My Suffolk - Judi Newman

Judi Newman is the Development Director of The Suffolk Community Foundation which helps local charities and community groups throughout the county.  Anne Gould spoke to her about living in Suffolk

How long have you lived here?

We moved to Wickham Market from London five years ago. Previously we’d visited the county every weekend and very quickly fell in love with the big skies and the coast and we decided that this was where we wanted to bring our two children up.

Why is Wickham Market so special?

It’s a wonderful example of a big village with great facilities like shops, a Post Office and a library – but it’s not quite large enough to be a town. There’s a wonderful sense of community there. Before I worked for a national charity but three and a half years ago I joined the Foundation and it’s been wonderful getting to know every corner of the county too. We visit projects right across Suffolk but meet a really wide range of people too, which means I am not blind to the many challenges that face parts of the county. It’s been a real privilege.

Where do you like to walk?

One of our latest additions is a terrier called Morrisey, who used to be a working dog from Bromeswell so we have got to know all the paths and walking routes in east Suffolk. It’s great because we get to walk as a family and every weekend we are out looking for another fantastic route. One of our favourite places is the Iken walk and Snape too. It’s so beautiful, it still takes my breath away.

Do you do much eating out?

We like going to Woodbridge and sometimes go to The Crown but one of my secret favourites is the Marlesford Farm Café. There’s something about sitting looking out onto a field while eating a wonderful brunch. That’s special. There are some fantastic pubs around too that have taken pub food to just another level. We were really excited when the Greyhound at Pettistree re-opened – it’s really worth a visit. The food there is so fresh and when they opened the new owners said they didn’t even want a freezer.

Adnam’s or Greene king?

Are you really going to ask me this question? Well I’m going to say Adnam’s because they sponsor our Suffolk Dog Day and also because my husband Andrew works for a low carbon company and Adnam’s make a carbon neutral beer.

When is Suffolk dog day this year?

Dog Day is on July 29th at Helmingham Hall, not only is it a fantastic day out but it is the single largest fundraising event for the foundation so is incredibly important too.

Where would you take visitors who had never been to Suffolk before?

We’d go to Lavenham – we’d been living in Suffolk a long time before we discovered it. I had no idea it was still so intact and it took me back several centuries, I thought it was magnificent. That part of the county is so different to coastal Suffolk – but that’s what so special about the county there are so many unique and corners that all have their own character and offer something different. However we also end up doing the same old things with every visitor that comes to us – and it really surprises people to find such a landmark of classic music in the middle of the marshes.

Where do you shop?

I try to shop very local and I’m really pleased that our office has just moved to Wherstead because Suffolk Food Hall is round the corner. When we were at Grundisburgh I always used to go to The Grange Farm Shop in Hasketon. I’m really keen on seasonal produce and as a working mum I think it’s important to keep your cooking varied. It also helps you be more creative. I’m also really proud that local Suffolk brands like Munchy Seeds and Stoke Sauces are being sold in some of the bigger shops and outside Suffolk too.

What about entertainment?

I always try to see the comedians that come to The Regent. It’s really amazing how this venue has become part of the circuit – I saw Ross Noble recently, he was absolutely fantastic. I also like to see some of the more unusual things at Aldeburgh Music too – things like Faster Than Sound. One of the highlights of the summer is Latitude – we go with the whole family and the children have been going since they were little. When we moved out of London we thought we’d being going back there for theatre etc but in five years there’s been no need. We are spoilt for choice here.

What part of the coast do you particularly like?

Well I love the shingle at Aldeburgh and I’d go there every time but the children think that seaside equals sand so we are regulars at Southwold and the pier there feels like our second home. What we are still looking for though is a quiet little cove where you can take the camper van. This year though it’s a new era for us and we are really excited as we’ve bought a small boat which is moored at Woodbridge. We’ve all done sailing courses and I’m really looking forward to being able to sail down the river to Ramsholt for lunch and then if the tide is right sail home in the afternoon.