More things about Suffolk that make us happy!
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Reasons to be cheerful, Part Two – including Town’s play-off triumph
Can it really be nearly 20 years since Ipswich Town’s famous play-off victory won George Burley’s men a place in the Premiership? Monday, May 29, 2000 seems like yesterday.
The Blues came from behind to beat Barnsley 4-2. It was Town’s fourth play-off appearance on the trot, but the only time they reached the final.
What we’d give for that now.
Where eagles fly
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For about a quarter of a century it was an annual weekend when we could get up close to some of the United States’ most potent aircraft and watch some of them command the skies.
It was exciting to get within touching distance of once-secret planes such as the stealth fighter and bomber during the air show at RAF Mildenhall.
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The air fetes began in 1976. Anxiety about security – following 9/11 - brought a halt. Shame.
Generations of children grew up knowing the Suffolk Show was a chance to enjoy the noise and colour of Trinity Park (or the Suffolk Showground in old money) while collecting as many free stickers and cardboard hats as you could.
It’s the biggest celebration of all that is good about Suffolk: a chance to put our food and farming heritage on a pedestal.
It will come back in 2021, as good as ever!
Yesterday, once more
It makes us proud to see famous names loving Suffolk as much as we do – and shouting about it.
That’s what writer and local homeowner Richard (Notting Hill/Four Weddings) Curtis did last year with film Yesterday – the tale of a struggling singer-songwriter in a seaside town.
After a bus accident he awakes to find The Beatles never existed. By performing great songs only he knows, can he become a star?
There were nine days of filming in Suffolk – with famous faces such as director Danny Boyle and actor Lily James.
Spot Halesworth, Shingle Street, The Ramsholt Arms pub on the Deben, Lowestoft and Dunwich. There’s also the Latitude festival at Henham.
Richard Curtis enjoyed filming in his adopted county. “There’s so many lovely places and people, everybody’s happy and they don’t go off to their wild lives and distractions of London,” he said.
The motorcycle sport of speedway isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it hasn’t half raised Suffolk’s profile.
The Ipswich Witches won the league in 1975 and 1976, with knockout cup triumphs (like football’s FA Cup) in 1976, 1978 and 1981. In 1984 they did the double. In 1998 they swept all before them. Heady days on Foxhall Heath.
Best Christmas market. Prague? Cologne? Vienna? We wouldn’t swap them for Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre.
There is a magical atmosphere, with 300 stalls in the medieval streets and Abbey Gardens. Little wonder it was crowned Best Large Specialty Market at the Great British Market Awards 2020.
The 2020 fayre is from November 26 to 29.
Twenty years ago, if you told someone of your dream that 40,000 people flocked to a field in rural Suffolk and were entertained by stars such as George Ezra, Stereophonics, Lana Del Rey and Katherine Ryan, they’d suggest you’d had too much late-night cheese. But, from 2006, it’s been no dream.
It looks pie-in-the-sky if written down as an idea on paper, but the human spirit isn’t measured by analytics. Anyone who has been to Henham Park on Latitude weekend will have felt the thrill.
Now for Europe
Bobby Robson’s Ipswich Town were seasoned European campaigners by 1981 – and it showed.
Domestic FA Cup triumph at Wembley began the greatest chapter in the club’s history three years earlier, and an aggregate victory in Amsterdam in May, 1981, wrote the final page.
The Blues had beaten Dutch side AZ Alkmaar 3-0 in the first leg at Portman Road, and then secured a 5-4 aggregate victory at the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam despite a 2-4 defeat in the second leg.