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See 70 years of life displayed in Suffolk Show’s Platinum Jubilee tribute at Ipswich's Trinity Park



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The biggest show in Suffolk is back next week with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee at the heart of a packed schedule of exhibits and events.

As the Suffolk Show returns after a two-year break, a spectacular new exhibition will take visitors on a tour of life in the county through the 70 years of Her Majesty’s reign.

Suffolk: The Platinum Years – spread over two acres – is a museum-style exhibit organised by a huge number of local business and charities, working together to share artefacts, create new, interactive displays and stage live performances.

The show has more than a century's worth of history behind it. Picture: Andy Abbott/Suffolk Agricultural Association
The show has more than a century's worth of history behind it. Picture: Andy Abbott/Suffolk Agricultural Association

It covers the county’s evolution over seven decades including farming, food, home life, fashion, transport, maritime, sport, technology, music, culture and more.

Tony Pulham, Suffolk Show steward and organiser of the project, said: “We are working with organisations across East Anglia to pull together this special exhibit for The Queen’s Jubilee, with representation from all aspects of county life.

“It’s set to be a huge, interactive experience where visitors can reminisce about days gone by and visualise 70 years of history in honour of Her Majesty’s Platinum reign.

Iconic Suffolk Punch horses, pictured in 2012, will once again have a starring role in this year’s Suffolk Show
Iconic Suffolk Punch horses, pictured in 2012, will once again have a starring role in this year’s Suffolk Show

“It’s something that even seasoned show-goers won’t have seen before.”

Visitors can revel in nostalgic displays of iconic toys, kitchen appliances, familiar TV adverts, fashion, and wedding dresses through the decades.

Highlights include a huge collection of cars and trucks from the 1950s to present day.

Street parties have been a popular way of marking milestones of the Queen’s reign from the coronation in 1953 to her diamond jubilee in 2012. Scores more are planned in Suffolk next weekend.

Vintage vehicles are often on display at the show. Picture: Ipswich Transport Museum
Vintage vehicles are often on display at the show. Picture: Ipswich Transport Museum

The Stowmarket-based Food Museum will take a trip down memory lane for The Platinum Years with an exhibit of street party food through the decades.

“We are expanding our touring exhibition Food Stories by creating a long street party-style table,” said curator Kate Knowlden.

“Visitors will be able to engage with the travelling exhibition and recipes we’ve collected so far, and will also have the opportunity to draw on paper plates to record their own.”

The Food Stories team on the road (from left to right, Laura Kloss, Kate Knowlden and John Reed). Picture: The Food Museum
The Food Stories team on the road (from left to right, Laura Kloss, Kate Knowlden and John Reed). Picture: The Food Museum

Education 70 years ago will be recalled with a mock 1950s classroom, and a graduation ceremony, with the University of Suffolk.

Among the sporting memorabilia will be vintage football kit from Ipswich Town FC.

The club’s fortunes soared in the early years of the Queen’s reign, and they became league champions in 1962 under the leadership of Alf Ramsey who went on to steer England to victory in the 1966 World Cup.

A flour milling and bread making experience with Morrisons, and a virtual reality tour of the radar station at Bawdsey Manor created by apprentices at BT are two more highlights.

Farm table from the Food Museum's touring food stories exhibition. Picture: The Food Museum
Farm table from the Food Museum's touring food stories exhibition. Picture: The Food Museum

Meanwhile, exhibit sponsor Hutchison Ports Port of Felixstowe will be showcasing the evolution of the UK’s biggest container port, and there will be a display on the construction of the Orwell Bridge.

Elsewhere around the show, visitors can buy jubilee souvenirs and watch the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston, plant the last of 70 new trees as part of The Queen’s Green Canopy at Trinity Park.

Visitors can enjoy a spectacular Jubilee Pageant with military salute, set in the Collins Grand Ring on Wednesday, June 1.

Action from the Suffolk county show
Action from the Suffolk county show

There is also a chance to pick up a signed copy of The Royal Garland – a limited edition commemorative book about Suffolk which will be gifted to the Queen.

When 25 year-old Princess Elizabeth became Queen in 1952, the Suffolk Show already had well over a century of history behind it.

Fairground fun at a previous Suffolk Show
Fairground fun at a previous Suffolk Show

The first show took place in 1832 in Wickham Market. It used to move venues every year until Trinity Park in Ipswich became a permanent site in 1960.

In all of its 190 year history there were only 10 when the show did not take place. It was cancelled in 1917, 1918 and 1919 due to the First World War, and from 1940 to 1944 during World War Two.

Foot and mouth disease forced it to be called off in 2001. And the 2020 and 2021 events fell victim to the Covid pandemic.

This year organisers the Suffolk Agricultural Association have been working hard to make sure 2022 is the best show yet.

The event which attracts around 90,000 visitors each year maintains its traditional roots with food, farming and agriculture at its core.

Photo from a previous Suffolk show. Picture: Andy Abbott/Suffolk Agricultural Association
Photo from a previous Suffolk show. Picture: Andy Abbott/Suffolk Agricultural Association

Favourites like farm discovery zone, sports village and Suffolk skills zone are returning, but it also breaking new ground with a host of new attractions.

“From food to wildlife there is something for everyone to learn about or get involved in, with plenty of those activities available free,” said show director Bruce Kerr.

“We’ve made the show more accessible this year and children under 15 years old go free, plus car parking is free this year too.”

Farming and livestock

There will be a chance for everyone to learn more about the county’s livestock and agriculture. “The story of barley” is a theme in this year’s farming live display where visitors can watch huge farm machinery in action.

Alongside visitors, the show will open its gates to hundreds of animals including the critically-endangered Suffolk Punch heavy horse.

Food, farming and agriculture are at the show's core. Picture Andy Abbott/Suffolk Agricultural Association
Food, farming and agriculture are at the show's core. Picture Andy Abbott/Suffolk Agricultural Association

Among the others are Suffolk sheep, red poll cattle, and the best Longhorn cattle in Britain are as the breed hosts its national competition at the show for the first time.

Displays and ring events

Both days see a packed timetable for the show rings, including showjumping and dozens more equine events, motocross, livestock competitions, and a police dog display.

In the Collins Grand Ring, visitors can watch world-class show jumping, traditional carriage driving and the Shetland Pony Grand National.

The Festival of Suffolk Torch Relay ends at the Suffolk Show on Wednesday June 1 with the torch entering the Grand Ring after its 550 mile journey through 250 villages across the county.

And look to the skies for displays by the RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team on Tuesday, and the Red Devils Army Parachute Display Team on Wednesday.

Free activities

Games and activities from Pilates to pond dipping, and canvas painting to climbing mean there is something for all ages.

There's activities for all ages at the Suffolk Show. Picture: Andy Abbott/Suffolk Agricultural Association
There's activities for all ages at the Suffolk Show. Picture: Andy Abbott/Suffolk Agricultural Association

The show offers a fun learning experience with opportunities to discover new skills, learn about local careers, and experience aspects of farming and county life.

Gardeners’ delight

Glasswells Flower and Garden Experience invites visitors to stroll through its incredible floral arrangements, pick up plants for sale and hear gardening advice from the region’s experts.

Taste buds temptation

Foodies will find a feast of local artisan produce to either eat on the day or to take home.

Greene King Eat Street celebrates global flavours, with vendors serving up treats including authentic Indian, Asian, Mexican, Greek cuisine.

For a seaside-inspired picnic in the sand, head to Adnams Beach Eats for a fresh punnet of strawberries and cream, while the Adnams Food and Drink Experience offers a fine selection of local produce to try and take home.

There is also the Cookery Theatre, where local chefs will share their favourite recipes with live cookery demonstrations.

Accessibility

To ensure every visitor can enjoy their day out the show has implemented new accessible facilities and services.

There will be a free Access for All centre run by Suffolk New College with a calm space for people to enjoy a quiet respite with a hot drink.

Two new public toilet blocks include one with changing places facilities, and an under fives’ change and play will offer baby changing facilities as well as small soft play area.

There are public benches around the site, and wheelchair accessible spaces beside the rings.

Electric mobility scooters and manual wheelchairs are available to hire from the Bucklesham Entrance for a small fee donated to the Event Mobility Charitable Trust, and it is advised that visitors book these online in advance.

Blue badge holders can access forward car parking in all show car parks or drop off at the main entrance.

Tickets cost £28.50 per adult if bought in advance and £30 per adult on the gate, while young people between 15 to 18 pay £7.50. Carers go free when accompanying a fee-paying disabled visitor.

The Suffolk Show takes place at Trinity Park, Ipswich on Tuesday, May 31 and Wednesday, June 1. To find out more and book tickets visit www.suffolkshow.co.uk.