Friday, 21 November 2008

Suffolk & Celebrities

My little corner of Suffolk never seems to be out of the papers for very long. What with Gordon Brown lately spending his holidays in Wangford and Bernard Matthews in Holton getting bird flu.

Like the swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano, I don't consider spring to have really come until I see the first story of the year about the price of beach huts in Southwold.

I have developed a theory how this story is a perennial. It's because when journalists visit Suffolk at half-term with their families, they need an expedient excuse to claim some travel expenses so they file this story. Or they need something they can file quickly so they can fill their column and have more time with their families instead of digging (metaphorically) for something substantial. It's easy story to do, you only need look in the estate agent's shop window and there's no end of people willing to supply a quote for a plug. Cynical perhaps but then I've done it myself. Every time the story never fails to mention the celebrities that populate the area.

And lately, even though this autumn feels like its winter already, there's been no shortage of celebrity sightings. Just before bonfire night I saw Richard Curtis on his bike in Southwold High Street and walking along the seafront at Southwold, who should emerge from the grey mist but Will Self and his dogs.

These names aren't secrets, anyone could find these out on Google and no particular order, these are the celebrities most frequently associated with this part of north east Suffolk:

Paul Heiney & Libby Purves - Westleton
Peter Purves - Sibton
Bill Nighy & Diana Quick - Middleton (now apparently seperated)
Paul Greengrass - Walberswick
Emma Freud & Richard Curtis - Walberswick
Esther Freud & David Morrissey - Walberswick
Clement Freud & Jill Freud - Walberswick
P D James - Southwold
Geoffrey Palmer - Southwold
Bernard Hill - Southwold
Griff Rhys-Jones - Woodbridge
Terry Waite - Southwold
Ronald Blythe - Wormingford
Lex Shrapnel - Wattisfield
Ralph, Joseph & Martha Fiennes - Walpole

There are plenty more associated with Aldeburgh too.

Further afield

Claudia Schiffer & Matthew Vaughan - Shimpling
Bill Wyman - Shimpling
Louis De Bernieres - Bungay
Elizabeth Jane Howard - Bungay
Myleen Klass - Gorleston
Justin Hawkins, Dan Hawkins, Ed Graham (The Darkness) - Lowestoft
Charlie Simpson - Framlingham

Trevor Nunn was born in Ipswich but I don't know if he's ever come back.

Not living or second-homing in Suffolk (to my knowledge) but often seen:

Chris Evans & Billie Piper (together and individually)

Michael Palin

Will Self

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