My Suffolk - tim holder

Tim Holder is the Development Director of Suffolk Community Foundation which this year is celebrating the 10th birthday of its visionary fund-raising event, Suffolk Dog Day.

Tim Holder

What was it like growing up in Suffolk?

I had the best childhood growing up on the eastern outskirts of Ipswich. I was a very ‘outdoors’ child, never sporty at all; but I had my bike, my dog Roger (who was a lovable but very strong-willed Bassett Hound cross Beagle).  He would go for a walk and I would follow. We came home when he was ready to. I basically spent the first ten years of my life climbing trees and building dens. Very happy days.

What makes the county special?

It has to be the people and the fabulous diversity of the landscape. The absolutely best thing about my role at Suffolk Community Foundation is that I meet really inspiring people every day. Suffolk people care about each other, they love their communities and they often make enormous personal sacrifices to support them. Also, it’s a huge county from north to south and east to west. I don’t think many of us can claim to know the whole area well. This means there is always somewhere you haven’t been or hidden treasure that you haven’t seen. The people are wonderful too.

Where’s the best place to enjoy the Suffolk summer?

I love water and our coastline is incredible whatever time of the year it is. Snape looking out over the reed beds, Orford Quay, Dunwich, Shingle Street have become iconic national if not international destinations. It’s brilliant to have all that beauty on our doorstep. The lush undulations of the countryside around Bury St Edmunds and over towards Bildeston and Lavenham are stunning too. I live towards the north of the county where the landscape is much flatter which makes for bigger views and spectacular skies.

Is there one unmissable event that you would recommend?

Yes there is! It involves so many aspects of what I enjoy about Suffolk country living. The incredibly beautiful and historic surroundings of Helmingham Hall, thousands of dogs from across the county and their wonderful owners, all delivered brilliantly by 150 volunteers. It is Suffolk Dog Day’s 10th Birthday on July 30 this year, every penny raised, over £435,000 so far, is distributed by Suffolk Community Foundation to support Suffolk charities and community groups. It’s a simple but brilliant idea, a spectacular day out for all the family; Suffolk helping Suffolk. 

Have any hobbies?

I have quite a big garden, well it’s a field at the moment, but I am really enjoying the process of trying to make something of it. I also love music and the arts, so I’m often out and about enjoying something. That’s another great thing about Suffolk, we are blessed with so much talent and some incredible places to enjoy it. Live is best of course, I very much enjoyed The Aldeburgh Festival’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream just recently. I also go to see live screenings in cinemas from The National Theatre and The Royal Ballet, they are really great. I sing, but not as much as I’d like and I’m currently rehearsing a few numbers with local musicians from my village. It’s a hotbed of talent you know!

Where do you like to eat out?

We have a fabulous new vegetarian restaurant called The Walnut Tree just opened near us in Stoke Ash. I’m not vegetarian, but their Mushroom Wellington persuades me that I could be. I do especially enjoy a country pub lunch with friends and a view like The Maybush at Waldringfield or The Ramsholt Arms, but I think The Queen’s Head in Eye is very hard to beat for a Sunday roast.

Is there one picture you’d suggest to sum up the county?

We have so many incredible vistas and views in Suffolk, the question is where to start. I think when nature, history and people come together, the results are particularly special. I love the carnivals, festivals and outdoor music events that happen throughout Suffolk during the summer months. The fireworks and lantern parades down at Aldeburgh and Thorpeness are magical. Of course, seeing thousands of people and their dogs enjoying Suffolk Dog Day is really special. The whole event is set against the fabulous backdrop of Helmingham Hall and its stunning gardens, it’s a wonderful melting pot of Suffolk life.