Gallery: Suffolk steps out in style on day one of the show - are you featured in one of our photos?
Town meets country with style and substance as Trinity Park basks in glorious spring sunshine. Lynne Mortimer reports on day one at the Suffolk Show.
IT is 7.30am and Suffolk is at its best. Trinity Park Showground sits under a clear blue sky, flags flutter in the light breeze and the showground is already buzzing.
Mother and daughter Jane Kemball and Kate Baker, wife of show director, Bill, are among the early birds.
By lunchtime, families are picnicking on the grass, children are running about in the sunshine and the show ring spectators are standing two or three deep to watch the show jumping.
Among the first visitors today are “wouldn’t-miss-it” Tilly Smith, Nick Meakin, Emma Meakin and Beth Scrogie. They’re a horse-owning family and love to watch the showjumping. A number of people have their showground maps out and are studying them before committing to a direction. “I’m sure we’ll find the pigs soon,” I overhear a dad reassuring his young son.
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The Pink Ladies for Breast Cancer tractor run is an annual fundraiser which has raised over £400,000 for breast cancer research since 2004. Helen Farrar, Annie Chapman and Lynne Ainge climb aboard a 1950 David Brown Cropmaster for a picture. The next run is in the Waveney Valley on July 5.
In the fashion aisles of Fifth Avenue, Holland Cooper, which began in Suffolk and has a factory in Suffolk sells luxury British-made clothing for men and women. Jade Holland-Cooper is wearing a tweed and fur cape (£1,000) originally made for Harrods and Henry Crudge is sporting a tweed jacket (£549) and waistcoat (£249) two-piece.
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Angie Ashby-Hoare is stewarding Fifth Avenue with, for the first time, her daughter Lucy. This is Lucy’s second year as a steward – last year she was on car parks. Angie is wearing a Vilagallo coat from Collen & Clare at Southwold and a fascinator from the Wedding Shop at Bungay. Lucy has a H&M coat and dress, a hat from Genevieve, in Southwold and carries a Mulberry bag from Collen and Clare.
At the EDF Energy stand, community officer Nicki Rousseau is in a Phase Eight dress and has an impressive pair of diamante-studded wellies from Minnies in Chelmsford, which is the boutique owned by TOWIE sisters Sam and Billie Faiers. Nicki’s jacket (“this old thing!”) is from Next.
Mike Staff, programme leader of Suffolk New College always wears a bowtie. Today it is navy with red spots, tomorrow it will be different. Also impressively turned out is East Anglian Daily Times reader Stanley Last, who, is in his early 80s. He wears shorts under a vibrant red shirt, set off by a satin waistcoat and accessorised with a straw hat with a red band and red socks. Meanwhile, tractor fan 20-month-old Louis Huckle, at the show with his mum Catherine, has a sun hat and wears a smart shirt, denims, patterned shoes and a back-pack with integral reins.
This year marks the Women’s Institute centenary year and WI members have, once again been scone-baking for Suffolk. Jane Sago, cook and cookery book writer, is currently Chairman of Suffolk East WI and she has a new book out, More Simply Delicious, which is on sale in the WI marquee. Amanda Bowden is a Willf (WI Lovely Ladies of Felixstowe). She does retro with panache having made her 50s-style dress. She is also wearing a Fifties hair-style authentic 1950s spectacle frames with new prescription lenses.
I am thrilled to meet actor Hugh Fraser who is at the show to highlight the work of the Suffolk charity Lapwing, of which he is a patron. Lapwing provides individual learning programmes in many different disciplines for young people who have complex barriers to learning
As Hugh Fraser is the man who not only played the Duke of Wellington in the series Sharpe and was also Captain Hastings in Poirot, with David Suchet – two of my absolute favourite series – I cannot let this moment pass and, more than a little starstruck, I whisk him away for a chat over a cup of coffee.
It turns out that as well as living in Woodbridge, having appeared in rep at the Ipswich Arts Theatre and having starred in such series as Edward and Mrs Simpson and Edge of Darkness, Hugh also plays guitar and bass. “Actually I’m in a band at the moment.” Notably, he co-wrote the theme tune to the iconic children’s show Rainbow. Amazing.
His association with Lapwing began when, about three years ago, he volunteered to take part in a co-production between Lapwing and Aldeburgh Music, which worked with teenagers with complex needs. “I witnessed the extraordinary development when teenagers with complex needs get one to one attention.
“One girl was completely mute and then, after nine months, she stood on stage, reciting, with help a poem she had written.” A young man who had not spoken for years wrote and directed a film and was persuaded to say ‘action’ on set,” says Hugh. “So when I was asked to be a patron, I was honoured to accept.”