Brown to join other celebrities at hall

GORDON Brown will be greeted by David Beckham, Madonna and Kylie Minogue when he arrives at Shadingfield Hall, near Halesworth, for his summer break. But the stately home hasn't made an embarrassing double-booking.

Mark Lord

GORDON Brown will be greeted by David Beckham, Madonna and Kylie Minogue when he arrives at Shadingfield Hall, near Halesworth, for his summer break.

But the stately home hasn't made an embarrassing double-booking. The beautiful house and grounds were bought by celebrity photographer Dave Hogan just a year ago and his works adorn the walls of the Grade II listed building.

It was officially opened on Tuesday in a grand ceremony hosted by Mr Hogan and his wife Janice, and the Brown family will be among the first holidaymakers to stay at the luxurious self-catering accommodation, which sleeps 22.


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It costs £4,500 a week to stay at the hall, but for that the PM will get the run of the beautiful property and its five-acre grounds.

Mr Hogan, an acclaimed photographer for The Sun and Getty Images, made headlines himself in 1985 when he was run over by Madonna while trying to take her picture.

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The hall was built between 1806 and 1814 after it was commissioned by a local landowner, Thomas Charles Scott, and is a prime example of Regency architecture.

Aside from holidays, it is also available for weddings, functions and conferences and, of course, photo shoots.

Maggi Digby, from EADT Suffolk magazine, attended the official opening party on Tuesday. Describing the hall, she said: “It is simply the most glorious, stunning country house and I cannot think of anywhere better to spend a summer evening.

“The house has been beautifully refurbished with a wealth of original features and has magnificent views from every window of the Suffolk countryside.

“Around every corner you see someone famous looking back at you from Dave Hogan's work and in the study there is the famous picture of Madonna kissing Britney Spears.

“It is certainly a house fit for any Prime Minister, although it is very grand it also manages to be cosy at the same time.”

Marion Anthony, owner of Heritage Hideaways the company which organises the leasing of Shadingfield Hall, said: “Yes we have heard the rumours about Mr Brown staying here too, but obviously I cannot confirm or deny these.”

Other locations which were mooted as possible holiday homes for the PM included Henham Park and Heveningham Hall, both near Halesworth.

Shadingfield is nine miles from Southwold and is close to many of the area's tourist attractions and the historic towns of Halesworth and Beccles.

Shadingfield's only pub, the Fox Inn, is owned by Matt Mills, who said: “Mr Brown and his family can certainly expect a warm welcome from us. If they were to come here they could enjoy our fine selection of traditional ales and our excellent food which uses mainly local produce.

“We are used to have high profile diners here, we were recently visited by Richard Curtis and Emma Freud and can assure the Browns that they would be treated the same as any other customer.”

Eileen and John Reeve were yesterday visiting the village for the first time in more than 20 years and thoroughly recommended the area to the Prime Minister.

Mr Reeve said: “We used to come to the Fox quite often when we lived in the area before moving away in the 1980s, it is nice to come back and the pub is looking better than ever and if Mr Brown and his family wanted to have a quiet drink in a lovely village pub they couldn't ask for a better location than this.”

His wife added: “We would thoroughly recommend it and the area to the Prime Minister. The countryside around here is really beautiful and it's easy to get to many of the lovely places there are in this part of Suffolk.”

SHADINGFIELD is home to about 60 properties and an impressive church.

St John the Baptist has Norman origins with a 15th Century tower which peers over the A145 road from Beccles to Blythburgh.

Inside, the church contains carvings and medieval wall paintings and boasts a Tudor brick porch.

Shadingfield has its own village hall, known locally as the Abbey, which was originally built as a mission hall in the 1890s but is now used for a variety of community activities.

The picturesque village also still boasts its own pub, the Shadingfield Fox Inn in London Road, which has undergone extensive refurbishment.

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