Dear Ipswich, I hope you are having a great week.
I say that I am born and bred Ipswich, but that is not quite true. I was born in Newmarket but moved to the town aged 6 weeks when my father was promoted. Dad was a police officer and worked his career in Suffolk, ending as Chief Superintendent. I am so very proud that he was well known and liked around the County.
When he was based in Ipswich, I remember visiting the then Police Station in Elm Street with my younger sister to see him, and especially the wonderful Christmas parties that were put on for all the kids each year. Mum worked at LV or ‘Liverpool Victoria’ as it was in Princes Street (above the now Suffolk Building Society) and we also spent time there, playing with the typewriters and old-fashioned adding machines.
Having an August birthday meant that my childhood parties were based around Holywell’s Park or Broomhill pool. Special sunny summer days for picnics and fun. I also remember the buzz of dad and his friends going to see the ‘78 cup final and of being very tired after long days at the Suffolk Show.
We wore too much makeup and neon clothing but remain as close today as we did back then. Ipswich gave me my dearest friends for life.
I enjoyed school and am grateful for a good education, firstly at St Johns’ primary, then Copleston and Northgate (there was no sixth form at Copleston in those days). Times may have been different in the 80’s, but the quality Ipswich state schools gave me a great base for University and an Executive career in Shipping and Logistics/Supply Chain – the powerhouse local industry so often overlooked.
Teenage years were fun. My close bunch of friends and I practically lived in ‘The Golf’ on Foxhall Road, or at ‘Cindy’s’ in town and lived ‘coffee culture’ before it even really existed, in ‘The Anglian Coffee Shop’ and ‘Oliver’s’. We wore too much makeup and neon clothing but remain as close today as we did back then. Ipswich gave me my dearest friends for life.
It is not all about looking back though.
I have chosen and continue to choose to live in Ipswich, the County Town and hopefully future City in which I passionately believe.
Our Town has so much to offer and so many hidden gems beyond the town centre. It saddens me that so many of its residents are so negative publicly on social media about our fantastic hometown and do not stop to consider everything that we have on our doorstep. Aside from the fantastic football club and Waterfront, our performing arts venues are multiple and growing, our parks are outstanding, our indie retailers varied, our organisations, churches and charities caring for our diverse and inclusive communities, our beautiful buildings in the centre, our history and maritime heritage are all so important to our overall identity.
Embracing and nurturing what we have in Ipswich now is important for the future of the whole town and as we grow and thrive together as proud residents in one rich, diverse community.
We must seize the moment in this world of change to build on what we already have, and to get behind the multiple and varied initiatives to increase Ipswich’s value both locally and from a tourist perspective as Suffolk’s beating heart. My hope is that future Ipswich generations grow up like I did – to be educated and proud of their hometown and wanting to actively contribute to its future.
Team Member, Ipswich.love