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My Suffolk - Jacqui Martin

Jacqui Martin is the Chief Executive Officer of Suffolk Family Carers.  We spoke to her about her Suffolk.


Where's your favourite place in Suffolk? 

The Shotley Peninsula;  you drive under the Orwell bridge and enter a different world, both rivers giving the peninsula different characteristics. The River Orwell, busy and vibrant and the other, The Stour, quiet at one end and busy with Harwich and Felixstowe at the other. I love watching the seasons change as you walk along the shores or viewing  the ports of Harwich and Felixstowe from Shotley Gate, it is unique. You also have really welcoming pubs like the Shotley Rose and Bakers Arms to name just two. I remember fondly getting cut off in the winters and walking across the fields to get to Holbrook to get supplies, cooking meals on the Rayburn for others in power cuts and having lock ins in the pub,  before the opening hours were increased! It also reminds me of New Zealand which is very dear to my heart.


What's your best Suffolk memory? 

There are so many, my husband Bob proposing to me making me realise that Suffolk with its open skies, beautiful villages and wonderful people was now my home.  That was 33 years ago!


Where do you like to eat out? 

 A variety of places from those where you can just sit and people watch along the docks in Ipswich to old fashioned pubs with a warm welcome  like the Lord Nelson (Ipswich), to the quirky small restaurants.  I do like to hear what people you are with are saying though, perhaps a sign of my age. I’ve already mentioned the Shotley Rose – it’s great for home cooked food the lovely landlady Sarah will always go that extra mile to ensure you are well looked after whatever your age. The Dolphin at Thorpeness is another lovely place to go after a long walk along the beach.


Do you have any hobbies? 

I used to teach riding and  help people with difficult horses in my younger days in the UK and overseas but now just occasionally act as groom to my God-daughter, Charlene.  Most of my spare time now is spent sailing with my husband Bob around the east coast and occasionally to Holland and London.  During the winter I have had great fun searching our family’s history.


Do you enjoy the outdoors?  

I love the outdoors and Suffolk’s fresh air and quiet especially after a really busy day.


If you took a photograph to represent Suffolk  what would it be? 

Either the Orwell Bridge in the sunset, looking down river with barges in the distance or a Suffolk punch pulling a dray with children running behind it.


Do you support the arts? 

I appreciate some classic art and just recently I have been inspired to discover how art and performance can help people with dementia, how it can open doors in their minds that are sometimes closed through lack of stimulation and how it can inspire and bring out laughter.   Also how it can raise awareness about the alternative ways to make people feel valued at a time in their lives when they can feel insecure and isolated.   


What makes the people of Suffolk so special? 

In most cases, what you see is what you get, they have big hearts, they understand the meaning of community in many areas, they are generous, many have a sense of belonging but will also welcome others into their communities. I meet people from all walks of life in my work and they never cease to amaze me, young and more senior. Those living in the towns and in the villages, balancing their lives whilst caring for people at home,  keeping an eye on relatives and friends who may be in residential or nursing homes or living by themselves.   Many never having had  a holiday, some having to give up work and others like our Young Adult Carers trying to build their own futures, developing their aspirations and dreams.  I would like to help make Suffolk the best place to care for someone or be cared for, wouldn't that be great? 


Where would you take people to show them the county?  

I take my friends from New Zealand to Harkstead shore to experience its peace and tranquillity, to Ipswich Docks to experience the hustle and bustle of the quayside, to the House in the Clouds, Bury St Edmunds to experience some of Suffolk’s history, Rendlesham Forest plus some of our coastal towns and the parkland of our great houses.