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National Trust and Kraft Heinz celebrate Suffolk milestone

PUBLISHED: 15:12 27 March 2018 | UPDATED: 15:12 27 March 2018

Nigel Dickie, Kraft Heinz Co's director of corporate and government affairs europe, and Inga Grimsey, chair of the National Trust's east of England regional advisory committee, hold the original Dunwich Heath sign as 50th anniversary guests look on.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Nigel Dickie, Kraft Heinz Co's director of corporate and government affairs europe, and Inga Grimsey, chair of the National Trust's east of England regional advisory committee, hold the original Dunwich Heath sign as 50th anniversary guests look on. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Dunwich Heath anniversary marked by launch of memories project

Flashback to 1968 - the Earl of Euston, centre, unveils the National Trust's Dunwich Heath sign with the site's first warden Jack Docrwa, watched by HJ Heinz' managing director Anthony Beresford. Picture: NATIONAL TRUSTFlashback to 1968 - the Earl of Euston, centre, unveils the National Trust's Dunwich Heath sign with the site's first warden Jack Docrwa, watched by HJ Heinz' managing director Anthony Beresford. Picture: NATIONAL TRUST

Memories made on bygone days under the magical spell cast by the National Trust’s Dunwich Heath are being gathered in a research project launched to celebrate a milestone in the area’s long and eventful history.

Fifty years to the day since the trust took on the care of one of the Suffolk coast’s most popular and important areas of internationally rare lowland heath habitat, the project was launched to mark the anniversary of the wildlife-rich and scenically stunning site’s hand-over to the trust.

On March 27, 1968, the trust took on the care of 250 acres of heathland and a mile of cliffs and beach following a £12,000 donation from HJ Heinz Co Ltd - a gift that is the equivalent of about £207,533 today. The donation was to the trust’s national Enterprise Neptune campaign to acquire and manage stretches of the UK’s coastline. At the time, it was the campaign’s largest corporate donation and it enabled the trust’s land acquisition from the Dunwich Town Trust.

Yesterday the 1968 cliff-top ceremony was echoed - with the help of a “prop” from the very day. Originally, the trust’s East Anglian regional committee chairman the Earl of Euston unveiled a sign with HJ Heinz’s managing director Anthony Beresford and Jack Docwra, the first warden of the new nature reserve.

The same sign - bearing a former trust logo and no longer in use - featured in yesterday’s celebration, proudly held by Nigel Dickie, corporate and government affairs director for what is now the Kraft Heinz Company, and Inga Grimsey, who chairs the trust’s East of England regional advisory committee.

Launching the historical research project, the trust’s east Suffolk general manager Nick Collinson told guests: “Research by the National Trust has previously shown that for many people, some of their happiest memories are of days spent visiting the coast. People have very strong, very happy and life-long memories of visiting the beach, where they learn about nature and the countryside and for us caring for such special places as Dunwich Heath means really getting to know what it is that makes them so loved by the people that visit here.”

The trust was appealing for people’s memories, stories, anecdotes and images of Dunwich Heath and beach so that an archive of its rich and deeply important social, military and natural history could be established, he said. They could be sent to dunwichheath@nationaltrust.org.uk

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