Suffolk Medal to honour county's most outstanding people

Ed Sheeran Image copyright BBC/Sarah Jeynes
Image caption Ed Sheeran has become one of Suffolk's best-known residents

The launch of a new honour has sparked a search for the most outstanding people who call Suffolk home.

The Suffolk Medal will be presented to people from all walks of life who have made a "lasting difference" to the county.

It will be designed by Suffolk-born artist Maggi Hambling and the first recipients will be announced in June.

High Sheriff George Vestey, who came up with the idea, said the honour would be "by Suffolk, for Suffolk, in Suffolk".

Suffolk Community Foundation, overseeing the scheme, believes it is the first award of its kind to be given by a county to its residents.

It said the likes of John Constable, Sir Bobby Robson, John Peel and Sue Ryder may have been considered for the honour in their day.

Image copyright Jeff Overs/BBC
Image caption Delia Smith has lived in Suffolk for many decades

In the running?

  • Ed Sheeran: The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter is one of the biggest stars in the world but has remained true to his roots and still lives near Framlingham
  • Delia Smith: The cook lives in Suffolk but is best known for her links with the Canaries of Norwich City, so her selection would be bound to ruffle feathers
  • Ralph Fiennes: The Oscar-nominated actor famed for a career spanning more than 30 years was born in Ipswich and spent his first six years near Southwold
  • Richard Curtis: Having fallen in love with the coastal village of Walberswick, where he has a home, the director, producer and writer set scenes from his film Yesterday in the county
  • Maggi Hambling: She is designing the medal, but the county's most renowned living artist has a strong claim, having based some of her most celebrated works in Suffolk
Image copyright Suffolk Medal
Image caption The medals are being designed by Maggi Hambling but have not yet been revealed

The foundation has appealed for nominations, stressing that it is not only looking for celebrities, but anyone who has gone "above and beyond expectations" in their contributions.

That could be through voluntary efforts or a lifetime of service to their community or county, it said.

The medal will be unveiled on Suffolk Day on June 21.

Those nominated will have their names recorded and their stories told in an interactive installation at The Hold, the new Suffolk Records Office.

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