Haverhill is “proud” to host Suffolk Day, where the town comes alive with singing, dancing and presentations
Haverhill is “proud” to host Suffolk Day, where the town comes alive with singing, dancing and presentations

Haverhill’s market square was bustling with activity this morning as the town became the centre of this year’s Suffolk Day celebrations.

Organised by the Suffolk Community Foundation and Haverhill City Council, the day’s theme was “Achieving More in 24 Hours”, which was reflected in, among other things, the specially commissioned art on display, courtesy of Joel Millerchip, an art teacher at Samuel Ward Academy.

Two revered symbols of the county, the Suffolk Punches, were also on site as the event began with a welcome from the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare Countess of Euston, followed by the Mayor of Haverhill, Cllr David Smith.

Haverhill’s Suffolk Day 2024 celebrations were well attended. Image: Richard Marsham/RMG Photography

He said: “Welcome to Haverhill. It is a privilege to stand here as Mayor on such an important day for Suffolk and Haverhill.”

“We are proud that Haverhill has the honor of being the host city this year.


“It’s wonderful to see so many people coming to celebrate our local community.”

Pupils from Samuel Ward and Castle Manor Academies read the Suffolk Day proclamation, which the schools had jointly written. Image: Richard Marsham/RMG Photography

Four students, two each from Samuel Ward Academy and Castle Manor Academy, then read a proclamation written by the two schools on behalf of the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk.

They said: “Young people are at the heart of our community in Suffolk and will one day be at the forefront.

“We must ensure that our future leaders have the opportunity to develop a broad range of skills and knowledge.

“The ability to develop leadership skills is developed in Haverhill through the wide variety of clubs and groups, such as sports teams, performing arts and dance groups, coding classes and cooking classes.

SlackMagirdle Morris dancers in action on Suffolk Day 2024 in Haverhill. Image: Richard Marsham/RMG Photography

“Encouraging creative young people and our natural curiosity is vital for Suffolk.

“We must learn from Suffolk’s rich past and use it to look to the future.

Suffolk Day 2024 was blessed with glorious sunshine as it took place in Haverhill. Image: Richard Marsham/RMG Photography

“From an ancient Anglo-Saxon culture, to inspiring artists like Gainsborough, writers like George Orwell and musicians from Benjamin Britten to Ed Sheeran, our creative talent runs deep.

“Let’s continue making music, dancing, writing and painting.


“By following these and many other outstanding role models, let us create extraordinary people who will change the world and the way we interact with it.”

On Suffolk Day 2024, the Mayor of Haverhill, Cllr David Smith, gave a welcoming address. Image: Richard Marsham/RMG Photography

Musical entertainment was provided by pupils from Clements Primary Academy, who sang “A Million Acres”, followed by Patrick Sneezum, who works for Haverhill City Council by day and is a singer-songwriter by night, who performed his self-written number “Moon Rising”.

The awards for the two recipients of the Suffolk Medal in 2024 were then read out by Yvonne Gilchrist-Mason, High Sheriff of Suffolk, and presented to the Lord Lieutenant.

The award winner, John Norman, received his medal at a private ceremony in February. He died a few weeks later.

While the invited guests watched the events in Haverhill, the Suffolk Day flags were raised. Image: Richard Marsham/RMG Photography

The award was given in recognition of his four decades of contribution to community life in Ipswich, including his commitment to preserving the town’s history and culture and his passion for education.

John was a member of the Ipswich Society, rising to the position of Chairman. He was a key member of the Rotary Club of Ipswich and had a 30-year career at Suffolk College. He was also a foster parent to many children with his wife Christine.

As Christine accepted a bouquet of flowers, she said, visibly moved: “He was very proud to receive the medal and his family appreciates it very much. Thank you all and thank you for the flowers.”

Archaeologist Professor Martin Carver also received a Suffolk Medal for his decades of work at Sutton Hoo near Woodbridge.

Professor Martin Carver addresses the crowd after receiving the Suffolk Medal on Suffolk Day 2024 in Haverhill. Image: Richard Marsham/RMG Photography

In his citation he said: “As a pioneering archaeologist, he has played a crucial role in uncovering further secrets of Sutton Hoo, catapulting the site back onto the world stage and cementing its reputation as one of the richest archaeological finds in northern Europe and an open window into the Anglo-Saxon world.

“Since then, the burial site has attracted numerous visitors to the county, not only boosting tourism and the local economy, but also putting Suffolk on the map for its historical and cultural significance.”

Pupils from Clements Primary Academy sang ‘A Million Acres’ during the Suffolk Day 2024 celebrations in Haverhill Market Square. Image: Richard Marsham/RMG Photography

The statement continued: “Martin lives in Yorkshire with his partner Madeleine Hummler. Although he is not a permanent resident, his ties to Suffolk remain strong to this day.

“As well as giving regular lectures around the county, he plays an important and active role as a trustee – and former chairman – of the Woodbridge-based charity The Sutton Hoo Ship’s Company, which is using authentic methods to reconstruct the King’s ship that lay buried on the site for 13 centuries.”

Suffolk Day 2024 took place in Haverhill. Yvonne Gilchrist-Mason, High Sheriff of Suffolk, speaks to the crowd. Image: Richard Marsham/RMG Photography

On receiving his medal, Prof. Carver said: “I am very flattered. It gives me great pleasure to receive this award from the Suffolk Community Foundation.”

“I realise I’m not from Suffolk but I’ve been coming here for 40 years. Four of our children grew up here and left their home in a tree on these grounds, so we feel we have a certain amount of Suffolk character in us.

“I have made many friends here and I would just like to mention a few: the most important people have been the wonderful staff at the National Trust site at Sutton Hoo who have created a fantastic day for thousands of families, the Sutton Hoo Society who have hosted them and in particular the shipwright, the manager, the trustees and the hundreds of volunteers we have at the ship’s society.”

Patrick Sneezum sings “Moon Rising”, a song written especially for Suffolk Day, which took place in Haverhill. Image: Richard Marsham/RMG Photography

He continued: “I think all these people deserve this medal much more than I do and thank you very much for awarding it to me.”

In an on-stage interview with the presenter, former BBC Radio Suffolk presenter Georgy Jamieson, Prof Carver added: “We had such a wonderful time here. We spent every summer here from 1983 to 1992 and beyond, so I feel like I have roots here and those roots are even deeper today.”

Suffolk Day 2024 was hosted by Haverhill, where this Suffolk Punch was one of two to visit the town. Image: Richard Marsham/RMG Photography

The event concluded with a closing address by the Reverend Max Drinkwater, Vicar of St Mary’s Church in Haverhill. The church was then opened to provide refreshments to the many invited guests of Suffolk Day.

Further entertainment was provided by the Morris dancers of SlackMargirdle, while Wayne Bavin broadcast his breakfast show for BBC Radio Suffolk in Market Square.

By Isla