My Suffolk - Mark Murphy
Radio broadcaster Mark Murphy is the sound of Suffolk and a real hero of local radio. He’s been at BBC Radio Suffolk since day one, doing the breakfast show for many years and now leads the Big Conversation on the mid-morning show from 9am. We asked him to describe his Suffolk.
Where did you grow up and what are memories of your schooldays?
I grew up in east Ipswich and I had a simple but fulfilling time as a child. Lots of running about making dens and using the obligatory jumpers for goalposts. As one of the last generations to pass the 11 plus I ended up at Northgate Grammar School.
What's your routine for the day?
After 11 years of getting up at 3.30am to host the BBC Radio Suffolk Breakfast show, I can now get up three hours later! I'm in at Broadcasting House around 7am and meet up with my production team to finalise what we're going to do on the radio show. I get through several cups of black coffee during the morning and it really helps keep me on my toes. The Big Conversation is essentially a phone-in show for three and half hours and so I need to have my wits about me! I miss the Breakfast show but I don't miss that alarm call! I also get to host an ITFC fanzine show on Saturday lunchtimes. As a lifelong Ipswich Town fan I have to pinch myself that I'm sitting next to the likes of Roger Osborne, Kevin Beattie and Mick Mills plus getting paid!
Has working on the radio changed over the years?
Well the technology has changed a great deal and the way the audience respond has changed remarkably too. When I first started I used to get hundreds of letters a week. Now I get about four letters and 400 emails. Facebook, Twitter and text messaging also generates a lot of interaction very quickly these days.
What's your favourite place in Suffolk?
If I had to choose one place it would be Southwold Pier. I love the little brass plaques attached to the handrails which have lovely messages on them about Southwold. They bring a lump to my throat every time I read them.
What's your best Suffolk memory?
It has to be when I received my Honorary doctorate at University Campus Suffolk. It was a very special moment and I'm only sorry my mum and dad weren't alive to see it. To be honoured in my own county means so much
Have you got any hobbies?
I'm a member of Ipswich East Rotary club and am passionate about raising money for charity for causes at home and abroad. I also love watching my beloved Ipswich Town and hunting around auction rooms looking for bargains.
Do you enjoy the outdoors?
I love the Suffolk coast whatever time of year it is. Even when that wicked Easterly wind is blowing in!
Where do you like to walk?
I love getting out into Suffolk as much as possible. We have a very elderly rescue dog called Satsuma and any dog owner will tell you they are fantastic at encouraging you to get their lead and take them out! We love walking along the front at Felixstowe especially on a windswept winter's day. As long as you're wrapped up it is great for blowing the cobwebs out. Another favourite is Rendlesham Forest but sadly with some dogs falling ill after walking there it's off limits for us at the moment. We also love Orwell Country Park. Walking along the foreshore of the River Orwell is fantastic and to look back at the beauty of the Orwell Bridge never fails to make me smile and pleased I live in Suffolk.
Where's the best place for a cosy pint on a chilly winter's day?
When I get the chance I love to get out to the Butt and Oyster at Pin Mill I just love its rustic charm and can just imagine the old barge skippers using it. Our local at BBC Radio Suffolk is the Greyhound. It's been the venue for a lot farewell drinks parties and toasting colleagues over the years.
Adnams, Greene King or Aspall?
That's a mean question. All three of course plus a dash of Suffolk brewed Calvors lager and a splash of something from St Peter’s brewery.
If you had to take a picture that represented Suffolk - what would it be?
Wow that's almost impossible. We have such diversity from Newmarket to the Heritage coast and from the Broads to Constable country but I would say a Suffolk Punch horse. Beautiful, strong and dependable just like Suffolk.
Do you support the arts?
I love getting to see as many different productions as possible. My wife Lesley Dolphin and I are patrons of the brilliant East Anglian Traditional Music Trust which is based at Stowmarket at the Museum of East Anglian Life. The recent Grimes on the beach part of the Benjamin Britten celebrations in Aldeburgh was truly amazing.
What makes the people of Suffolk so special?
Everything is so understated here which I love - but sometimes I wish we'd all shout a bit more about what a great place Suffolk is to live. I also love the dry Suffolk sense of humour which is lost on some people.
Where would you take people to show them the county?
We often have friends come and stay from different parts of the world. Aldeburgh and Southwold are on the list. Lavenham is a must and Bury St Edmunds is too. I also love showing people my home town of Ipswich which sometimes gets a bad press and doesn't always deserve it.
Are there any secret places in Suffolk that have yet to be discovered?
Now that really would be telling.