The woman putting her faith in Bury St Edmunds high street

Anna Park is opening her new store in Abbeygate Street, Bury St Edmunds

Anna Park is opening her new store in Abbeygate Street, Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Archant

Fashionista Anna Park started her clothing retail empire ANNA in 1993 and now has six stores across East Anglia and London. Anna was born in Fordham, schooled in Suffolk and has a home in Burnham Market. She launched her own collection ‘Primrose Park London’ in 2014 which she wholesales to over 100 stores across the UK, Scandinavia, and Australia, making Anna one of the most successful retailers in the country. Anna, whose latest store is in Abbeygate Street, Bury St Edmunds, talks to Gina Long.

Anna Park, left, at her new flagship store with the Bury St Edmunds with the team, from second left,

Anna Park, left, at her new flagship store with the Bury St Edmunds with the team, from second left, Sarah Jane Clarke, Jo Ferguson and Amy Underwood Picture: JOHN NICE - Credit: Archant

What is your connection to East Anglia?

I am a Suffolk girl born and bred in Newmarket.

What is your East Anglian Heaven ie what do you love most about East Anglia?

I love Norfolk, particularly the coastline between Brancaster and Stiffkey. I am a regular runner along the coastal path and also a frequent swimmer at Overy Staithe.


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What is your East Anglian Hell ie what you hate most about living here?

The public transport links. When we have visitors coming to stay, the trains are regularly delayed or cancelled. My husband has given up on the train service now.

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What's your favourite East Anglian restaurant?

Probably Socius in Burnham Market for a gourmet experience.

The Brewers at Rattlesden, great pub food, perfect Sunday Roast

What's your favourite way to spend an East Anglian evening?

Watching the evening tide at Overy Staithe, a walk on the sea wall followed by supper at my brother's home in Overy.

What's your favourite East Anglian landmark?

Bury Cathedral and Abbey Gardens.

What's the best thing that happens in East Anglia every year?

Norfolk Superhero Challenge, I'm taking part this year, 10 years after the first one I did.

What's your specialist Mastermind subject?

The life and times of Audrey Hepburn. I totally love her.

What is always in your fridge?

Almond milk and blueberries.

What's your simple philosophy of life?

Don't sweat the small stuff.

What's your favourite film?

Saturday Night Fever and ET!!

What was your first job?

Working as a chef in a pub in Shiplake near Henley on Thames. I lived in and I hated it.

What is your most treasured possession?

My mother's sapphire and diamond ring that she wore every day until she died. I can't wear it, but I love looking at it when I think of her.

Who do you admire most?

My husband. He's had such an interesting life and he has met so many people from every walk of life, so he always has a great story to tell. Nothing ever seems to faze him.

What is your biggest indulgence?

Handbags! I've got loads and I just can't stop buying them. A recent purchase, of a Dior saddle bag, was an obscene price. I do recycle though, selling any older bags on second-hand/vintage premium websites.

What do you like about yourself most?

I'm generous..

What's your worst character trait?

Too generous..

Where is your favourite holiday destination?

Greece, I love Greece. My family and I take a house for a few weeks somewhere in Greece every year, through a Greek website called Whitekeyvillas. This year we went to Kea which was fabulous.

Best day of your life?

Probably my wedding day. Definitely the luckiest day of my life.

What's your favourite breakfast?

I don't eat breakfast, as I do intermittent fasting. So I don't eat until midday, then I stuff myself with whatever is at hand.

What's your favourite tipple?

I gave up drinking alcohol about two years ago, so now I love a Seed lip with fever tree elderflower tonic....but when I did drink I was partial to a Martini.

What's your hidden talent?

I can put my fist in my mouth!

When were you most embarrassed?

When telling you and your readers, that I can put my fist in my mouth!

What's your earliest memory?

Feeding the ducklings at my first family home. We had a river at the bottom of the garden. I must have been about three.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Make Me a Channel of Your Peace. It's a hymn that we played at my father's and my mother's funerals.

Tell us something people don't know about you?

I hate cotton wool. I can't touch it. It makes my skin crawl.

What's the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?

That my mother has cancer

Tell us why you live here?

I love Norfolk and Suffolk. I love the bleakness of Norfolk in winter and the glorious beaches in summer, endless sand dunes and no one about!

What would you like to tell our readers about most?

I have a new shop in Bury St Edmunds. We relocated to fabulous premises on Abbeygate Street. Please do consider visiting Bury St Edmunds. It's a fantastic medieval market town, with lots of heritage and wonderful shops and restaurants. We need to keep our small market towns thriving and unless locals continue to use the town the centres, they will sadly diminish. www.shopatanna.comTo follow Gina Long @geewizzgee1.

To be considered for being featured in Gina's Q & A Email: gina@ hallfarmfornham.com

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