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Why Suffolk needs to make the most of Ed Sheeran's open-air homecoming concerts

PUBLISHED: 15:39 14 August 2019 | UPDATED: 15:45 14 August 2019

Ed Sheeran watches on during the championship match between Ipswich Town and Aston Villa at Portman Road on Saturday 21st April 2018 - Picture: Steven Gardiner

Ed Sheeran watches on during the championship match between Ipswich Town and Aston Villa at Portman Road on Saturday 21st April 2018 - Picture: Steven Gardiner

Steven Gardiner

Terry will be in the crowd when mega star and local legend Ed Sheeran performs in the county town

August Bank Holiday weekend will be very special here in Suffolk. No, I'm not making a bold prediction about the weather. I'm looking forward to what will be a memorable homecoming. It's when our very own global superstar, Ed Sheeran, stages four massive open-air concerts in the county town of Ipswich to end his hugely successful world tour.

More than 150,000 fans will head for Chantry Park to enjoy Suffolk boy Ed performing. The concerts will make headlines around the world and will put Suffolk, and Ipswich, into the global spotlight. Let's make the most of it.

We are rightly proud of our Ed. The Framlingham lad is arguably the biggest pop star on the planet right now, selling millions upon millions of records. Just as importantly, he remains very grounded and hasn't let the fame and fortune go to his head. Just what we would expect of someone who was brought up in Suffolk!

He is a fantastic ambassador for our county, and is very proud of his roots. He still lives here, supports local charities, is a staunch Ipswich Town fan, and has strong links with his old school, Thomas Mills High. One of his most famous songs, Castle On The Hill, is all about Framlingham. He calls it his "love song for Suffolk" and, as a proud Fram boy myself, I don't mind admitting I felt quite emotional when I first heard the song.

Suffolk in general, and Framlingham in particular, played a big part in making Ed what he is today, and we look after our own mega-pop star. Ed is still able to walk round Fram, pop into the shops, or drop into a pub without being mobbed. Suffolk people respect his right to be left alone. Where else would that happen? Not many places, I would suggest!

His old school friends are brilliant as well, and so loyal. I remember when I was still EADT editor, and Ed announced some concerts at Madison Square Garden. We wanted to do a positive story about how he had progressed from playing local pubs to headlining at such an iconic venue in just a few years.

We contacted some of his Suffolk friends, but none of them would talk publicly. They have a golden rule not to speak to the media about their very famous friend. While as a journalist that was frustrating, I have to say I found such loyalty admirable.

Ed's parents, John and Imogen, are lovely people. I spent a nice evening with them a few years ago, judging the best Christmas shop window in Framlingham. It was then I discovered that, like so many parents, they call Ed by the name they gave him. So, the hugely famous pop superstar known throughout the world as Ed Sheeran is 'Edward' to his mum and dad.

I mentioned earlier that Ed's Bank Holiday concerts represent a huge opportunity for Suffolk and Ipswich. More than 150,000 people will flood into Ipswich. It's a fantastic showcase for the town. I'm glad to say there will be events taking place to entertain the Ed fans before the concerts. There will be a wonderful exhibition at Christchurch Mansion, featuring previously unseen photographs and paintings of Ed.

There will also be Ed themed entertainment on the new-look Cornhill in Ipswich. So, even if you're not going to one of the concerts, there's plenty going on.

I'm really excited that my family and I will be at one of the concerts. They will be great Suffolk celebrations, a chance for us to pay tribute to Ed, and for him to say thank you to the county he is proud to call home.

Terry Hunt is former editor of the East Anglian Daily Times. Suffolk born and bred. He lives in Ipswich. huntt1957@gmail.com

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