Suffolk's Peggy - now on video

FILM stars, sports personalities and fitness instructors have documented their lives on video for their fans. Joining them now is the story of quintessential Suffolk countrywoman Peggy Cole with a video and DVD illustrated with her own collection of historic photographs.

FILM stars, sports personalities and fitness instructors have documented their lives on video for their fans.

Joining them now is the story of quintessential Suffolk countrywoman Peggy Cole with a video and DVD illustrated with her own collection of historic photographs.

Her popularity as a newspaper columnist with the EADT, a radio presenter with Radio Suffolk and a grandmother who knows everything about country life will reach a wider audience through a 65-minute film.

Lesley Dolphin, a Radio Suffolk presenter, teamed up with Peggy to produce A Country Life – The Story of Peggy Cole. It is made by Second Sight Productions of Tiptree, Essex.


You may also want to watch:


The film tells Peggy's story, a woman from a humble background born at Easton, near Woodbridge, who became world famous for her garden at Akenfield, Charsfield.

She met royalty – Princess Margaret came to her council house garden and impressed Peggy with her use of Latin names for flowers. She flew to America to give talks on gardens and she lectured on board the QE2.

Most Read

But she did not let fame go to her head. Peggy has always been content to busy herself in making thousands of pots of marmalade, pick sloes at Tunstall and loganberries at Sudbourne, and pass down country folklore.

She was praised by her late husband, Ernie, who was a gravedigger when they met, as a "true Suffolk mawther", who could turn her hand to anything.

Her love of the countryside shines through in the video, which is partly filmed at Helmingham Hall, and there are scenes of Peggy making marmalade, lemonade and parsnip wine, and selling her produce at the WI Market in Woodbridge.

She recollects a traditional agricultural lifestyle living in a tied cottage nearly 70 years ago and talks about her life in Hoo, Levington, Charsfield and at her current home in Melton.

There are also scenes taken on board the boat Jesus with Rev John Waller, of Waldringfield, as they go looking for samphire, a vegetable growing on marshes, on the River Deben.

Peggy recalls how she was given notification of an MBE for her services to community and charity (she raised more than £60,000 by opening her garden) while she was preparing for a church fete.

Viewers also learn about Peggy's role in the feature film Akenfield, based on Ronald Blythe's account of life in a fictional village.

Peggy, of Riverview, Dock Lane, Melton, said: "I am very pleased with the film. I like nostalgia and the film goes back to how life was. It brings a lot of memories back for me with my parents, their hard times and tied cottages.

"I love the garden at Helmingham Hall and I asked Lady Tollemache if we could go there. It was a very hot day in summer when we made the film."

Peggy was originally going to film a video several years ago about making preserves. That project did not come to fruition and Peggy bought the film that had been taken and received advice from a friend, Chris Miller, of Ipswich.

He is the new video's assistant producer and Mr Miller said Peggy had remained unaffected by her "personality" status.

Peggy will sign copies on Saturday, December 6 from 10am to 12 noon at Grange Farm shop, Grundisburgh Road, Hasketon, and from 2pm to 4pm at the Ipswich Tourist Information Office, St Stephen's Lane.

The video can be ordered from Second Sight Productions on 01621 817114. It is also available at the Museum of East Anglian Life, Stowmarket, Wickham Market post office and H Crisp, 27 High Street, Saxmundham, IP17 1AF.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter