Residents of all ages will come together today to celebrate our brilliant county as we mark Suffolk Day 2024. 

The launch event will take place on Haverhill’s Market Square and carries the theme “create more in 24”.

Starting at 9.30am with a welcome from Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston, and Cllr David Smith, Haverhill Town Mayor, the event will focus on culture and creativity, as well as celebrating the bonds which link Suffolk’s communities. 

Pupils Holly and Seth, from Castle Manor Academy, and Sarah and Ryleigh, from Samuel Ward Academy, both run by Unity Schools partnership, will then read a proclamation written by the students which celebrates all the county has to offer. 

Pupils Holly and Seth, from Castle Manor AcademyPupils Holly and Seth, from Castle Manor Academy (Image: Unity Schools Partnership)

Part of the proclamation reads: "From ancient Anglo-Saxon culture, through to inspirational artists such as Gainsborough, writers like George Orwell and musicians ranging from Benjamin Britten to Ed Sheeran, our creative talent is deep.

"Let us continue to make music, dance, write and paint. Following these excellent role models and many others, let us create extraordinary people who will change the world and the way we treat it." 

Seth said he took inspiration from the 'profound community' in Haverhill when writing the piece.

"It is just so apparent as soon as you walk around our town. Everyone knows each other, and I think that is different from other areas," he said. 

Ryleigh said: "I just wanted to get across my appreciation and admiration for the community and the county."

Sarah (left) and Ryleigh at Samuel WardSarah (left) and Ryleigh at Samuel Ward (Image: Unity Schools Partnership)

Sarah highlighted the number of clubs and activities for young people offered in school and beyond which make the area great to live in.

"The level of inclusivity is amazing for young minds," she added.

Meanwhile Holly said the peace and quiet of the rural setting means young people are able to focus more on what they want to do. 

Of reading the proclamation, she said: "It is a very important thing to do. A lot of people in Haverhill haven't heard of Suffolk Day just because we are right on the edge of Suffolk. It will be a good opportunity to show people what we are made of."

Vanessa Whitcombe, headteacher at Castle Manor, praised the way in which the two schools had worked together on the event and added: "It has been really special. It has been a really nice experience." 

This year's celebrations begin in HaverhillThis year's celebrations begin in Haverhill (Image: Geoff Price)

As part of the Suffolk Day celebrations, archaeologist Martin Carver has been awarded the Suffolk Day Medal.

Mr Carver was born in Glasgow in 1941 and spent 15 years as an officer with the Royal Tank Regiment before completing a diploma in Anglo-Saxon Archaeology at the University of Durham and becoming an archaeologist, working freelance until 1986.

He was then appointed director of a new programme at the Sutton Hoo site near Woodbridge, an event he called 'a huge opportunity'. 

Over the next decade, Mr Carver adopted a "sensitive and pioneering" approach to analysing Sutton Hoo which has been admired by experts across the world.

Under his leadership, the team used innovative techniques to dissect six mounds not excavated in 1939 and to solve the mystery of the second ship.

From left: Tim Kirk, Master Shipwright, Jacq Barnard, Project Manager, Prof Martin Carver, Gulshan Kayembe DL, Oliver Paul DL and Hannah ReidFrom left: Tim Kirk, Master Shipwright, Jacq Barnard, Project Manager, Prof Martin Carver, Gulshan Kayembe DL, Oliver Paul DL and Hannah Reid (Image: ​Suffolk Community Foundation)

They also discovered two previously unknown execution cemeteries, where people were put to death by the Christian authorities of the 8th to 11th centuries.

Mr Carver, dubbed 'the new King of Sutton Hoo', went on to publicise the work on TV, at conferences and in the media, as well as write and co-author various reports on the discoveries. 

He created the Sutton Hoo Society in 1984 and is a trustee of The Sutton Hoo Ship’s Company, which is using authentic methods to reconstruct the King’s ship which was buried at the site for 13 centuries.

Of his medal, Mr Carver said: "I was very flattered and quite surprised. I felt that it was a really nice thing to happen to me.

"I spent all the years of work there and made lots of friends in the community and my children grew up on the site and spent their holidays there, even after the digging finished.

"I got more and more attached, I spent some time on my own there in the early days when we were worried about treasure hunters.

"It became very much a part of my life, so I feel hugely flattered by this medal." 

Suffolk Day 2024 will take place on Friday, June 21 with the launch event in Haverhill's town centre.