History made as the new Suffolk Medal is awarded to first three recipients
- Credit: RACHEL EDGE
Three people who have been a force for good in Suffolk over many years have been awarded the county’s highest honour.
The newly-created Suffolk Medal is the most prestigious accolade that can be made to an individual in the county.
Today, former EADT and Ipswich Star editor Terry Hunt, Canon Sally Fogden, and social activist and philanthropist Richard Martineau made history by becoming the first recipients.
Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Lady Clare Euston, spoke of the medal's significance at an investiture ceremony at the Museum of East Anglian Life, in Stowmarket.
She said: "I say this is like Suffolk's own Nobel Prize. It is Suffolk's highest honour to one of its own."
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The medal was the idea of George Vestey, Suffolk's High Sheriff in 2018-19.
He said: "While it would be to Suffolk's detriment to lose our understated character, it is nevertheless important that, as a county, we are able to recognise, champion and reward the exceptional contributions that have made a real and lasting difference to the lives of people in our county - and I hope the Suffolk Medal will help do just that."
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Yesterday's ceremony, sponsored by Adnams and Barnes Construction, was witnessed by several hundred guests.
The medal is designed by Suffolk artist Maggi Hambling, and comes in a presentation box made of Suffolk walnut handcrafted by Otis Luxton. It is administered by the Suffolk Community Foundation.
Winners were decided on by a panel chaired by the Lord Lieutenant, and including Suffolk's High Sheriff, the Police and Crime Commissioner and the chief executives of Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.
Judges said this year's recipients have made their contribution to Suffolk in a variety of ways - including outstanding leadership, ambassadorship, volunteering and philanthropy.
Those honoured each year will have their names recorded and stories told at the new Suffolk Records Office, The Hold, at Ipswich Waterfront.
- Do you know somebody who has made a positive difference in Suffolk over many years? Nominate them for a Suffolk Medal here
The recipients: Canon Sally Fogden MBE
Canon Sally Fogden MBE was a member of the first group of women to be ordained in the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich in 1994.
She was the driving force behind the Addington Fund - which helped to alleviate problems for Suffolk pig farmers during the outbreak of classical swine fever in 2000 and rural communities during the foot and mouth epidemic in 2001, for which she was appointed MBE.
As founder of the Rural Coffee Caravan, she has helped to alleviate rural loneliness and isolation, and played a key role in establishing the Meet Up Mondays initiative. She said: "It feels amazing. People say they feel humbled and I know what they mean.
"I feel this honour is very much for the charities with which I have worked.
"Suffolk is a very special county."
Terry Hunt was editor of the East Anglian Daily Times for more than 20 years until he retired in September 2017.
Now chairman of Ipswich Vision and volunteer for more than a dozen organisations - including Inspire Suffolk and St Elizabeth Hospice - the judging panel praised Terry for his unwavering support of local business, sport, education, tourism and Suffolk's voluntary sector.
He said that to be recognised with the Suffolk Medal was a proud moment - and admitted he was "amazed" when he found out he would be receiving it.
Being honoured by his home county also meant a lot to him, he added.
"There are thousands and thousands of people who do great work in Suffolk who would be very deserving recipients of the Suffolk Medal.
"I'm sure in the years to come lots of great people will have a wonderful medal like this."
Lifelong social activist Richard Martineau was honoured for his contribution to the Walsham-le-Willows community and Suffolk as a whole.
He has committed to protecting the history and character of the village by donating land and buildings to it.
In 2011 Richard decided to donate four of the blocks in the centre of the village, 12 cottages in total, to the Suffolk Community Foundation so they and the gardens around them would remain unspoilt for future generations.
Judges praised his "positive influence and philanthropic support" for Suffolk causes - saying they would be felt for "hundreds of years to come".
After receiving his medal, he said he felt "immense pride", but also surprise that he had been nominated.
"It makes you feel humble because there are more people out there doing much better things than you."