N OVEMB ER 2018
M Y S U FF OL K
My Suffolk Belinda Gray is the founder of Art for Cure, a charity which raises money to help fund research into Breast Cancer and support Suffolk women recovering from the disease. This month she is undertaking a 450km cycle ride from Vietnam to Cambodia to raise more money for the cause views, meet young up-coming artists and have the privilege of seeing artists at work in their studios. The people of Suffolk are pretty special too – we have over 200 volunteers helping stage our large exhibitions at Glemham Hall, they absolutely make the event possible and I receive so many letters saying how special they made it.
Where were you born and how did you come to live in Suffolk? I grew up in the West Country although school holidays were often spent in Southwold where my grandparents lived. We loved coming to Suffolk, the excitement of breakfast in their beach hut after an early morning swim, trips to the boating lake and putting green in Southwold, an Agatha Christie thriller at the summer theatre and having the great sense of freedom as children on our bikes or on the beach. We later bought their house as a holiday home when our children Sam and Millie were young, escaping London at weekends up the A12 – it wasn’t long before we upped sticks. Alex, my husband, became a patient commuter and the rest of us reaped the daily joys of living in this beautiful, unspoilt county. What makes the county special? There are so many great qualities to Suffolk which I appreciate so much – the landscape, the coast, the foodie epicentre it has become but primarily for me the strength of arts here is quite amazing. Roger Wright has enlivened Snape beyond belief and it is astonishing the breadth of culture so close to home and accessible. Through meeting so many artists and sculptors I am lucky to discover more and more amazing studios, be invited to private
How do you like to relax? Otto, my loyal Labrador, has ceaseless energy so a day starts with an early morning romp across the fields. With the Art For Cure bike ride looming now mid-November, where 45 of us will be cycling 450kms from Vietnam – Cambodia to raise money for the charity, I am a converted cyclist! Now training 3-4 times a week I am totting up 30 mile rides. I ran a fruit and vegetable gardening school here at my home for five years before falling ill so my kitchen garden is my sanctuary where fruit and vegetables grow all year. Where do you like to eat out? Alex and I are real foodies, both loving cooking and enjoying having friends over, I have over 100 cook books! Treats out are at the fabulous Unruly Pig or The Table and Anchor in Woodbridge. Particularly special is eating outside in the Table’s courtyard in summer and the Crown and Castle at Orford has to round up our favourites for a very special family get-together. What is the latest news on Art for Cure? We are delighted to have shared the £225,000 raised at Glemham this May; £100,000 is going to the Blossom Appeal towards the proposed new breast care unit at Ipswich Hospital, £100,000 to a specific national research project looking at targeted treatments for breast cancer (a rapidly successful area for improved treatments) we are providing chemotherapy comfort boxes for those facing chemotherapy for primary breast cancer via the charity Littlelifts at Ipswich Hospital and James Paget and we are funding the training of sports trainers in caring for breast cancer patients in gyms in the area. We have raised now over half a
million pounds in four years which we are very proud of. Exhibition wise there is lots in planning ahead for Art For Cure with a solo show from the soaringly successful painter Jelly Green at Somerleyton Hall next June 14th and 15th. Do you have any hobbies? I am learning to paint having been inspired by so many artists and so many Suffolk scenes that I dream of recreating. I have been having lessons with artists in the area Christopher Humphries and Sarah BaddonPrice and cannot believe how absorbing and relaxing sketching and painting can be – I am hooked and dream one day of selling a piece of my own art. They tell me I am obviously going to be an abstract painter which I am not sure is a compliment or not! Looking after myself attempts to be top of my list so I try and do a daily yoga routine, 10 minutes of meditation and feeling very grateful for the life I have. Where do you like to shop? Is my husband going to read this? Sam Denny-Hodson’s Homespun in Woodbridge is a dream with their Margaret Howell collection, soft Mongolian cashmere jumpers and stylish clothes. Food shopping is top priority and fish from the Woodbridge stall or at the harbour at Southwold is a regular stop. My bike bag gets filled to the brim if I head Orford way with smoked fish from Pinney’s and sour dough from Pump Street Bakery. Is there one picture you’d take to sum up our county? Most definitely the view at the back of Snape overlooking the marshes. It is beautiful and always poignant for me as a dear friend died a few years ago and a white dove was released at her funeral out into the marshes. I am always humbled by the beauty of Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture ‘Family of Man’ at the rear – often with children scrambling over it. Time seems to stand still with this view and the rushes sway in the breeze, it is really one of the most peaceful places I have ever experienced.
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