13 of Ed Sheeran’s best moments in 2019
- Credit: Archant
World tours, pizza ovens, Stormzy, ketchup... Ed Sheeran has had a memorable 2019 - here’s his best bits.
1. Ed's Chantry Park homecoming gigs
In case you missed it, 150,000 people visited Chantry Park over the August Bank Holiday for four days for Ed Sheeran's most anticipated UK shows.
Some fans had tickets for two, three or all four shows, queueing for hours and travelling from across Europe and even Australia to soak up the atmosphere at these special concerts. Friend and collaborator Stormzy appeared on the Sunday night as a special guest.
The shows marked the end of a two-year world tour and were followed by the announcement that Ed would be taking a well-earned break from music.
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2. Ed's Made in Suffolk exhibition
Opening at the same time as his landmark concerts, Ipswich's Christchurch Mansion was filled with family memories, never-before-seen photos and relics of Ed's rise to fame for the Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk exhibition.
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Alongside pictures of his earliest performances, including one to an audience of one from the side of a flatbed truck, there are framed records and costumes used in videos when he has collaborated with some of the world's biggest stars.
Curated by his father and open until May 3, the exhibition is free to enter but bookings must be made in advance.
3. The Ed Sheeran Daily Times
After 45,681 issues and for the first time in the 145-year history of the East Anglian Daily Times, the newspaper changed its masthead in honour of Ed's four Ipswich gigs.
The newspaper contained a 20-page commemorative souvenir pullout and was ordered by fans from around the world, quickly selling out and soon popping up for sale on online auction sites. Second-hand copies will now cost much more than the original 95p cover price.
Also on the front page was GCSE results day coverage and a stellar interview with Ipswich Town FC's Kayden Jackson, who had just days prior scored an injury-time winner against AFC Wimbledon.
4. Ed's very own Elmer
Anyone who visited Ipswich this summer found dozens of colourful elephants on the street as part of the art trail, Elmer's Big Parade Suffolk.
Among the patchwork animals was one artwork called 'Castle on the Hill', a tribute to Ed's career displayed on the Ipswich Cornhill. It was later sold for £10,000 and signed by Sheeran, with the money going towards St Elizabeth's Hospice.
Following the Pigs Gone Wild art trail in 2016, Ed himself bought his porky likeness, Ed Sheer-ham, for £6,200.
5. Ed's Yesterday cameo
Somehow finding time in his tour schedule to work with legendary British director Richard Curtis, Ed appeared in blockbuster movie Yesterday, which was filmed in Suffolk this year.
Featuring the music of The Beatles, the main character Jack Malik, played by Himesh Patel, suddenly finds fame and meets Ed on a private jet. They later record a new single called 'Hey Jude'.
6. Ed's planning permission saga
Ed has been busy developing his estate close to his home village of Framlingham. In March, Suffolk Coastal District Council concluded that his wildlife pond - with steps, handrail and jetty - was not in fact a swimming pool, despite complaints from neighbours it was being used as one.
In April, he was ordered to remove a caravan (which had been converted into a sauna) and a pub sign after they were erected without permission. This was overturned on appeal in June.
Then in August Ed was given approval for an outdoor kitchen, complete with a brick-clad pizza oven big enough to cook three pizzas at once. And lastly in November, he was granted permission to construct a prayer hall in the shape of a boat.
7. Ed's surprise appearance with Snow Patrol
Since performing in Suffolk in August, Ed has spent more time in the county recuperating after his Divide world tour.
A guest at Snow Patrol's November show at the Ipswich Regent, the band invited him on to sing with lead singer Gary Lightbody for their mega-hit Chasing Cars.
8. Ed's Tomato Edchup
Shoppers were able to get their hands on Tomato Edchup in 2019 - a rebranded Heinz ketchup featuring a tomato wearing glasses and a leafy fringe - in supermarkets across the UK.
However, 150 super limited edition signed bottles of ketchup, with a unique bottle design inspired by Ed's tattoos, were sold to raise money for East Anglian Children's Hospice (EACH). Sheeran has been an ambassador for EACH since 2014.
Three were auctioned off by Christie's and another 100 were given away in a charity raffle, with the remaining 50 donated to museums across the world.
9. Ed signs for Ipswich and Framlingham Town
Unveiling his own Ipswich Town kit in the days before his Chantry Park gigs, Tractor Boy Ed had queues out the door of his pop-up shop in Ipswich's Buttermarket with fans trying to get a limited edition shirt with the 'Divide' tour logo in place of the Magical Vegas sponsor.
But Ed had a secret second shirt, a replica of Framlingham Town FC, which he revealed on the last night of his four Ipswich shows - demand for the shirt was so high the club's website crashed due to the number of visitors and customers are still being asked to wait three weeks for delivery due to high demand, even today.
10. Ed's charity shop donations
A big supporter of St Elizabeth's Hopsice, EACH and other charities in the region, Ed often donates clothes and old belongings to their shops to sell or auction.
This year alone has seen him donate clothes to a new EACH shop in Woodbridge, tour merchandise to a Sue Ryder shop in Ipswich, and 300 items of clothing to a St Elizabeth's Hospice shop in Framlingham.
11-ish... Ed's marriage reveal
Technically married in the last few days of 2018, the news of Sheeran's marriage to childhood sweetheart and girlfriend of four years, Cherry Seaborn, only broke in February 2019.
The pair were married in the company of a priest and their oldest school friends in their Suffolk estate - electing to have a more intimate ceremony rather than a star-studded bash.
The pair threw a star-studded bash in a big top circus tent in a secret Suffolk location in September instead.
12. Ed's Suffolk Music Foundation
With a surprise announcement on Instagram on December 23, the superstar revealed he was founding the Ed Sheeran Suffolk Music Foundation.
In the video he posted, he said: "The reason I'm doing it in Suffolk is it's the area that I grew up, I still live here, I learnt to play music here and I feel like I've had a lot of support from the area and I want to give some support back."
Ed said the aim of the grants are to help with buying an instrument, music studies, vocal lessons, rehearsals, gigs and more. In order to get involved with the Ed Sheeran Suffolk Music Foundation, youngsters are asked to register their interest here before applying online.
13. Ed's taking a break
After one of his busiest years to date, Ed also shared on his Instagram account a note to tell his 32.2million followers he will be stepping back from music until further notice and will not be posting on social media in the meantime.
In the note he said: "To my family and friends, see ya when I see ya - and to my fans, thank you for always being amazing, I promise to be back with some new music when the time is right and I've lived a little more to actually have something to write about."