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Suffolk Archives project to lead community hub at Stowmarket literary festival

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Volunteers from Stow Stories, one of Suffolk Archives latest outreach projects, are joining with community groups to host an information and activity hub at the Primadonna Festival, hosted at the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket.

The team working on the project, which forms part of Suffolk Archives’ National Lottery Heritage Fund supported Sharing Suffolk Stories programme, have collected a selection of memories, maps, and landmarks about the area to showcase at the festival, which runs from Friday to Sunday.

The focus is to discover Stowmarket’s history, biodiversity, and landscape, and to reveal how raw materials from natural resources have influenced industries and led to the growth and prosperity of the town.

Abbots Hall, Museum of East Anglian Life. (49620566)
Abbots Hall, Museum of East Anglian Life. (49620566)

Judith Thompson, Stow Stories founding research volunteer, said: “From first thinking about this project I believed Stowmarket’s heritage was worthy of establishing a town-wide project accessible to all. The chance for Stow Stories to join others in presenting our Together in Riverland programme is fantastic.

“Stow Stories journey is a connecting, enriching adventure for volunteer researchers who continue to gather and share old and new stories involving the wider community. We now aim make a positive difference by valuing Stowmarket’s sense of place, its heritage landscape, and to help protect and enhance the natural world on our doorstep.”

The festival’s community hub will unite groups, such as the town's history group, it's wildlife trust and Red Gables Wellbeing Centre, which all share a common goal; to nurture people, places, and the natural environment, and all are keen to promote the ambition for a greener future, encouraging others to act now to tackle the biodiversity and climate change emergency.

Cllr Andrew Reid, portfolio holder for heritage at Suffolk County Council, said: “Stow Stories has been a great opportunity for the local community to share their stories and record this important local history.

"The activity hub at the Primadonna festival will give more people the change to engage in this heritage project and continue this great work.”

The Stow Stories led hub will include ‘The Journey’; a shepherd’s hut and vintage Massey Ferguson 135 tractor. Stow Stories banners, colourful flags, bunting and other visuals will be on display, providing a welcoming space for local groups to network with each other, festival participants, and visitors. It will also act as a meeting point for themed walks and activities.

Catherine Riley, Primadonna Festival director, said: “We are thrilled that Primadonna is going ahead this year and are delighted that Stow Stories is bringing such an exciting and inventive offer to the 2021 edition of the festival.

"We have programmed an amazing line up of writers, comedians, foodies and performers, along with film premieres, wellness and loads of stuff for kids."

For more details on the Primadonna Festival, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Suffolk

Read more: All the latest news from Stowmarket