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Why we should celebrate our county with Suffolk Day

PUBLISHED: 06:00 31 March 2017 | UPDATED: 10:58 31 March 2017

Orford Castle - part of Suffolk's rich and fascinating history

Orford Castle - part of Suffolk's rich and fascinating history

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This year will mark the very first Suffolk Day - being held on Wednesday, June 21 - to celebrate our wonderful county.

Rows of colourful houses on Aldeburgh seafrontRows of colourful houses on Aldeburgh seafront

Suffolk Day will be an opportunity to celebrate Suffolk’s history, art and culture, cutting edge technology, stunning coastline, wildlife, food and drink, businesses, sport, university – the list goes on and on.

The launch of Suffolk Day is being spearheaded by the EADT, Ipswich Star and BBC Radio Suffolk, and has the support of a wide range of organisations throughout the county.

It’s based on a highly successful model in Yorkshire, where a special day has been running for more than 40 years. Every year on August 1, organisations throughout Yorkshire hold events, and demonstrate their pride in their county.

Now we’re asking for Suffolk to do the same. You could show your support by flying the flag - either the St Edmund flag or the Suffolk County Council flag. If you run a restaurant, you could have a special menu, serving only Suffolk ingredients. If you own a tourist attraction, you could set up special events.

BBC Radio Suffolk presenter Mark Murphy and his colleagues are set to celebrate the first ever Suffolk DayBBC Radio Suffolk presenter Mark Murphy and his colleagues are set to celebrate the first ever Suffolk Day

It’s a great opportunity for schools to combine fun activities with learning about local history. Perhaps our local brewers could come up with a special Suffolk ale? The possibilities are endless.

Mark Murphy, of BBC Radio Suffolk’s breakfast show, said: “We live in the best county in the country, but I’ve always felt we don’t shout loudly enough about how great it is. I was very envious last year after hearing that Yorkshire has a special day and floated the idea on air that we should have a Suffolk Day. Everyone who got in touch thought it was a great idea.

“So, being the sunrise county with Brtain’s most easterly point, we plumped for the summer solstice of June 21 as the date for the first Suffolk Day.

“It’s a day when we can get together and shout about our history and heritage, our arts and culture, our innovation, our business and the fact that we live in a beautiful part of the world. At BBC Radio Suffolk we’ll be hosting a day full of outside broadcasts, from Newmarket to Lowestoft, showcasing all that’s great about Suffolk. It would be great to see you involved too.’’

Tim Holder from the Suffolk Community Foundation is supporting Suffolk DayTim Holder from the Suffolk Community Foundation is supporting Suffolk Day

Tim Holder, development director at Suffolk Community Foundation, said: “We all love Suffolk, it is the most incredible county, the greatest county of all in many ways. It’s a great idea to come together to celebrate all that is fantastic about it.’’

He called for Suffolk Day to “shine a light’’ on the 60,000 volunteers who work hard for 2,600 charities in Suffolk. He said that, as well as celebrating, the day should also highlight the needs of our county. “Let’s be honest about the challenges and do something positive about them and not simply gloss over them or airbrush them out. Let’s put people at the heart of Suffolk Day, and let’s all work together to create new ways to make it and us stronger’’

Sarah Howard, MBE, president of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “What a great idea! Suffolk Chamber of commerce backs Suffolk Day because it will allow us to do that very un-Suffolk thing - talk about what makes this fine county so great.

“From a business perspective, Suffolk Day provides us with a chance to show others what a successful, dynamic and diverse economy we have here.”

Abbeygate Street in Bury St Edmunds is a popular area for visitors.Abbeygate Street in Bury St Edmunds is a popular area for visitors.

Audrey Ludwig, director of legal services at the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE), said: “ISCRE very much welcomes the idea of Suffolk Day, as it will allow us and others to tell the often overlooked story as to how much the county owes to generations of migrants. We hope that the present-day Suffolk family of communities will use the opportunity of Suffolk Day to celebrate the county’s diversity as an enduring strength and something to be really proud of.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “We’re firmly behind the idea of holding a Suffolk Day, celerating with community partners. We have so many things to be proud of in Suffolk. It’s not always in our nature to shout about things, but this is a great opportunity for communities to come together in celebration of our great county.”

Yorkshire Day has been celebrated on August 1 every year since 1975. Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “Now in its 42nd year, Yorkshire Day gets bigger every year with hundreds of events right across the county.”

• We want to hear your great ideas for Suffolk Day. Email BBC Radio Suffolk or get in touch with us here at the EADT and Ipswich Star. We look forward to hearing from you.

A deer pictured at Suffolk's world-famous RSPB Minsmere reserve. Picture: Liz NicksonA deer pictured at Suffolk's world-famous RSPB Minsmere reserve. Picture: Liz Nickson

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