My Suffolk - Sarah Howard
Sarah Howard is the President of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and is a director of Sarand Business Software, based in Haverhill. She describes her life in Suffolk
Where were you born and how did you come to live in Suffolk?
I was born in Gravesend, Kent and grew up in Medway. I worked in London and moved up to Suffolk 18 years ago as we decided that we wanted to bring our family up here.
What makes the county special?
The people, the businesses and the countryside. It took a while to get used to people talking to me as I pushed my daughter along in her pram having come from London! I love it that I now know so many different people in all sorts of walks of life. There are also so many entrepreneurial people up here running their own companies and shops, so there's real variety. I love the fact that I can take my dogs out for a walk without having to get in the car first or when you head out to the coast it’s a drive through stunning countryside.
How do you like to relax? Do you enjoy walking and if so where do you like to walk?
To be honest I don't get a great deal of down time but when I do I love to walk my dogs. I have two very energetic huskies that will happily walk for miles. There are some lovely walks around here, I usually walk them over farm land to Keddington or along the old train line to East Town Park in Haverhill where they can go for a paddle in the river. We will sometimes drive out to the coast or over to Ickworth House for a walk in the park.
Where do you like to eat out?
I don't get the chance to eat out much other than with work or a quick bite with the children. There are some lovely pubs near me and great restaurants in Newmarket and Bury. What my husband and I do like to do occasionally is sneak in a weekend away. There are so many lovely high quality places in Suffolk we don't have to go too far. I also love the Crown and Castle at Orford and recently stayed at The Bildeston Crown.
Are there some special places in west Suffolk that you'd recommend to the people of the east?
Haverhill has a fabulous arts centre which has a very good programme. We go to the cinema nights, which are particularly special as you can take your glass of wine in to the screen! They also have some fabulous comedy nights. A couple of years ago I saw one of my heroes, Humphrey Littleton and his band in what turned out to be his last tour. Bury St Edmunds obviously is beautiful. It's great for a wander on a Saturday morning, lots of good, independent cafés and fabulous stalls on the market. Ickworth is lovely and of course Newmarket for the races. I love the ‘Newmarket Nights’ and go to a couple of the concerts every year. We've seen some fabulous bands; highlights for me have been Spandau Ballet and Simple Minds. One of the things I like about the races is that you can go with the kids and a picnic or dress up in your finest, everyone is welcome.
Adnams, Aspall’s or Greene King?
Aspall’s for me! I love their cider and don't drink beer. However I do buy, and very much enjoy, Adnams rather fine gin and my husband enjoys a pint of Greene King's IPA.
Do you have any hobbies?
I have three children, two dogs, a busy husband and several jobs so not much time left. I do like to sing and have done a couple of the really big chorus events at the Albert Hall.
Where do you like to shop?
I shop locally whenever I can. So for me that means the local butchers in Keddington, local farm shops, I shop at the market in Haverhill on a Friday, excellent fruit and veg stall and a fresh fish van. I fit my shopping in around work, for instance if I've been in Bury St Edmunds I'll pop into the farm shop at Depden which stocks a lot of Suffolk produce, including Suffolk gold cheese and Pinney’s smoked fish. It also makes rather fine sausage rolls!
Is there one picture you'd take to sum up our county?
One would be a real challenge because you need the water and the countryside and some of the beautiful architecture. I'd go for a shot across the river Stour at Clare Country Park showing the lovely Victorian station in the background.
Where would you take newcomers on a tour of the county?
Depends how long they've got! I usually take people over to Lavenham to see all the Tudor buildings or into Bury St Edmunds for the day. If we had more time I'd take them over to Orford and the coast too.