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Suffolk’s town and village signs

PUBLISHED: 15:47 03 February 2016 | UPDATED: 15:47 03 February 2016

Welcome to Suffolk sign along the A134

Welcome to Suffolk sign along the A134

Archant

Lesley Dolphin thinks we should make more of our town and village signs

Welcome to Suffolk. I was interested to read the article in the East Anglian Daily Times about the poor state of the county signs on our borders.

Mark Murphy also aired the topic on his mid-morning show on BBC Radio Suffolk with lots of Suffolk residents calling in to comment. They all agreed they’re proud to live here and that the signs should reflect that by being at least in good repair. But they also want the signs to show how special our county is.

It was suggested that on each of our major roads we should have the signs welcoming people to Suffolk, adding, for example, in Newmarket, The Home Of Racing, on the A12, Constable Country, and so on. One issue would be the cost of the signs, of course, but local businesses might be willing to help sponsor them. On a recent trip to the south coast (following Ipswich Town to Brighton) we spotted a town sign put up by the local Rotary Club.

I really think we’re onto something with this idea. It wouldn’t have to be just at the county borders, how about also at our towns and villages? Most places have wonderful village signs, but what about the name plates at the start of each parish? Couldn’t we add something to those to make them more memorable? I always say there is a story behind every Suffolk village. Stonham Aspal is the ‘Home of Cyder’, Hoxne has its Hoard, Groton’s John Winthrop founded Boston, Huntingfield has a church ceiling to rival the Sistine Chapel (the vicar’s wife, Mildred Holland, spent many years on her back painting it). Haughley Green is where the Soil Association started with Lady Eve Balfour and Woolpit had the Green Children. These additions would turn travelling around the county into a bit of a treasure hunt, a great way to make sure we notice each place as we whiz by in the car.

Love is in the air... twice, maybe, this month.

Not only is it Valentine’s Day on February 14, but it’s a leap year too, so there’s also February 29 when traditionally a woman can propose marriage to a man. In these supposed days of equality, I’m sure fair maidens can get down on one knee whenever they like, but it still seems to be one of the few things in which women are happy for men to take the lead. Well, it takes a lot of nerve to pop the question and risk rebuttal.

I did consider popping the question to Mark once, but chickened out. Fortunately he was braver than I am and we got married on February 15, 2002. We celebrate Valentine’s day and then go straight on to our wedding anniversary.

Leap years must be very special for anyone celebrating a birthday, but I think it should be a special day for us all. It’s a Monday this year, so unless the government suddenly decides to make it a bank holiday most of us will have to go to work as usual. So I suggest we treat Sunday, February 28 as that extra day. I would like to leave all my weekend chores behind and get out for a walk, visit a lovely pub and meet up with friends.

Let me know what you’re going to do, and if you’re a woman planning to propose on the 29th this year, you could make it more special by popping the question on air on my radio show or via the pages of the East Anglian Daily Times . . .

Farewell, Peggy...

I was so sorry to hear that Peggy Cole has died. I’ve was fortunate to meet her over the years and I think it’s fair to say she helped me come to love Suffolk as much as I do.

Peggy made her name in a modern world, but grew up in a rural Suffolk of the past. She had a role in the film Akenfield and visitors dropped in at her garden in Charsfield – even royalty in the shape of Princess Margaret. She was awarded the MBE, but she never lost sight of her roots and remained a true Suffolk mawther with a wonderful sense of humour. Thank you for all our chats, Peggy. I’d like to think you’re back with your beloved husband, Ernie, after many years apart.

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