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Green light for Suffolk roadworks permit scheme to crackdown on overrunning works

It is hoped the new permit system will reduce delays for motorists. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

It is hoped the new permit system will reduce delays for motorists. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Plans to introduce permits for utility firms carrying out roadworks have been given the green light, which aims to reduce disruption for motorists.

Currently Suffolk County Council operates a “noticing” scheme where utility companies such as gas, electricity and water operators only need to inform the council of its intention to do works.

The new scheme, approved by the county council’s cabinet on Tuesday, means firms will have to apply for a permit, which must be displayed at the works at all time.

READ MORE: Permit scheme delay ‘political points-scoring’ says Labour group

According to Conservative cabinet member for highways Andrew Reid, this will make it easier for motorists to see what works are going on and for how long.

The scheme will also be based on a cost system where firms wishing to carry out works over many days or at peak times will be required to pay more, which aims to encourage work at less disruptive times.

Mr Reid said: “Roadworks are the bane of the lives of all of us who travel by road – whether that’s by bike, bus, car, van or truck.

“But roadworks everywhere wear out over time and need to be patched up or renewed. Equally the utilities that we all rely on – gas, water, electricity, telephones, all depend on that infrastructure.

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“We have undertaken a detailed analysis and consulted on changing to a permit scheme.

“The network assurance team will require additional staff to operate this, and we believe we are able to operate this on a cost neutral basis.

“A permit scheme will ensure that any improvement works by Suffolk Highways and the public utilities can be better co-ordinated in the future.

“That will potentially result in less disruption and less time that vehicles spend in traffic and delays, benefitting those who live work and visit our county.”

The permit scheme will be introduced in April. It is likely to carry additional conditions or mechanisms for fines for firms which do not meet the criteria of their permit, such as overrunning works.

Proposals for a permit scheme had notably been called for by the opposition Labour group in March 2017, but were rejected because the Conservative administration had fears about rising costs and a lack of evidence.

Since then, numerous secretaries of state for transport have been pushing for local authorities to adopt the permit system, which Mr Reid said had forced the council’s hand to adopt the scheme – despite having run a noticing scheme that was “entirely fit for purpose”.

Labour councillor Sandra Gage, then opposition spokeswoman for highways, this week said: “I proposed exactly the same scheme Suffolk County Council is now proposing three years ago at a meeting of the full council.

“I lost the vote by three, thanks to the very same Conservative councillors who are now voting for exactly the same roadworks permit scheme I proposed in 2017. Politics at its worst.”

Wymondham Abbey vicar had tyres slashed in row

Catherine Relf-Pennington, the vicar of Wymondham Abbey Picture: Ian Burt

Catherine Relf-Pennington, the vicar of Wymondham Abbey Picture: Ian Burt

A vicar claimed she was sent poison pen letters and had her car tyres slashed in a bitter dispute with church members, leaked documents reveal.

Wymondham Abbey. Photo: ArchantWymondham Abbey. Photo: Archant

Almost 20 complaints against The Revd Catherine Relf-Pennington at Wymondham Abbey, mainly from members of the choir, were investigated last year by a retired High Court judge, who ordered the two sides to resolve their differences.

They included allegations of bullying and one claim of an assault, which the Revd Relf-Pennington, 63, strongly denied.

Now a file passed to this newspaper reveals the full extent of complaints made against the vicar and her response to them.

The bulk of complaints regard an incident on December 16, 2018, during which members of the choir claimed the Revd launched an “unprovoked (verbal) attack” at a former employee who was in the choir.

According to the vicar the woman had been “expressly forbidden” from singing with the choir, but had turned up “unexpectedly” that evening.

Director of Music at Wymondham Abbey, Rob Goodrich, is one of the complainants in the ongoing dispute. Photo: Wymondham Symphony OrchestraDirector of Music at Wymondham Abbey, Rob Goodrich, is one of the complainants in the ongoing dispute. Photo: Wymondham Symphony Orchestra

A report into the allegations, written by a staff member at the Diocese of Norwich, a witness “asserts that the respondent (Revd Relf-Pennington) very publicly and forcibly told (the woman) that she was not permitted to sing in the choir. He refers to the respondent shouting at (the woman), who was visibly distraught.”

Complainants then allege that the vicar grabbed the woman’s arm “forcibly”.

The vicar denied all the allegations “in the strongest possible terms” and said her actions “did not even come close” to assault.

In her response in March 2019 she added: “At no point did I raise my voice, even in the face of a very emotional outburst from (her)…I did at one point place my open, relaxed hand, gentle near her upper arm… I was attempting to guide her to a seat and offering her tea.

“I do not shout and I cannot imagine ever being described as ferocious, abusive. Such emotive language undermines the credibility of the complainants because it is so obviously used to support the narrative of misconduct in the complete absence of any evidence.”

In one of the more bizarre complaints, the vicar was accused of leaving the scene of a car accident, something again which she again denied.

Revd Relf-Pennington became the town’s first female vicar in 2017.

She said those making complaints were “anti-women priests”, and that she and other Abbey staff had been bullied by the “same members of the choir, and many of the individual complainants”.

“We have received hate mail, I have had my tyres slashed… had threats made against me. It is clear from the well-known recent history of the Abbey that this is a difficult place to be a vicar.”

Of the 19 allegations investigated by the Diocese 13 were made by members of the choir.

The complaints also detail how the relationship between the vicar and choristers deteriorated over a two-year period.

She said this was due to changes she had introduced which had brought “significant progress and development” to the life of the Abbey.

She added that this had required a “more involved style of management”, and that a small group of people had “objected to every change”.

The complaints also detail how the vicar told choristers they would have to sign a written agreement in order to sing with the group.

In November last year, former High Court judge Sir Mark Hedley wrote a report into the complaints for the Church of England’s Clergy Discipline Commission.

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He called on both sides to reconcile their differences.

Sir Mark described “fear, resentment and unhappiness” at the abbey and condemns the ongoing dispute as a “disgrace to the Christian community”.

“Attitudes are clearly hardened and must now be recognised as such. However… if Ireland could do it in 1997, who are we to say that Wymondham could not do it in 2020,” the report said.

Earlier this month the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham Usher, also called on both sides to reconcile.

“I urge all involved at Wymondham Abbey to find ways to demonstrate the love and grace of Christ to one another and to work together in healing hurts and divisions,” he said.

Revd Relf-Pennington did not respond to requests for comment.

-Car Accident

In one the more bizarre allegations made, the vicar was accused of accidentally reversing her truck into a parked car in the Abbey carpark and causing a “six-inch-long gash”, before driving away.

Revd Relf-Pennington said this was not true.

She said it was “highly improbable” her truck had been involved in the incident, given that her vehicle showed no signs of being in a collision.

She added that there were two other black trucks, similar to her own, using the car park regularly at the time, and that people used the car park to visit the pub in the evening.

“This complaint has left me feeling very distressed, as I genuinely had no knowledge that any accident had taken place,” she said in her response to the complaints.

-Non-disclosure agreements

The documents also show that at least one members at the Abbey left in “unhappy circumstances” and signed a non-disclosure agreement.

The registrar, who looked at the complaints before handing them to the Bishop of Norwich, said the agreements “may constitute a concern”.

He said that although not unusual, if the NDAs were “intended to restrict discussion of the respondent’s behaviour… that would be a matter of considerable concern”.

In response Revd Relf-Pennington said: “These are entirely normal and every settlement agreement contains standard confidentiality provisions.

“There is no suggestion that I.. did anything that we wanted to hide.”

-Follow the latest from our investigations unit on Facebook

Secrets of the man who lives at Haughley Park

new

Robert William of Haughley Park

Robert William of Haughley Park

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Robert Williams lives at Haughley Park, near Stowmarket, Suffolk. The Jacobean manor house was saved from demolition by Robert’s father in 1956, and, following Alfred’s death in 1994, Robert and his family moved back from London to live there. Robert and daughter, Ellie, have since established Haughley Park Barn as a popular wedding venue. They also host many family-friendly, outdoor events at the Park including the new Spectacle of Light event in February. He talks to Gina Long MBE.

The Spectacle of Light at Haughley Park.The Spectacle of Light at Haughley Park.

What is your connection to East Anglia?

I was born in Stowmarket next to the ‘Camping Land’, a grass triangle near the market place. I was always puzzled that nobody ever seemed to camp on it but later I learned that ‘camping’ was an early form of football, which is exactly what we boys did on it!

What is your East Anglian Heaven ie what do you love most about East Anglia?

It’s corny, but it’s the skies – we get fantastic sunrises and sunsets. On the ground though, it’s the medieval churches. Suffolk has about 600 and Norfolk about 900, one in each village.

What is your East Anglian Hell ie what you hate most about living here?

I’m sorry but it’s the A14. It attracts too much development.

What’s your favourite East Anglian restaurant?

Wyken Vineyard. Good food and an interesting place to take visitors.

What’s your favourite way to spend an East Anglian evening?

Out on our back terrace with family and a bottle of wine, cooking on the barbecue and watching the sun go down.

What’s your favourite East Anglian landmark?

When I lived in London it was Woolpit church spire, delicately lit up at night. The A14 does have its uses – seeing the spire meant I was nearly home.

The best thing that happens in East Anglia every year?

I’m biased, but many say it’s ‘Weird and Wonderful Wood’ here at Haughley Park. Everyone talks about the ‘atmosphere’. It’s not happening this year but will be back in 2021.

What’s your specialist Mastermind subject?

In London I was a furniture designer/maker (his business was Pearl Dot Furniture Workshop in Islington), so possibly the different species and uses of wood, but I’d have to do a lot of swotting.

What is always in your fridge?

Three or four bottles of plain water at present. My wife is trying to stop me drinking so much orange juice which she says is bad for me.

Your simple philosophy of life?

Do what you love doing if it doesn’t harm anyone.

What’s your favourite film?

The Shawshank Redemption.

What was your first job?

I worked for my father, but the first job I got for myself, in 1967, was as a ‘Layout Planner’ with Dexion Storage and Logistics. I have a degree in history but ended up designing warehouses for their French subsidiary. Did you know that the French for Fork Lift Truck is Chariot-Elevateur?

What is your most treasured possession?

My 1928 Bentley. I love its engineering quality, its simplicity and the way it so clearly expresses what it does in the way it looks – it’s also wonderful to drive on our country roads.

Who do you admire most?

Pioneers like Brunel. People with imagination and foresight. My father was one.

What is your biggest indulgence?

An open log fire in the hall, which we bank up at night and keep going most of the winter.

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What do you like about yourself most?

My digestive system. It seems to work really well.

What is your worst character trait?

Indecision.

What is your favourite holiday destination?

If I’m allowed only one, it has to be France.

Best day of your life?

The day I made the prototype of my ‘Plank Back Chair’, but the births of my two daughters come close.

What’s your favourite breakfast?

My only really healthy meal: rolled jumbo oats with a ground-up seed mix and sultanas, soaked in apple juice and with blueberries and whatever fruit is in season, cut up.

What’s your favourite tipple?

I do like a nice whisky with San Pellegrino water.

What’s your hidden talent?

I used to be able to take people’s headaches away by hovering my hand over their head. All in the mind of course.

When were you most embarrassed?

When I was invited to watch a big event on Horse Guards Parade and went wearing a dinner jacket.

What’s your earliest memory?

My friend and I, aged around three, were playing on one side

of our road when a man with a wheelbarrow stopped on the

other side and stared at us. In his barrow there was a sack with something moving inside it and we both knew immediately that he must be a German collecting up little English boys. We took one look at each other and fled home. I still don’t know what was in that sack. I’m now married to a German though.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Maybe Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.

Tell us something people don’t know about you?

I have never bought a CD.

What’s the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?

F-off Four-eyes! I had caught someone throwing fast food litter out of a posh Range Rover and told them to pick it up.

Tell us why you live here

I want to keep this lovely place going.

What do you want to tell our readers about most?

A new event here in February: SPECTACLE of LIGHT. It’s an after-dark walking trail through the gardens of the house. The trees and buildings will be illuminated and there will be amazing light installations accompanied by a musical score. Very much a family event.

See our website: www.haughleypark.co.uk

If you’d like to be featured please email gina@hallfarmfornham.com follow Gina @geewizzgee1

Truck plunges into ditch on A47 Acle Straight

A truck left the road on the A47 Acle Straight ending up in a ditch. Recovery is likely to cause disruption on the single-carriageway stretch Picture: Liz Coates

A truck left the road on the A47 Acle Straight ending up in a ditch. Recovery is likely to cause disruption on the single-carriageway stretch Picture: Liz Coates

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Delays are expected on the A47 this morning after a truck veered off the road into a ditch.

A truck left the road on the A47 Acle Straight ending up in a ditch. Recovery is likely to cause disruption on the single-carriageway stretch Picture: Liz CoatesA truck left the road on the A47 Acle Straight ending up in a ditch. Recovery is likely to cause disruption on the single-carriageway stretch Picture: Liz Coates

Two recovery vehicles have been on stand-by on the Acle Straight waiting for the rush hour to die down and begin the process of removing the vehicle.

Emergency services rushed to the scene at around 11.10pm on Wednesday (January 22).

Three fire crews were called from Acle, Great Yarmouth, and Gorleston, to make the scene safe.

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The last crew left the scene at 12.20am.

A police spokesman said the driver was checked over by an ambulance crew but was not injured.

Recovery could require a lane-closure in which case police officers will be needed to manage traffic.

The incident took place at the Acle end of the single-carriageway stretch on the Yarmouth-bound side.

– You can keep up to date with all the latest travel news via our live traffic map.

Lorry overturned near King's Lynn

The A149 near Bablingley where a lorry has overturned. Photo: Google Maps

The A149 near Bablingley where a lorry has overturned. Photo: Google Maps

Google Maps

A main road has been closed after a lorry overturned.

The truck rolled on the A149 at Bablingley, near Sandringham, where the road is currently closed with diversions in place.

Police were called at 12.50pm to reports that the lorry had rolled over and come to rest on a bank. No other vehicles were involved.

Police are currently asking motorists to avoid the area.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue said appliances from Kings Lynn North and South attended a collision on the A149 Queen Elizabeth Way. Crews used small gear to release a casualty before they were taken by an ambulance.

– You can keep up to date with all the latest travel news via our live traffic map.

Investigation into JCB forklift truck theft closed by police

A JCB forklift truck was stolen from a building site in Shadingfield. Pictures: Suffolk Police

A JCB forklift truck was stolen from a building site in Shadingfield. Pictures: Suffolk Police

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Police have been unable to trace thieves who stole a JCB forklift truck from a building site.

A JCB forklift truck was stolen from a building site in Shadingfield. Pictures: Suffolk PoliceA JCB forklift truck was stolen from a building site in Shadingfield. Pictures: Suffolk Police

The hunt for those responsible for the overnight theft of a JCB forklift truck from a building site in Shadingfield has been “closed unless new information comes forward,” according to officers.

The theft of the yellow JCB telescopic material handler happened as a building site on London Road, Shadingfield was targeted at some point between 7pm on Wednesday, December 4 and 7am on Thursday, December 5.

Last month a police spokesman said: “The offender or offenders entered a building site and stole a yellow JCB telescopic material handler.”

However today, a police spokesman said: “Officers conducted a proportionate inquiry with no leads established and no further reasonable enquiries can be made so the case is closed unless new information comes forward.”

A14 lorry crash: A140 roundabout to shut overnight

Single lorry accident on A140/A14 roundabout at around 9.45am Picture: NICK BERRY

Single lorry accident on A140/A14 roundabout at around 9.45am Picture: NICK BERRY

Suffolk police say a roundabout connecting the A140 and A14 near Coddenham is expected to be closed overnight while officers work to recover an overturned lorry.

A lorry has been recovered after overturning on a roundabout connecting the A140 and the A14. Picture: NSRAPTA lorry has been recovered after overturning on a roundabout connecting the A140 and the A14. Picture: NSRAPT

There have been huge delays in the area – of up to 45 minutes – for most of the day after two A14 slip roads were closed to allow the recovery of a lorry, which overturned on a roundabout this morning.

The vehicle was travelling underneath the A14 at junction 51 for the A140 and Coddenham at around 9.50am when it overturned on a roundabout, landing on its side and cracking the windscreen.

MORE: Lorry overturns on A14 roundabout

Police and paramedics were called to the scene, but it is not thought that the driver suffered any injuries.

Now a police spokeswoman has said the roundabout and the road leading up to it is expected to be closed overnight, with officers set to re-assess the scene in daylight tomorrow (Wednesday).

A lorry has been recovered after overturning on a roundabout connecting the A140 and the A14. Picture: NSRAPTA lorry has been recovered after overturning on a roundabout connecting the A140 and the A14. Picture: NSRAPT

MORE: Lane re-opens on A14 after crash near Copdock

She was unable to say whether this section of the road is due to be re-opened in the morning in time for rush hour, but said officers were working hard to recover the lorry as soon as possible.

A large crane was used to put the lorry back onto its wheels, however it is still not able to be moved from the road.

The road surface has also been damaged.

One lane of the A14 westbound, between junctions 52 and 51, remains closed but is expected to re-open at around 1am tomorrow.

Single lorry accident on A140/A14 roundabout at around 9.45am Picture: NICK BERRYSingle lorry accident on A140/A14 roundabout at around 9.45am Picture: NICK BERRY

Highways England’s traffic map indicates ‘normal traffic conditions’ are expected between 1am and 1.15am.

Traffic chaos on A14 after broken down truck blocks lane

Traffic is building on the A14 due to a broken down truck on the westbound carriageway at Needham Market. Picture: HIGHWAYS ENGLAND

Traffic is building on the A14 due to a broken down truck on the westbound carriageway at Needham Market. Picture: HIGHWAYS ENGLAND

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A tow truck carrying a car which broke down on the A14 has now been cleared, but delays remain on the busy road.

Suffolk police were called at 3.34pm today to reports of a truck with a blown out tyre which became stuck on the inside lane on the westbound carriageway of the busy road shortly, before junction 51 at Needham Market.

The vehicle has now been moved onto a slip road however cars are queuing back with delays of more than 15 minutes reported.

A second broken down vehicle is also causing problems at junction 58 between the A14 and the A12.

The articulated lorry became stuck on the roundabout between the two busy roads and Felixstowe Road.

Traffic is now building in the area, especially on Felixstowe Road leaving Ipswich and officers are again warning of delays while they wait for recovery to arrive.

They warn that it may still take some time.

Is old Norfolk airfield near Sandringham really haunted?

An aerial view of RAF Bircham Newton between the world wars Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVE

An aerial view of RAF Bircham Newton between the world wars Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVE

Author asked people to tell her about their alleged supernatural experiences… and they did

Part of the cover of Ruth Roper Wylde’s latest book Picture: Ruth Roper WyldePart of the cover of Ruth Roper Wylde’s latest book Picture: Ruth Roper Wylde

If there’s one thing more disconcerting than reading about spooky happenings, it’s reading about spooky happenings in places you know.

Ruth Roper Wylde’s fourth book invites folk around the UK to reveal their apparently-supernatural experiences: from poltergeists making people’s lives a misery to more playful spectres switching on electronic toys in the middle of the night.

Ruth told me earlier this year how two of her childhood homes experienced suspected paranormal activity.

One was a bungalow in Bury St Edmunds – allegedly with the ghost of a boy who would run through the house. There was also a dark-haired woman in modern dress who’d walk through the bungalow, separately.

Ruth left Bury in 1977. The new family home in Hertfordshire had a poltergeist, she said, that at times was very scary.

Ruth became a civil servant (still works part-time) and spent more than a decade as a benefit fraud investigator.

Concerning claims of supernatural activity, she said: “My analytical mind will look at the data and often say ‘Well, I can make that fit into that theory, and I can make that bit of data fit into that (different) theory, but I can’t make all the data fit into one theory.

“So I often find myself sitting on the fence and keep an open mind.”

Here are some “incidents” from her new book. Nonsense or plausible? You decide.

– These Haunted Times: Volume One, independently published, is £6.99.

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Old Bircham Newton airfield

North-east of Sandringham, it featured in both world wars and closed in 1962. “There is a legend that the site is haunted by the crew of a Lockheed plane which crashed there – most sources say it was a three-man crew, but some say there was also a woman and that her spirit is present too,” writes Ruth.

Many reports focus on where squash courts used to be. “Supposedly, the sounds of a squash game in progress can be heard, and sometimes the sounds of an active airbase. Doors are said to open and close by themselves, and sometimes phantom aircraft are heard flying overhead.”

Ruth was written to by a woman who moved into a house on the edge of the site.

Her daughter was two years old, “and far too short to be able to reach up to light switches. Yet on a number of occasions, when she went to check that her daughter was sleeping peacefully, she would find the bedroom light turned on, where she knew for certain it had previously been off.

“On another occasion, her mother and sister came to babysit while she went out for the evening. When she came home, they were quite worried – and told her how at one point during the evening they had heard the child giggling.

“They went in to check on her and settle her back down, but found her sitting cross-legged in the middle of her room, on the floor. She was still fast asleep, but seemed to be talking to someone as if that person were sitting opposite her.”

Little Walsingham

A woman told Ruth about an old house she’d lived in.

“She explained, ‘Whenever I formally set the dining table for a dinner party I would be aware of two people approaching the table and standing just beside it, one behind the other.’ Usually, she could never see anything, just sense the presence.

“However, an evening came where they had a friend staying with them who was a member of the Dutch Navy, and normally quite a stoic person with no truck for nonsense or flights of fancy.

“Nevertheless, on this evening, as the table was being laid, both my correspondent and her guest caught a glimpse of the two extra visitors: one was a lady wearing a voluminous red skirt, with a white ruff around her neck and a neat black bolero-style jacket, standing with her hands folded neatly in front of her.

“The other was a tall gentleman… who wore black knee breeches, black stockings, and pointed shoes… They stood there for a moment before fading from sight, to the astonishment of our witness and her guest.”

Road re-opened after car and lorry collide on sharp corner

A car and a lorry appear to have collided on Church Lane, between Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth. Photo: Jay Stuart / Twitter

A car and a lorry appear to have collided on Church Lane, between Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth. Photo: Jay Stuart / Twitter

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A road has re-opened after a car and lorry collided on a sharp corner which forced it to close.

Church Lane is closed from Hopton to Corton whilst police deal with a non-injury road traffic collision. Please take alternative routes where possible. #suffolkroads

— Suffolk Police (@SuffolkPolice) December 31, 2019

Church Lane, between Lowestoft and Hopton, was closed after two vehicles collided shortly after 10.30am.

No one has been injured, but the road was closed and busses were delayed and forced onto alternative routes from 10.30am until 2pm.

One of the first people to arrive at the scene of the collision said: “The front of the car was caved in on the drivers side.

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“I didn’t see the accident but our bus was the first vehicle on the scene.”

Suffolk Police announced on Twitter that the road was closed from Hopton to Corton, while police dealt with the road traffic collision.

Officers confirmed there have been no injuries and said drivers should “take alternative routes where possible”.

However, the road has since re-opened.

A spokesperson for Suffolk Constabulary said: “Emergency services were called shortly after 10.35am to a road traffic collision on Church Lane in the direction of Great Yarmouth involving a car and a lorry. It is believed to be non-injury and Tthe vehicles involved are a Citroen Zara Picasso and a DAF truck.”

Ed Sheeran's 13 best moments of 2019

Ed Sheeran's second night at Chantry Park in Ipswich, performing to a crowd of more than 40,000 people Picture: ZAKARY WALTERS

Ed Sheeran’s second night at Chantry Park in Ipswich, performing to a crowd of more than 40,000 people Picture: ZAKARY WALTERS

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World tours, pizza ovens, Stormzy, ketchup… Ed Sheeran has had a memorable 2019 – here’s his best bits.

More than 150,000 people saw Ed Sheeran perform in Chantry Park in 2019 Picture: ZAKARY WALTERSMore than 150,000 people saw Ed Sheeran perform in Chantry Park in 2019 Picture: ZAKARY WALTERS

1. Ed’s Chantry Park homecoming gigs

In case you missed it, 150,000 people visited Chantry Park over the August Bank Holiday for four days for Ed Sheeran’s most anticipated UK shows.

Some fans had tickets for two, three or all four shows, queueing for hours and travelling from across Europe and even Australia to soak up the atmosphere at these special concerts. Friend and collaborator Stormzy appeared on the Saturday night as a special guest for a performance of their track ‘Take Me Back to London’.

The shows marked the end of a two-year world tour and were followed by the announcement that Ed would be taking a well-earned break from music.

The Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk exhibition at Christchurch Mansion is full of some of the most iconic moments of his career Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk exhibition at Christchurch Mansion is full of some of the most iconic moments of his career Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

2. Ed’s Made in Suffolk exhibition

Opening at the same time as his landmark concerts, Ipswich’s Christchurch Mansion was filled with family memories, never-before-seen photos and relics of Ed’s rise to fame for the Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk exhibition.

Alongside pictures of his earliest performances, including one to an audience of one from the side of a flatbed truck, there are framed records and costumes used in videos when he has collaborated with some of the world’s biggest stars.

Curated by his father and open until May 3, the exhibition is free to enter but bookings must be made in advance.

The East Anglian Daily Times changed its name for one day only in celebration of Ed's homecoming concerts Picture: ARCHANTThe East Anglian Daily Times changed its name for one day only in celebration of Ed’s homecoming concerts Picture: ARCHANT

3. The Ed Sheeran Daily Times

After 45,681 issues and for the first time in the 145-year history of the East Anglian Daily Times, the newspaper changed its masthead in honour of Ed’s four Ipswich gigs.

The newspaper contained a 20-page commemorative souvenir pullout and was ordered by fans from around the world, quickly selling out and soon popping up for sale on online auction sites. Second-hand copies will now cost much more than the original 95p cover price.

Also on the front page was GCSE results day coverage and a stellar interview with Ipswich Town FC’s Kayden Jackson, who had just days prior scored an injury-time winner against AFC Wimbledon.

A group photo at the Castle on the Hill Elmer at the Cornhill - an Elmer covered in tributes to Ed Sheeran Picture: SARAH PEARSONSA group photo at the Castle on the Hill Elmer at the Cornhill – an Elmer covered in tributes to Ed Sheeran Picture: SARAH PEARSONS

4. Ed’s very own Elmer

Anyone who visited Ipswich this summer found dozens of colourful elephants on the street as part of the art trail, Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk.

Among the patchwork animals was one artwork called ‘Castle on the Hill’, a tribute to Ed’s career displayed on the Ipswich Cornhill. It was later sold for £10,000 and signed by Sheeran, with the money going towards St Elizabeth’s Hospice.

Following the Pigs Gone Wild art trail in 2016, Ed himself bought his porky likeness, Ed Sheer-ham, for £6,200.

Ed Sheeran also appears in Richard Curtis' Yesterday Picture: PA WIRE/PA IMAGESEd Sheeran also appears in Richard Curtis’ Yesterday Picture: PA WIRE/PA IMAGES

5. Ed’s Yesterday cameo

Somehow finding time in his tour schedule to work with legendary British director Richard Curtis, Ed appeared in blockbuster movie Yesterday, which was filmed in Suffolk this year.

Featuring the music of The Beatles, the main character Jack Malik, played by Himesh Patel, suddenly finds fame and meets Ed on a private jet. They later record a new single called ‘Hey Jude’.

This star turn came after his cameo in the Game of Thrones TV series in 2018.

Ed Sheerans Suffolk estate, near Framlingham, will now include a prayer retreat in the shape of a boat Picture: DONALD INSALL ASSOCIATES/PA IMAGESEd Sheerans Suffolk estate, near Framlingham, will now include a prayer retreat in the shape of a boat Picture: DONALD INSALL ASSOCIATES/PA IMAGES

6. Ed’s planning permission saga

Ed has been busy developing his estate close to his home village of Framlingham. In March, Suffolk Coastal District Council concluded that his wildlife pond – with steps, handrail and jetty – was not in fact a swimming pool, despite complaints from neighbours it was being used as one.

In April, he was ordered to remove a caravan (which had been converted into a sauna) and a pub sign after they were erected without permission. This was overturned on appeal in June.

Then in August Ed was given approval for an outdoor kitchen, complete with a brick-clad pizza oven big enough to cook three pizzas at once. And lastly in November, he was granted permission to construct a prayer hall in the shape of a boat.

Ed Sheeran appeared halfway through Snow Patrol's performance of their hit single 'Chasing Cars' Picture: STEPHEN FOSTEREd Sheeran appeared halfway through Snow Patrol’s performance of their hit single ‘Chasing Cars’ Picture: STEPHEN FOSTER

7. Ed’s surprise appearance with Snow Patrol

Since performing in Suffolk in August, Ed has spent more time in the county recuperating after his Divide world tour.

A guest at Snow Patrol’s November show at the Ipswich Regent, the band invited him on to sing with lead singer Gary Lightbody for their mega-hit Chasing Cars.

Ed Sheeran and the X Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Tattoo Edition. Picture: HEINZ UKEd Sheeran and the X Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Tattoo Edition. Picture: HEINZ UK

8. Ed’s Tomato Edchup

Shoppers were able to get their hands on Tomato Edchup in 2019 – a rebranded Heinz ketchup featuring a tomato wearing glasses and a leafy fringe – in supermarkets across the UK.

However, 150 super limited edition signed bottles of ketchup, with a unique bottle design inspired by Ed’s tattoos, were sold to raise money for East Anglian Children’s Hospice (EACH). Sheeran has been an ambassador for EACH since 2014.

Three were auctioned off by Christie’s and another 100 were given away in a charity raffle, with the remaining 50 donated to museums across the world.

Sheeran showed off his Divide Ipswich Town shirt at a game in 2019 Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COMSheeran showed off his Divide Ipswich Town shirt at a game in 2019 Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

9. Ed signs for Ipswich and Framlingham Town

Unveiling his own Ipswich Town kit in the days before his Chantry Park gigs, Tractor Boy Ed had queues out the door of his pop-up shop in Ipswich’s Buttermarket with fans trying to get a limited edition shirt with the ‘Divide’ tour logo in place of the Magical Vegas sponsor.

But Ed had a secret second shirt, a replica of Framlingham Town FC, which he revealed on the last night of his four Ipswich shows – demand for the shirt was so high the club’s website crashed due to the number of visitors and customers are still being asked to wait three weeks for delivery due to high demand, even today.

Ed Sheeran has donated hundreds of items of clothing to charity shops in 2019 Picture GREGG BROWNEd Sheeran has donated hundreds of items of clothing to charity shops in 2019 Picture GREGG BROWN

10. Ed’s charity shop donations

A big supporter of St Elizabeth’s Hopsice, EACH and other charities in the region, Ed often donates clothes and old belongings to their shops to sell or auction.

This year alone has seen him donate clothes to a new EACH shop in Woodbridge, tour merchandise to a Sue Ryder shop in Ipswich, and 300 items of clothing to a St Elizabeth’s Hospice shop in Framlingham.

Ed Sheeran posted this image on Instagram announcing his engagement to Cherry Seaborn. The coupled married in secret at the end of 2018 Picture: TEDDYSPHOTOS/INSTAGRAMEd Sheeran posted this image on Instagram announcing his engagement to Cherry Seaborn. The coupled married in secret at the end of 2018 Picture: TEDDYSPHOTOS/INSTAGRAM

11-ish… Ed’s marriage reveal

Technically married in the last few days of 2018, the news of Sheeran’s marriage to childhood sweetheart and girlfriend of four years, Cherry Seaborn, only broke in February 2019.

The pair were married in the company of a priest and their oldest school friends in their Suffolk estate – electing to have a more intimate ceremony rather than a star-studded bash.

The pair threw a star-studded bash in a big top circus tent in a secret Suffolk location in September instead.

Stormzy surprised crowds for one night only at Ed Sheeran's Chantry Park homecoming gigs Picture: KELLY MARIEStormzy surprised crowds for one night only at Ed Sheeran’s Chantry Park homecoming gigs Picture: KELLY MARIE

12. Ed’s Suffolk Music Foundation

With a surprise announcement on Instagram on December 23, the superstar revealed he was founding the Ed Sheeran Suffolk Music Foundation.

In the video he posted, he said: “The reason I’m doing it in Suffolk is it’s the area that I grew up, I still live here, I learnt to play music here and I feel like I’ve had a lot of support from the area and I want to give some support back.”

There is a three-week wait for an Ed Sheeran Framlingham Town shirt, months after the superstar wore one on stage in Ipswich Picture: TOTAL FOOTBALLThere is a three-week wait for an Ed Sheeran Framlingham Town shirt, months after the superstar wore one on stage in Ipswich Picture: TOTAL FOOTBALL

Ed said the aim of the grants are to help with buying an instrument, music studies, vocal lessons, rehearsals, gigs and more. In order to get involved with the Ed Sheeran Suffolk Music Foundation, youngsters are asked to register their interest here before applying online.

13. Ed’s taking a break

After one of his busiest years to date, Ed also shared on his Instagram account a note to tell his 32.2million followers he will be stepping back from music until further notice and will not be posting on social media in the meantime.

In the note he said: “To my family and friends, see ya when I see ya – and to my fans, thank you for always being amazing, I promise to be back with some new music when the time is right and I’ve lived a little more to actually have something to write about.”