswich has been an amazing part of my career. We don’t know how lucky we are to have such a fantastic hospital.” In 2007 she received a CBE for services to medicine and in 2008 she was made a Deputy Lieutenant of the county of Suffolk. In 2008-she was also the elected President of the British Orthopaedic Association. Earlier this year she received the Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to medicine.
Poli Mohan, ISIA: Poli was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and has been living in Suffolk since 1994. She is currently chairperson of the Ipswich and Suffolk Indian Association (ISIA) having joined in 2007 as secretary and treasurer. She is responsible for organising three major annual community events that promote community cohesion across Suffolk – being, as they are, open to all communities within Suffolk. Collectively these three events (Ipswich Indian Summer Mela, Holi Festival and Diwali Dinner) attract diverse large crowds from across the county. Poli says: ” Suffolk is a great place to live and especially enjoys the multi-cultural diversity of the County.” As a keen walker, she enjoys the Suffolk countryside with its variety of beautiful walks, forests and beaches. In August she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain along with six members of her family and says ”it was simply the most awesome experience of my life”. She’s a keen cyclist and swimmer.
Minnie Moll, Jarrold Retail: Minnie was born in Norwich and grew up on a Thames Sailing Barge at Pin Mill in Suffolk. She spent much of her career in London in marketing, innovation and strategic consultancy. She was managing partner of the ‘Advertising Agency of the Decade’ and then global marketing director of ?What If!, an innovation company that won the Sunday Times ‘Best Place to Work in the UK’ two years running. She chose to move back to Suffolk with her family to enjoy the beautiful countryside and big skies. She became marketing director of Notcutts Garden Centres, based in Woodbridge where she stayed for five years. In 2014 Minnie became joint chief executive of the East of England Co-op, the largest independent retailer in the region. She was responsible for their community engagement activity, including the mission to become the leading dementia friendly retailer, resulting in the Alzheimer’s Society naming them Dementia Friendly Organisation of the Year in 2016. In 2016 Minnie was appointed by HRH Prince Charles as his ambassador for responsible business in the East of England, for a two-year term. In November 2017, Minnie became an ambassador for Fresh Start – New Beginnings, the East Anglian charity supporting child victims of sexual abuse. She spoke out publicly for the first time about the sexual abuse she suffered as a child, to raise awareness of the issue and how critical it is for child victims to receive the specialist support they need. In July 2018, Minnie became chief executive of Jarrold Retail in Norwich.
Annie Munson Women’s Aid Centre: After 23 years of service, Annie was named CEO of Bury St Edmunds Women’s Aid Centre. The centre is a small independent charity that for the past 42 years has worked with women and their children who become victims of domestic abuse. The 23-bed refuge offers security, friendship, empowerment and a future to a maximum of eight women and their children at any one time. Since January 2016 it has also been providing Specialist Domestic Abuse Support to nine victims in satellite properties in Mildenhall, Brandon, Haverhill and Bury St Edmunds who are not eligible to be housed at the refuge by reason of gender or the complexity their additional needs. In addition Annie oversees a dedicated children’s service, based at the refuge, run by two qualified Child Support Workers. And the refuge offers a telephone helpline and outreach service, both of which are available to non-resident victims and survivors.
Judi Newman, Relish/East of England Co-op, Butley Oyster: After 20 years of fundraising for international, national and local charities, Judi is a philanthropy advisor and co-founder of the Relish communications consultancy. She works with both not-for-profit and commercial clients, helping organisations shape their story-telling and plan campaigns for change. Judi is a director of the East of England Co-operative Society, and runs a small charity that provides off-grid renewable energy to last-mile rural communities in Southern India. She is an honorary fellow of the University of Suffolk and serves on the University’s Foundation Board, helping the new independent university build its philanthropy programme. In 2017, Judi and her husband Andrew renovated and re-opened the derelict Butley Oyster pub, creating a village shop, mini cinema and micro-brewery in a rural community near Rendlesham Forest. Judi and her family live at Topthorn Arena, an equestrian centre near Debenham hosting British dressage and unaffiliated showjumping throughout the year. Her teenage daughter’s eventing absorbs much of Judi’s spare time, as chief horse lorry driver. Judi has served on the board of The Seckford Foundation and was the development director of the Suffolk Community Foundation for over six years during its early years while it was establishing a philanthropic endowment for Suffolk grassroots charities in perpetuity. If time allows, Judi loves to read and enjoys travelling in India with Andrew, which they first visited together 27 years ago as backpacking students.
Zoe Newson, Paralympic weightlifter: Zoe has been flying the flag for Suffolk and Great Britain for years as a champion weightlifter. Inspired by the Dwarf Games (Zoe herself was diagnosed with dwarfism as a child), she went on to train in powerlifting, training with the Suffolk Spartans with a personal best of 102.5kgs. Representing team GB, Zoe has travelled the world with her sport, gaining two Paralympic bronze medals, bronze in the World championships in Mexico and bronze in the Commonwealth Games in Australia. On top of all that Zoe has broken British weightlifting records, is the World Dwarf Champion in powerlifting and won the gold in the Europeans in France this year.
Liz Nice, Creative Director Archant: Liz Nice started her career as a reporter at Archant on the East Anglian Daily Times before moving to London to work in magazines. She became Deputy Editor of Take a Break, then Britain’s biggest selling weekly magazine, deputy editor of more! Magazine and later editor of the teen magazine Bliss where she was a nominee for PPA editor of the year. Liz worked in the US as editor in chief of Twist magazine just after 9/11 before becoming a journalism lecturer at Sheffield University where she launched the Magazine Journalism MA and co-wrote the book, Magazine Journalism. Liz has also worked as a media lecturer at Suffolk New College and has a masters in education and a history degree from Oxford. She returned to Archant in 2014 as managing editor of the EADT and Ipswich Star and is now in charge of features across the whole Archant group, being promoted to creative director last year. Her provocative columns in the EADT and EDP, particularly those on women’s and feminist issues, are local talking points and lead her mother to despair. “I don’t know how you say these things,” her mother always says. Liz says, “I’ve grown used to being a senior woman in the male dominated world of local newspapers and it is not always easy to have your voice heard. I find it frustrating that shows of emotion are seen as unacceptable for example; that if tears of frustration come into your eyes at work, you are seen as weak, rather than someone who just passionately cares about your job. If the world was run by women, things would be very different! I try to encourage the young women - and the young men - who work for me to always approach work kindly, never try to escape blame for your mistakes but to own them and learn from them. I hate rules of any kind and ignore them when they are clearly idiotic - we all should. I hate to see people doggedly following what ‘they’ say without question. I also believe that if someone says no the first time, there is always a way to make them say yes. And that when you are not being recognised for your efforts, you should use your rage to prove yourself - I’ll show you! - rather than spend all your days moaning about how hard done by you are. I don’t know if I am inspiring, but this year, on a personal level, I have made changes to my life that I would never have thought possible a year ago. If I could pass on any advice to younger women I would say that you are always in the driving seat of your own life, even if it so often feels otherwise. And whenever anyone tries to hold you back, grip hard on the steering wheel, put your foot down and go.”
Ann Osborn, The Rural Coffee Caravan: Ann says she was a “late developer” having left school with just a handful of O levels, choosing travel over further education. After becoming a stay at home mum, Ann says she felt “unemployable” and had very little confidence. But a change was to come. “It was through volunteering with Girl Guiding that I first heard about The Rural Coffee Caravan. Having keenly felt both loneliness and rural isolation, I applied for a job. Luckily they took a chance on me and I started out in 2004. We have since grown from one vehicle doing 15 or so visits a year to two vehicles and around 200 visits a year, collaborating with over 70 support agencies in Suffolk. We are now very much embedded in Suffolk life!” MeetUpMondays is the newest initiative for the social enterprise and involves pubs and cafes holding free coffee mornings in their premises. “It’s working wonderfully well and actually proving to be life changing in some cases. We have 40 hosts and 20 other businesses supporting them with marketing; so 60 Suffolk businesses addressing loneliness. I’m very proud of that. “I believe passionately that connecting with kindness is something we should all be doing everyday so to be able to do that as a job doesn’t feel like work.” Ann enjoys theatre, spending time with friends and family, including her four grandsons, and is an active member of Eden Communities and the Campaign to End Loneliness. “What I love so much about Suffolk is the diverse landscape, the big skies, slower pace of life but, above all, I have found it to be a most caring county.”
Samantha Parnell, Measured Brilliance: Digital Strategist, Sam Parnell, is Managing Director of Measured Brilliance which she runs with her developer brother Max Shelley. Sam is part of the fabric of Suffolk’s growing digital community, using her considerable knowledge to guide professionals through the ever-changing world of digital marketing. Her expertise is being able to analyse the core of a business and provide a comprehensive digital plan, which she can then help implement through training. Sam is a co-founder of charitable giving website Echoleft, a web-based service for charities and good causes which focuses on three things, providing event registrations and ticketing for events supporting good causes, great online fundraising pages for supporters, and in-memory giving for charities that are focused around memorial and legacy giving. Sam also founded Digital Skills for Good Causes following the success of her previous venture, the popular monthly meetup SIMS, offering a digital education programme. Sam’s considerable expertise in the field of digital strategy and social media marketing combined with her amazing energy make her a unique entity, perfectly placed to work with good causes helping them to measure their impact and increase their income. Based at Innovation Martlesham, Sam works tirelessly to promote her sector across the UK.
Mischa Pearson, The Teapot Project/The Bus Shelter Ipswich: Following jobs in restaurants and finance, Mischa joined Caddisfly in Ipswich for a year before going on to set up a community café, The Teapot Project, in Ipswich. Having previously experienced homelessness herself, Mischa was adamant the café support people who found themselves in dire straits, and it had a strong ethos of social inclusion, as well the environment – using many ingredients and products that were perfectly fine to eat, but on their way to landfill. At The Teapot Project Mischa was praised for using the pay what you want model – enabling homeless people so they didn’t feel they were getting charity or hand outs. “What I believe to be fundamental in its success as a model, is it’s ability to foster an environment based on exchange, which as a former homeless person of two years, I understood the importance of; it’s hard to accept charity. I worked and paid taxes throughout my homelessness, wanting to feel I was ‘doing my bit’.“Lining up at a soup kitchen can feel demoralising to those who struggle to make ends meet, where offering food on a pay as you feel basis removes that stigmata and opens the space up to anyone, because you’ve removed the financial barrier without the label of a hand out. “This immediately creates social inclusion. I used to say my customers would leave their social class at the door and pick it up on the way out. “People have sung, read poetry and even offered hugs for their meal; often on days I quietly needed them, too. We laughed together, sang together, cried together, cooked together, washed up together and most important of all, we broke bread together.” While the café has since closed, Mischa has gone on to be business development manager for The Bus Shelter Ipswich – a double decker transformed to house homeless people in the community.
Lisa Perkins BT: Having secured an MSc with distinction from Aston University, Lisa Perkins moved to Suffolk to start her career with BT based at Adastral Park. During her 21 years at BT, Lisa has had a very wide and varied career. She started with designing a large scale internet solution, delivered a cutting edge voice solution (over the internet), managed the first broadband platform in BT and spearheaded the programme which enabled Superfast broadband across the UK. She has worked in portfolio development, vendor management, and as CIO director for the BT Group and then for Openreach. Today Lisa is director of Adastral Park, BT’s headquarters for research and development. It has in the region of 4000 people on site, with well over 100 other companies in situ as part of the Innovation Martlesham tech hub. This cluster contributes in total around £700m GVA to the region. Lisa runs a world leading innovation facility which attracts in the region of 50,000 visitors a year, ranging from members of parliament right through to year 2 school children. Lisa and her team work on initiatives to help promote finding innovative ideas and to ultimately deliver the consumption of new technology into BT and out to its customers, building trials and testing the concepts in safe environments. Lisa is passionate that as she grows the tech cluster and opportunities at Adastral Park, children are inspired to love science and technology. Since September alone there have been 1300 children and 160 teachers that have benefitted from a range of different learning and experience activities. Over the years these interventions have resulted in the attraction of many young individuals to work at BT, Innovation Martlesham, growing the numbers of apprentices and graduates on site. Lisa is actively pursuing her exciting vision for Adastral which includes a vastly expanded and richly diverse Smart Science Park, demonstrating and living all key cutting edge innovations, researching all future technologies with a permanent presence of local universities and learning institutes on site. Lisa is also a board member of Tech East, the LEP innovation forum and is a Trust governor at Chantry Academy.
Michelle Pollard, Spider Recruit: Michelle left school at 15, beginning her first job in a factory, with no qualifications she says she felt she “wasn’t ever destined for anything big,” adding “I was dismissed from a well-known fast food chain, having experienced sexual discrimination in the workplace, before I stumbled into recruitment at the age of 18. This was the first time I felt I could make something of myself.” By her mid to late 20s Michelle was in senior roles, firstly in traditional recruitment agencies, and later in global online job boards. After the birth of her daughter, she decided she wanted to work closer to home. “I decided to set up my first business - a traditional recruitment agency - when I found no progressive, family-friendly opportunities in Suffolk that needed my skillset.” After what she calls a “very painful experience” with her first business, it was liquidated. “However five years ago I picked myself back up and began Spider from my kitchen table with only a £5,000 credit card. It is a deciion I have never once regretted. I love how supportive the Suffolk business community is. There is a huge amount of local success and talent here. I also love the variety in Suffolk; how we are so close to the coast, city and countryside.“I am a raving gin fanatic and my family mean the world to me. I am also super proud to soon become the Chair of the Suffolk Skills Show, act as Vice-Chair of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce in Greater Ipswich, and to hold my position within the Suffolk Business Women Board.”
Diana Porter MBE, Fresh Start: Diana was born in Wales coming to settle in Suffolk loving countryside and wide skies. Diana’s life has always centred around children. She is a registered social worker and has fostered and adopted. She has worked for statutory and the third sector. She has been a school governor and parish counsellor, is a rotarian and recently joined the board of The South Suffolk Learning Trust. Diana has accompanied her husband on a diplomatic mission to Bosnia Herzegovina and reform projects in Bulgaria and Mozambique. Diana particularly loved her time in Mozambique where she was able to start many projects including providing equipment for schools and medicines for street boys as well helping to build a few homes. Back in England Diana was working in the field of sexual abuse and felt there was a need for there to be a charity that concentrated just on the needs of these children and their family. A charity that could be adaptable whose service lasted as long as it was needed and was able to adapt to the needs of the child not make the child fit the service. Diana took redundancy and with her £6,000 started Fresh Start - a service for victims of child sexual abuse. Within a year all but one of the team that she had managed were working for her again and in five years more than 1,000 children had been referred to the service. Diana has now retired as CEO but remains a director/trustee.
Karen Proctor, Textron Specialized Vehicles: Karen is director for global marketing at Textron where she is responsible for creating innovative ideas for the promotion of the Ransomes, Jacobsen and E-Z-GO brands in existing and new markets in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and beyond. Prior to this Karen was international marketing and communications manager for Ransomes Jacobsen, coming from a leisure background as director of golf at Carden Park Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa in Cheshire and before that Mottram Hall Hotel.
Julia Pyke, EDF Energy: With over 15 years of experience advising infrastructure and energy projects around the world, Julia joined EDF Energy in July 2017, focussing on Hinkley C, Sizewell C, Bradwell B and the decommissioning of AGRs. Prior to her present role, as Partner and Head of Power and Renewables for UK, US & Europe at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP (HSF), she led a cross-practice team advising on power projects (including HPC), and on defence, nuclear decommissioning and transport projects. For HPC, Julia worked on the 400,000 pages of documents needed to reach a final investment decision. These documents are now being brought to life with the great progress on site at HPC and in the investment into the regional economy (£1.3bn has been contracted to date with south west businesses). Julia is now working with Government to identify an innovative way for Sizewell C to be funded at best value to electricity consumers, and with potential investors - some of whom are planning to visit Sizewell B in January. Part of her work covers the way Government measures the contribution of Sizewell C to the East of England. She is delighted to be working on such an important project for Suffolk.
Emma Ratzer, Access Community Trust: Emma has worked for Access Community Trust since 2007, first joining as operations manager, then director of services and now CEO since 2013. Under her guidance and leadership the Trust completely rebranded in 2013, moving from St Johns Housing Trust to Access. Introducing and facilitating an organisation wide cultural change, Emma mentors and coaches staff offering an ‘acceleration’ approach to career development.“I empower my staff to deliver services that are shaped by the needs of our communities, designing positive experiences that inspire to aspire,” Emma says. “The charitable sector is one that is becoming more and more challenging, with a constant requirement to balance funding cuts and increasing demands, but my drive and passion is sparked by a reality that tells me our people view their future within the confines of poverty of hope, not just poverty of income. “I don’t spend my time rallying the troops, shouting loudly and apportioning blames – my energy is directed at the presenting issues, finding local solutions and developing strong, influential responses. Changing our own workplace environment by employing 16 to 18 year olds has been one such response. Sams Coffee House in Lowestoft is our flagship social enterprise project which hosts a variety of volunteering and apprenticeship opportunities, events such as a language café, youth clubs and peer support groups for people in recovery. Our apprentices are taken directly from the community in which we are based, many of whom live with us, all of them accessing our support services. My organisation is relentlessly positive and resilient, using our influence to power change and I am incredibly honoured to lead the charge!”
Cheryl Rawlings, illustrator and contemporary typographer: With her characteristic monochrome style and distinctive hand crafted typography she has been commissioned by many prestigious publications and brands across Europe and her client list includes Elizabeth Arden, Dove Skincare, Time Inc, Revlon and most notably her collaboration with Clarks shoes, which saw her illustrations come to life in an animation for their ‘first’ shoes range. With 23.3k followers on Instagram, Cheryl is an important social media influencer and advocate for creative collaborations within Suffolk and throughout the UK. She is a champion for the arts and enjoys nothing more than inspiring people to just go for it! She enjoys connecting like minded individuals and businesses together to create a stronger creative network in Suffolk. Born in Suffolk, Cheryl loved art from an early age and went on to study a degree in fashion Design at university. After graduating she returned to her home town and began a career as a Womenswear buyer for the family run fashion retailer, Coes. Cheryl was also a lynchpin in their marketing and creative division. After 13 years she chose to leave employment and concentrate on building her illustration business full time. Cheryl is married with two sons, and lives in Suffolk.
Susanna Rendall and Tamara Unwin, Boxford Group: Sisters Susanna and Tamara are family owners and directors (Susanna group managing director) of the Boxford Group, founded by their parents Bill and Devora Peake in the 40s and incorporating Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa, Boxford (Suffolk) Farms Ltd and Peake Fruit Ltd. After gaining a BSc Honours in Agriculture and Food Marketing at Newcastle University, Susanna joined the family business to help her parents run the fruit farm, Copella and the golf club in Boxford. She became MD of Copella Fruit Juices, while it was owned by Taunton Cider from 1989 to 1992 while bringing up her three children, and in 1992 became Boxford group managing director. Susanna continues to be the entrepreneurial driving force behind the expansion of the group, which spans over 1,000 acres, employing more than 600 staff across three companies. In the late 80s Susanna became a director of Management Development Services, joined the management board of the agricultural training centre at Stoneleigh, and became non-executive director of the NHS Allington Trust for eight years. After the sale of Copella in 1997 she spearheaded the expansion of the golf club into a multi award-winning hotel, golf and spa resort. She also initiated the formation of Peake Fruit Ltd, a marketing, storing and packing company supplying the group’s own and other growers’ top, stone and soft fruit to supermarkets. Susanna pioneered the construction of two anaerobic digestion plants, combined heat and power generators, biomas and biogas boilers, solar panels, digestate and wood dryers for the business. The group supplies all its own electricity and heat and produces organic fertiliser to put back onto the land – initiatives which has seen the group win a number of Green awards. Susanna loves Suffolk, where she was born, and her hobbies include golf, skiing and spending time with her family. Tamara went straight into the family business managing the two restaurants and a wholefood shop in Hampstead following her graduation from Exeter University with a BA Honours in Music. Tamara then gained experience in the grocery trade, working with the MD of Gerbre Foods in London before putting her experience to good use by setting up an office in her flat, working as sales, marketing and PR director of the Copella Juices business, gaining listings with all the major supermarkets, ultimately establishing it as a brand leader. During this time Tamara also sat on the Oxford Farming Conference Committee for three years. After the Peakes sold Copella to Tropicana UK in 1997 Tamara became sales, marketing and PR director of the family’s Stoke by Nayland Golf Club, and helped project manage its transition into a resort attracting worldwide televised golf events. Tamara’s interests are playing golf, tennis and piano, rock ‘n rolling and performing in an amateur musical theatre group. She so loved her childhood on her family’s idyllic Suffolk farm that she returned with her husband to bring their two children up here. She particularly enjoys introducing this stunning county to guests staying at Stoke by Nayland from all over the UK and abroad so they too can experience all the gems Suffolk has to offer.
Maureen Reynal MBE, FIND: Born and educated in Ipswich, the youngest of seven children, Maureen moved away for much of her early adult life, which saw her, amongst other things, working as a children’s nanny for a time. By the late 70s, she was back in Ipswich, working for 11 years as a youth leader. She had already started fostering, which she did for 17 years, providing long-term foster care to a number of young people, at one point having her own two adoptive sons and four foster children at home. One of her youth projects involved opening and running a restaurant for a short time and Maureen began to take left-over food to the local Homeless Families Refuge each day. This experience and the fostering raised her awareness of the greater need in our society and led her to start FIND in 1990. Built on the cornerstone of Maureen’s dedicated Christian faith, the charity provides emergency assistance, on a completely non-judgmental basis, to families or individuals affected by poverty or dispossession. Maureen was honoured with the Queens Award for Voluntary Service in 2005, an MBE in 2011, the High Sheriff’s Award for Volunteer of the Year in 2013 and was made a Fellow of the University of Suffolk in 2015. Her charity work is a true vocation, leaving her with little time for other hobbies and interests but, true to form, she likes nothing better than spending time with her grandchildren, when she can.
Liz O’Riordan, Ipswich Hospital: Liz is a consultant breast surgeon at Ipswich Hospital. In 2015 Liz herself was diagnosed with the disease, with a recurrence early in 2018. She started a blog to help her come to terms with the diagnosis, which has led to Liz speaking all over the world about her experiences as a doctor and a patient – from a TEDx talk in Stuttgart (Jar of Joy) to speaking to a prep school about cancer. “Whilst I was having chemotherapy I met another doctor on Twitter, Trish Greenhalgh, who was also having chemo for breast cancer. Together we wrote The Complete Guide to Breast Cancer, published in September 2018, to share our tips for getting through treatment and help empower patients to cope with life after cancer.” Liz undertook the first part of her medical training in Cardiff, moving to Suffolk in 2006 after a PhD, to complete her surgical training. While working at West Suffolk Hospital she met her husband Dermot – also a consultant surgeon. “Although I missed Wales initially,” Liz says, “I now love it here. As a triathlete I enjoy cycling along the quiet country lanes, and there are so many parks and woodlands to run in. Having grown up in the Midlands, it’s great to be able to drive to the coast at the weekend and let our spaniel swim in the sea. I can’t imagine living anywhere else now.”
Tarnia Robertson, Ufford Park Woodbridge Hotel, Golf and Spa: When Ufford Park Hotel hosts its regular 80s disco events, Tarnia Robertson is first on the dance floor. As well as being a multi-award-winning businesswoman, the 49-year-old lists dancing among her many hobbies which, when you see her hard at work in her day job, it’s difficult to believe she has any time for at all. After all, this is a woman who has single-handedly lead a great team to transform her family business since she took over the reins of managing director from her parents three and a half years ago. Already an established and popular hotel, golfing destination and spa, she identified areas for improvement and expanded the venue with a host of “added extras” which have attracted many new customers. Among these perks is a new adventure golf course - Congo Rapids Lost World – designed to appeal to a younger generation. This had an astonishing 35,000 visitors in its first year and resulted in a knock-on effect for food and beverage sales. Tarnia capitalised on this by renovating the Park Bar and Restaurant to create a contemporary dining destination with new outside furniture. This was done in conjunction with an intensive five year programme of redecoration and upgrades throughout the hotel bedrooms, health club and spa. Many business owners would balk at the idea of so much change in such a short space of time but Tarnia, who worked as a surveyor before joining her family in the hospitality sector, doesn’t sit still. She is constantly looking for ways to elevate the customer experience and cement her business as a landmark in the home town she knows and loves. A Suffolk girl through-and-through, she lives within walking distance of work and spends any precious time off walking along the county’s beaches and rivers or exploring shops in nearby Woodbridge and Bury St Edmunds. In the last year, her dedication to her business has seen her win numerous awards including the title of 2018 Institute of Directors (IOD) East of England Family Business Director of the Year. She has also won accolades for the business and most recently the hotel was awarded a Quality in Tourism SILVER accreditation. But despite her success, Tarnia has no time to rest on her laurels. She is keen to use her business prowess and reputation to help other young people – particularly women - seeking to follow in her footsteps. And with this in mind, she has become a regular participator in regional business events including Suffolk Business Women, the IOD and Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the local Vistage Group - a leadership programme that inspires fresh thinking. Her favourite 80s hit might be Bowie’s “Under Pressure” but Tarnia – who is always ready to embrace the next challenge - is anything but.
Candace Rose, Canine Creche Group: Suffolk gal, Candace Rose in her previous career was a HR and recruitment professional, she changed her life and the life of others when she brought the Canine Creche model to the UK. Initially she launched Suffolk Canine Creche the successful doggie day care centre in Martlesham, and then slowly set about enhancing and influencing standards for the Canine Care industry. Multi-award winning including the PIF Pet Business of the Year a national award, and many Archant EADT Business Awards, she constantly drives standards, overhauling every service. Additional services were researched and modernised, and to compliment Day Care, the overnight sleepovers in the doggie Hotel (not a draconian kennels!), Fluff The Ruff in the grooming spa’s and the famous Puppy Parties, all offer the bow-wow factor! Canine Creche Group was then formed and five further locations (all franchised) are now open, with new properties being sourced in other areas. Finally, Rose has turned attentions to the “in-home care” market and has revolutionising dog walking and services delivered in people’s homes under the new Nana Creche brand. Candace is dedicated to dogs, she lives at home in rural Suffolk with her husband Nathan and their Dalmatians and supports many Suffolk charities both via the business and personally.
Niki Rousseau, EDF Energy: Niki is responsible for Community Relations at Sizewell B and is the Deputy Chair of EDF Energy’s Women’s Network which was created in 2009 and has now grown to over 800 members across the business. The Women’s Network is a company-wide network that supports EDF Energy in meeting its diversity ambitions around gender. Niki is also an Appropriate Adult working as a volunteer with Anglia Care Trust to support young vulnerable people taken into custody.
Managing the Sizewell B visitor centre, Niki has welcomed over 35,000 visitors since it opened in 2012. The majority of visits are from local schools and the centre is used to inspire and engage students in STEM subjects. Niki maintains relationships with the community and is recognised as their main point of contact for Sizewell B.Niki joined the industry, what was then the CEGB (Central Electricity Generating Board), when she was 18 just as construction work started on site. Niki went to Leiston High School (now Alde Valley Academy) and then Lowestoft College before joining the nuclear industry. Niki said: “The opportunities have been abundant and it has been amazing to be part of a company that grows and nurtures talent. Through our mentoring programme I have been able to go ‘back to school’ to encourage young people to think about a career in science, particularly girls, to share my experiences and how my learning journey started exactly where they are now.”
Goldie Sayers, Team GB Javelin Thrower: Goldie Sayers is an Olympic medallist, three-time Olympian and British record holder for the javelin (66.17m). She was also 11 times National Champion and a British Athletics team captain during an International athletics career that spanned 18 years. She competed for Great Britain at five World Championships, three European Championships and three Commonwealth Games during her career. She has been a board member of the British Olympic Association Athletes’ Commission for eight years and having retired from professional sport two years ago, she is now director of a successful property investment business as well as studying for a Masters in Sporting Directorship.
Dr Michaela Schratzberger, (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science): Michaela is a principal marine ecologist at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) in Lowestoft. Over the past 20 years, her work has focussed on the effects of environmental change on the oceans and biodiversity. Michaela was born and grew up in Germany. She decided to study natural sciences in the late 1980s when the profile of environmental issues in politics was growing across western Europe. Michaela studied Oceanography and Zoology at the University of Hamburg and went on to pursue a PhD at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory. She joined Cefas in 1999 as a newly qualified post-doctoral researcher. Over the years, Michaela has been involved in a range of research projects investigating the effects humans have on the oceans. Together with her colleagues from diverse scientific disciplines, Michaela uses the outcome from these research projects to advise the UK government on issues in relation to the UK network of Marine Protected Areas. Michaela has published a book chapter and 40 articles in scientific journals. She has also given invited keynote presentations at international conferences concerned with the protection and sustainable use of the oceans and holds an Honorary Lectureship at the University of East Anglia. In 2010, Michaela was appointed as Science Leader at Cefas, tasked with providing high-level direction for strategic investment in science to support environmental policy. As a mentor, Michaela has been inspiring the next generation of scientists by sharing her passion for science and her knowledge and experience to help others achieve their very own professional goals.
Lucy Shepherd, Adventurer: At just 26 years old, Lucy has seen more of the world than many of us could dream to. Although Lucy says Suffolk is where her heart is (she loves a walk on a crisp early morning with her German Shepherd, Cleo), she cannot resist the allure of exotic and sometimes dangerous climes. The adventurer’s travels have taken her from the Arctic, to the high altitude mountains and jungles across the globe. “I share my stories and lessons learnt through speaking events, blogs, video and photography,” she says. “I start the conversation of climate change in a non-threatening, relatable way to people who may not otherwise discuss the issues. When I am out in these wildernesses, the catastrophe that the planet is facing is all too apparent and I feel that with the access I get when on these adventures, I have a duty to get others to feel more of a responsibility as well as inspire them to get outside their comfort zone and routine.”Lucy’s most recent expeditions have been a climbing expedition to Tajikstan’s Pamir mountain range for 7,000 peaks, climbing the world’s coldest mountain (Denali in Alaska) and completing a fast-ski across the Finnsmarkvidda Plateau in Artic Norway. Next year Lucy, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and member of the Scientific Exploration Society, will take eight people on an Arctic expedition to witness the environment and experience the challenge for themselves.
Jules Shorrock, Citrus Shredding: Jules has been a business owner since 2000. After selling her business in London, Jules and her young family returned to be nearer to her parents in Lowestoft, and she has been building Beccles-based Citrus Shredding, data destruction business since then. Jules says: “This is a great time to be a service provider in Suffolk, there is a lot of help out there for growing business, and much of it is free.” Jules’ business has benefitted from publicity with multiple award wins, and in 2018 Citrus was accredited with an ISO 2017 Data Security, exceeding GDPR guidance. Operating this growing business has its challenges, most recently digitisation of all processes. This investment improves productivity and smarter client care. Jules is an ambassador for Suffolk. She has held her position as chair of Lowestoft & Waveney Chamber of Commerce for two years. This voluntary role involves setting the tone at networking meetings and leading the executive team in publicly vocalising local business concerns. Jules says: “Although infrastructure works to upgrade road and rail connections inevitably creates delays, we are entering a golden time of massive public and private investment in Lowestoft. The 3rd River Crossing will bring a lot more opportunities for the whole community.”
Karen Simpson, Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal: Karen Simpson, executive director of Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, arrived in Suffolk in August 2013 and immediately had to formulate a business plan which allowed the theatre to continue working having lost long-term funding from The Arts Council. Under her guidance, the theatre continues to thrive, gaining funds and sponsorship for specific projects, producing two shows a year, a hugely popular Christmas pantomime, and being home to mid-scale touring companies. Community ties have always been an important part of Karen’s vision for the theatre and an annual summer production and youth theatre work throughout the year provides valuable stage experience for young people. Karen was born and grew up on Merseyside before leaving home to study drama at Bretton Hall College in Yorkshire. Her father worked on the oil refineries and her mother was a professional dancer. After gaining her degree she taught before getting her first professional theatre job at the age of 23. She spent seven years as a stage manager working in and around Manchester and was resident stage manager for The Queens Theatre, Hornchurch. She then decided to move into directing and producing theatre and has been doing that ever since. Prior to taking up the role in Bury St Edmunds Karen was a creative director with Sheffield Theatres, artistic and executive director with the Oxfordshire Theatre Company as well as a producer and director of her own production company. She has also worked for Michael Grandage and Sam West at the Crucible Theatre Sheffield.
Amy Starkey, Jockey Club Racecourses: Amy has been regional director east of Jockey Club Racecourses since September 2012. She is responsible for both racecourses at Newmarket, The Rowley Mile and The Adnams July Course, as well as Huntingdon and Kempton Park Racecourses. Amy leads a team of over 50 people at Newmarket Racecourses and oversees around 90 across the eastern region of Jockey Club Racecourses. She has driven Newmarket Racecourses forward to where it is today, pushing income and profitability up across all activities. Attendance is up at all major meetings and the racecourse continues to attract 350,000 spectators each year. She also has an active involvement with the local community which has been key to the racecourse becoming much more integrated within different areas of Newmarket’s communities.
Delia Smith OBE, CBE: From humble beginnings in hairdressing and various other jobs, Suffolk resident Delia’s fascination with food perhaps began when as a young woman she’d spend hours poring over cookery books in the local library – trying recipes out on her family. This led, fortuitously, to a job at Carlton Studios where Delia would prepare food for photography, and on to cookery writing jobs in the late 60s and 70s for the Daily Mirror, Evening Standard and Radio Times. Delia was selected as the resident cook on BBC’s Look East before being offered her own show – Family Fare – which ran from 1973 to 1975. Since then Delia has released a raft of cookbooks and cookery shows (although she retired from cooking on TV in 2013) with home cooks loving her no-nonsense, clear, concise approach to food. So ingrained and loved is the cook in British culture, that through various programmes she created, unwittingly, The Delia Effect in supermarkets, which often struggled to keep up with demand once the doyenne of English cooking had recommended certain ingredients such as frozen mash. Delia was selected by Sir Peter Blake in 2012 to appear on a new version of his famous Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band album cover as a British icon. One of Delia’s passions is her beloved Norwich City FC. Alongside her husband, Delia is a majority shareholder in the club and can often be seen bathed in yellow and green rousing up support for the team.
Holly Smith, Coupon Queen: Known as the Queen of Coupons, mum of two Holly Smith has shared her money saving tips with millions. She said: “I started Couponing to save money so I could afford things for my family like holidays or luxury items. I have been very unlucky in my life since I have got many medical conditions that really can make life a struggle sometimes, these are both mental and physical problems.” Holly, who under her coupon queen banner has more than two million social media followers, reaches seven million people a week on YouTube, and has starred in a BBC documentary, was so frustrated she spoke out earlier this year against NHS cost cutting for the medication she needs for mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), a rare immunological condition which strikes around one in 150,000 people.
Faith Spear, Criminologist/campaigner: Faith Spear is a prison commentator and a campaigner for reform whose determination to highlight what she saw as the failings in the system for rehabilitating and monitoring prisoners led to her dismissal as chair of Independent Monitoring Board at Hollesley Bay open prison in Suffolk. She wrote an article under the pseudonym “Daisy Mallett”, which broke no prison rules, named neither individuals nor the prison she worked in, but in the public interest challenged the idea that monitoring boards were truly independent. In it she stated: “I am here as the public’s eyes and ears, that is my role, but my voice is silenced.” A few months after her suspension there were a string of prison riots, nonetheless, several months later she was dismissed, her message still ignored. Despite her treatment, Faith, who has a degree in criminology, has continued to campaign for prison reform and to speak out on her blog on issues facing prisoners as well as her own mistreatment. In 2017 she was nominated for The Contrarian Prize, which values independence, courage and sacrifice and honours people who go against the grain, put their head above the parapet and stand up for what they believe. Faith is a frequent face along the Suffolk coast and supports Suffolk businesses by buying local whenever possible. She is an art lover and has a growing collection of original works of local scenes by mainly Suffolk-based artists. She is married to Joseph and they have three children.
Suffolk Business Women board, Amanda Anikin, Caroline Waters, Dayle Bayliss, Ginny Idehan, Alicia Garrad, Jules Shorrock, Wendy Quantrill, Michelle Pollard, Patrice Love: Suffolk Business Women has been part of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce since 2010. Over the last eight years, because of the investment in time and expertise from Suffolk Chamber, it has increased its membership from a few dozen to over 1,500 women and men. The group exists to facilitate the contributions of women in business and wider public life to the economic and social prosperity of the county. Members believe that a diverse business community that recognises and rewards talent and hard work is most likely to be a successful business community. Through bespoke networking events and leading guest speakers, the group seeks to both inspire women to reach their full potential and encourage businesses to support greater gender equality. Its manifesto seeks to achieve three things: to maximise the talent pipeline of women at all levels of business, to showcase and raise awareness of female entrepreneurial success stories and to offer the right environments for women to share their ideas and experiences with others. In pursuing and achieving these objectives, Suffolk Business Women believe that there will be substantial benefits not only for individual businesses, but for the whole of the Suffolk business community as it seeks to deliver agile ways of working that attract new talent and inward investment.
Emily Tan, Artist: Emily Tan is one of the most innovative and naturally gifted image makers of recent times. A minimalist, a maximalist, utilising multiple techniques and mediums together with a unique style, creating art of exceptional imagination and distinction. The power of the work is founded upon her motivation as a social entrepreneur, her altruistic determination to stimulate social change and inspire positive impact. This exciting young artist is currently working with the World Wildlife Fund UK, on a series of nine, stunning, large scale animal portraitures. Each animal being personally named by celebrity ambassadors and employees of WWF UK, they will be applied across a wide range of merchandise and the original artworks will be sold in Auction. All funds raised go towards WWF. Emily has enjoyed remarkable success and international acclaim since her graduation from University Campus Suffolk in 2012. Her inclusion into the publication and national touring exhibition of The Best of British Illustrators AOI images 36, a Time Warner London [TCM] prize winner, and winner of Sappi; Ideas that matter campaign ‘Drawing Life’, testify to both her philanthropy and professional accolade, both as an artist and a designer.
Naomi Tarry, Best of Suffolk: Entrepreneurs Naomi Tarry and her husband Alex set up Best of Suffolk, marketing and renting out stylish holiday cottages, after spotting a gap in the market for boutique-style self-catering accommodation in 2006. Naomi left a career in PR at the BBC to create the start-up business and has seen it grow into one of the largest holiday lettings agencies in the county. Prior to that she worked as assistant private secretary to government ministers in London. In 2011 she won the East of England Businesswomen Entrepreneur of the Year Award and Best of Suffolk went on to win other awards for excellent customer service. She has also judged the Lloyds TSB Enterprise Awards. Naomi enjoys mentoring businesswomen starting new businesses, and has given talks to Suffolk business groups, sharing her lessons learnt and offering inspiration to people to follow their ambitions and dreams. She has served on the Chamber of Commerce’s Suffolk Businesswomen Board and was Chairman of the Aldeburgh Business Association, supporting local businesses to work closely together. More recently she set up ‘The Carrot Crew’ with friend Tanya Newton, a business running health and wellness events on topics from juicing to herbal teas. In her spare time she enjoys long walks in Suffolk with her husband Alex and their Jack Russell ‘Rosie’ as well as yoga, meditation and healthy eating. She’s a keen cyclist, most recently taking part in the Aldeburgh Fun Team Relay Triathlon. The sunrises over the sea at Aldeburgh are one of her favourite Suffolk sights, never ceasing to inspire and energise her!
Jasmine Taylor, Professional Skier: Jasmin is the first Briton to win a World Championship medal in telemark skiing. She has achieved four World Cup victories across all three disciplines and has 22 World Cup podiums to her name. Jaz is five time British Champion and 2013 French Cup Champion. She finished second in the Parallel Sprint and third in the Classic overall World Cup 2017/18 standings. Jaz joined the British Ski Academy as an athlete aged 12, competing as an alpine skier. After becoming the youngest British Ski Cross Champion ever, aged just 15, she made the England Freestyle Ski Team in 2009. It was during this time Jaz started telemark skiing, a discipline for which she showed potential on a far larger scale, competing in 2011 at her first World Junior Championship. Jaz was invited to the World Junior Championships after the British Telemark Ski Team spotted her results in the French Cup series following her frequent podium appearances. Jaz has been on the team ever since. During winter, she bases herself in Chamonix, France, and is currently training for the World Cupseason and the 2019 World Championships. Persistent and hard-working, Jaz’s exceptional talent for telemarking is matched only by her fierce determination and ambition to one day be World Champion.
Cad Taylor, Ipswich Community Media: Cad grew up in the small Suffolk village of Tunstall and says she adored the countryside but craved urban sprawl and community diversity. Having been exposed to music, art and creative people, she says she knew these elements were part of her future and she went from an art foundation to Brighton University to pursue fine art, devouring what she calls “a town loaded with energy, passion, comedy and activism”. “Returning to Suffolk wasn’t easy. Luckily I found a job as a high school teacher at Leiston. I liked this and learnt so much. After a lull working in various cafes I was encouraged to apply for a marketng job at The New Wolsey Theatre, progressing to a great opportunity working at Edinburgh Festival and then other arts organistions in Ipswich. But I felt the pull for community work and social engagement. I had already found CSV Media and taken a radio course, moving on to do a weekly radio show at ICR radio. “Times changed at our organisation, having worked on mental health projects, teaching on the learning programme and coordinating an EU funded creative project I then undertook a year long School of Social Enterprise course.” Three years ago a small team of colleagues invented Ipswich Community Media, delivering community learning, media and music projects and working with some of the most vulnerable in society. “I love it,” Cad says. “I feel extremely proud of our journey and I encourage others to follow their crazy ideas.”
Sophie Tott/Tallulah Goodtimes, DJ/Producer/Singer: An international DJ, producer and singer, Tallulah Goodtimes is known as the Queen of Electroswing. Her passion for music has shaped her life and career and has a developed a musical style of high-energy and crowd captivating performances, where she mixes vintage sounds with contemporary beats and bass. In a recent interview Tallulah explained how she got started: “To cut a very long story short. I started at 16 - I elbowed the boys off the decks to have a go, loved the very first mix I ever did, and was hooked. I got my first paid gig at 17. “In my early 20s I moved to London, and after quitting full time work, got a job in Blackmarket Records, Soho, and before long was DJing in London, and internationally.“I presented radio shows, played in clubs, composed and produced music, worked with musicians and taught DJing. After having my two kids, I’m back DJing, composing, producing and teaching and loving it more than ever.” Tallulah has amassed numerous awards in her field and shares her experience in order to teach and develop up and coming talent. Tallulah is originally from Woodbridge.
Jane Townsend, Easton and Otley College: Jane Townsend became the principal of Easton and Otley College in March 2018. She has spent 25 years in education – working predominantly in further education – as a teacher, manager, deputy principal and she is now the principal of one of the largest land-based colleges in the country. In terms of Jane’s future plans, she said, “In terms of the college, we are looking to link up with industry as much as we can to work with them to deliver courses - therefore I’m helping to create an agricultural and a military academy at the moment. Ultimately at Easton and Otley I want us to deliver the skills we need for the region and to be the best we can be.” In terms of Jane’s hobbies, she said, “Growing up, I was involved in lots of outdoor activities. We went on holidays to places like Scotland and the Lake District – so I did lots of mountaineering. I also like reading, cross stitch and puzzles. I took up skiing in later life and I’ve recently started playing golf. I like pushing myself and learning new skills.” And finally, in terms of Suffolk, she said, “I think Suffolk (and East Anglia) is a vibrant and exciting place to live and work - and a great place to do business. What has struck me the most is the collaborative way in which people work in Suffolk and East Anglia. The Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) here is very strong, leaders in the region are supportive, the backing we’ve had from local MP’s and councillors has been fantastic. This points to a real desire to be stronger together. “Outside of work, I love the wonderful coast, the amazing country pubs and restaurants – and of course the people. I have loved exploring Suffolk and I am so blessed to have this opportunity to work, live and contribute to a place that has taken a strong hold in my heart.”
Lucy Turmel, England squash player: Former Suffolk One student Lucy Turmel is leading the way for British squash players having set down some remarkable wins in her short career so far. Ranked 61 in the world, Ipswich girl Lucy (19) is a twice U19 junior champion who made her debut at the PSA London Open, taking the PSA title at the Ciutat de Barcelona Open just nine months later. Lucy is the youngest player in this year’s PSA world tour and remarkably beat world number three Nadine Shahine in September to reach the semi-finals of the Open International de Squash de Nantes. She’s definitely one to watch.
Sally Winston, Lighthouse: Sally began her career working in the field of disability. Her first management role was in a newly established group home in Leeds for adults with learning disabilities. She moved to Suffolk in 1998 to run the Head Injury Services at Rethink Disability. Rethink later changed its name to Optua and in 2003 Sally was promoted to assistant chief executive where she successfully set up a new home care service. In 2009 Sally moved on to be chief executive of Ipswich Women’s Aid. Sally remains in this role with successes including the rebranding of the organisation to Lighthouse in order to promote it as a Suffolk-wide service. As well as retaining the essential, established refuge accommodation, Sally also saw the need to raise greater awareness of domestic abuse and reach more women, young people and children across Suffolk, therefore in 2012 Lighthouse opened a women’s centre in Ipswich, providing a drop-in “one stop shop” for women and their children. The organisation now provides support to over 1,000 women, young people and children per year through this ever growing service. In 2014 Lighthouse was commissioned to establish the very high profile and successful Independent Domestic Advisor service for Suffolk and in the same year won the EADT Business Award for Community Safety and Crime prevention. Sally is married and loves nothing more than spending time with her extensive family including three sons and two granddaughters. She considers herself privileged to live in a beautiful rural area of Suffolk where she can just step out of the door and go for endless country walks with family, friends and Charlie the dog.
Laura Wright, Classical singer: Suffolk-born, former-Framlingham College student Laura Wright is one of the nation’s most popular leading classical singers. At 15 she won the BBC Radio 2 Chorister of the Year competition. A graduate of the Royal College of Music, she has been a member of all-girl group All Angels, enjoyed being the official anthem singer for England’s rugby internationals, she has sung for The Queen on numerous occasions, including at the Golden Jubilee celebrations and performed the official Commonwealth song ‘Stronger As One’ at a Commonwealth reception at Windsor as well as being a leading ambassador for fitness and getting young people involved in sport. She is an ambassador for music charity Nordoff Robbins, while also working alongside Arthritis Research UK, following her own youthful battle with the debilitating condition while at school. She is also an ambassador for SportsAid and for Prince Harry’s Invictus Games. She maintains strong links with Suffolk through friends and family and frequently collaborates with her mother artist Caroline Wright on projects. For her most recent album The Sound of Strength, she co-wrote a number of tracks, her first foray into the world of songwriting. In 2016, she also wrote ‘Heroes’; the first official anthem of the England Women’s Cricket team. She is also the first Ambassador for the Kia Women’s Cricket League. Earlier this year Laura, with fiancé Harry Rowland completed a 400km cycle ride through the wilds of Zambia, in support of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, raising thousands to help protect endangered species.