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Memories of Live Aid 35 years on in Norfolk and Suffolk

The Live Aid concert at Wembley stadium Picture: PA.

The Live Aid concert at Wembley stadium Picture: PA.

It’s now 35 years since Live Aid took the world stage on July 13, 1985, but the memories are still vivid.

Nik Kershaw, who grew up in Ipswich, as he looked in 1985 Picture: PANik Kershaw, who grew up in Ipswich, as he looked in 1985 Picture: PA

The fundraising concert, organised by Sir Bob Geldof, captured the public imagination, raising awareness of the worst famine to hit Ethiopia in a century.

There has been discussion and controversy over the decades, with changing views over how just much difference it all really made to Africa.

Bob Geldof at Wembley Stadium during preparations for Live Aid Picture: AP Photo/David CaulkinBob Geldof at Wembley Stadium during preparations for Live Aid Picture: AP Photo/David Caulkin

But there is no doubt that many lives were saved as a result of the estimated £150million which was donated.

A global audience approaching two billion watched the simultaneous concerts in Wembley and Philadelphia via TV.

Freddie Mercury, lead singer with Queen, during the Live Aid concert Picture: PAFreddie Mercury, lead singer with Queen, during the Live Aid concert Picture: PA

Status Quo started things off with Rockin’ All Over the World, while Queen’s set was considered to be a highlight

Iconic stars like David Bowie, Paul McCartney, The Who, U2 and The Pretenders appeared at Wembley, while Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder and a reformed Led Zeppelin, with Phil Collins on drums, were among the line-up in the US.

Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant, left, and Jimmy Page, reunited at Live Aid in Philadelphia Picture: AP Photo/Amy SancettaLed Zeppelin’s Robert Plant, left, and Jimmy Page, reunited at Live Aid in Philadelphia Picture: AP Photo/Amy Sancetta

Phil Collins actually appeared in both concerts, crossing the Atlantic on Concorde.

Nik Kershaw, who grew up in Ipswich, was on the Wembley bill. His 20-minute set included Wide Boy, Don Quixote, The Riddle and his most famous hit, Wouldn’t It Be Good – where Nik has admitted forgetting some of the words, although nobody else worried!

Tina Turner and Mick Jagger performing together at the Live Aid concert in Philadelphia Picture: AP Photo/Rusty KennedyTina Turner and Mick Jagger performing together at the Live Aid concert in Philadelphia Picture: AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy

His performance looks great in the clips on YouTube, but he later confessed just how nervous he felt.

“Terrified would sum it up quite nicely. I don’t remember much about it,” he has said.

People queued all night in Ipswich to buy their Live Aid ticket when the Gaumont Theatre opened Picture: ARCHANTPeople queued all night in Ipswich to buy their Live Aid ticket when the Gaumont Theatre opened Picture: ARCHANT

“I didn’t enjoy the performance which is a real shame. It’s all a bit of blur. I just wanted to get on and get it done really.”

Nik, a former pupil at Northgate, was approached by Geldof (not yet Sir Bob) and asked to take part when he was at an airport, flying to a pop festival in Germany.

All the bands on stage at the end of North Walsham Live Aid in January 1986 Picture: NWLAAll the bands on stage at the end of North Walsham Live Aid in January 1986 Picture: NWLA

“At the time, nobody knew where it was going to be. They were talking about Wembley, but everyone thought ‘Wembley Arena‘. Then it became Wembley Stadium, and then Philadelphia as well. It just got bigger and bigger and bigger.”

Suffolk musician and producer Thomas Dolby also took part, as one of the musicians appearing with David Bowie.

A poster for North Walsham Live Aid in January 1986 Picture: NWLAA poster for North Walsham Live Aid in January 1986 Picture: NWLA

He has told of his vivid memories of the event, saying: “I just remember staring at Bowie’s back in his light blue suit and beyond him thousands of fans. I didn’t have to look down, my fingers did the walking and I was channelling the teenage me playing Heroes in front of all of those people. It was amazing, a transcendent moment.”

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Queuing all night for tickets

While most people from our region were watching on TV, a lucky and determined few snapped up tickets for Wembley.

There were long queues outside venues which had allocations of tickets, with about 1,000 people camping out overnight outside the Gaumont (now the Regent) in Ipswich. They got soaked but were thrilled to grasp a precious ticket.

Memories of watching Live Aid on TV are also vivid for many who weren’t lucky enough to be there.

Twitter user Susan, who now lives in Yaxham but then lived in London’s Docklands, said: “We had been married for two months and spent the weekend in our new garden singing along with all the neighbours.”

Andy Crouch from Norwich said: “I was working for Holburn Tyres and we watched it on the TV at the depot then I watched the rest at The Pickwick pub. I remember the Who’s set – the signal went.”

How one Norfolk town staged its own Live Aid – and it’s still going strong

Many people were inspired to arrange their own fundraisers in the wake of Live Aid, but North Walsham went further.

A group of music lovers in the town got together in 1985 to arrange their own concert, with 10 bands playing for free, which they christened North Walsham Live Aid.

They aimed to raise £8,000 to buy two Bedford trucks, fill them with aid and send them to Eritrea. In the end they raised more than £10,000 via the concert and an auction.

NWLA was later started up again following the tsunami in 2004, and went on to become an annual event, although sadly this year’s had to be cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Barry Holden, one of the organisers, said: “I watched the Wembley concert on TV, like everyone else did, and it was the first of the really big fundraising festivals. Everybody got behind it.

“We decided it would be great to do something locally. A lot of people said: ‘you can’t do something like that here’, but we did, and it was an amazing night.”

That first concert was held on January 4, 1986, with a line-up of local artists including Guns For Hire, Lost Garden Band, Murphy Bros./Pinto Reunion, Rebel Truce, Stormtrooper, Street Life, Stripes, Underground Zero and Yare Beats.

Bob Geldof sent the organisers a letter to congratulate them and say their event was the most successful spin-off in the country.

“We got a nice letter from Bob. We had sent the information to him to say what we were doing, but we were really surprised when he wrote to us himself,” Barry recalled.

The organisers went on to organise local participation in the Run the World appeal, and since January 2005 they have held an annual North Walsham Live Aid concert, helping many different charities over the years. As well as the concert, each year there is an auction of unique memorabilia.

Like so many other events, this year’s concert has had to be cancelled, but Barry said they are hoping to make it bigger and better than ever in April next year, in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust.


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Ed Sheeran's 13 best moments of 2019

Ed Sheeran's second night at Chantry Park in Ipswich, performing to a crowd of more than 40,000 people Picture: ZAKARY WALTERS

Ed Sheeran’s second night at Chantry Park in Ipswich, performing to a crowd of more than 40,000 people Picture: ZAKARY WALTERS

Archant

World tours, pizza ovens, Stormzy, ketchup… Ed Sheeran has had a memorable 2019 – here’s his best bits.

More than 150,000 people saw Ed Sheeran perform in Chantry Park in 2019 Picture: ZAKARY WALTERSMore than 150,000 people saw Ed Sheeran perform in Chantry Park in 2019 Picture: ZAKARY WALTERS

1. Ed’s Chantry Park homecoming gigs

In case you missed it, 150,000 people visited Chantry Park over the August Bank Holiday for four days for Ed Sheeran’s most anticipated UK shows.

Some fans had tickets for two, three or all four shows, queueing for hours and travelling from across Europe and even Australia to soak up the atmosphere at these special concerts. Friend and collaborator Stormzy appeared on the Saturday night as a special guest for a performance of their track ‘Take Me Back to London’.

The shows marked the end of a two-year world tour and were followed by the announcement that Ed would be taking a well-earned break from music.

The Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk exhibition at Christchurch Mansion is full of some of the most iconic moments of his career Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk exhibition at Christchurch Mansion is full of some of the most iconic moments of his career Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

2. Ed’s Made in Suffolk exhibition

Opening at the same time as his landmark concerts, Ipswich’s Christchurch Mansion was filled with family memories, never-before-seen photos and relics of Ed’s rise to fame for the Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk exhibition.

Alongside pictures of his earliest performances, including one to an audience of one from the side of a flatbed truck, there are framed records and costumes used in videos when he has collaborated with some of the world’s biggest stars.

Curated by his father and open until May 3, the exhibition is free to enter but bookings must be made in advance.

The East Anglian Daily Times changed its name for one day only in celebration of Ed's homecoming concerts Picture: ARCHANTThe East Anglian Daily Times changed its name for one day only in celebration of Ed’s homecoming concerts Picture: ARCHANT

3. The Ed Sheeran Daily Times

After 45,681 issues and for the first time in the 145-year history of the East Anglian Daily Times, the newspaper changed its masthead in honour of Ed’s four Ipswich gigs.

The newspaper contained a 20-page commemorative souvenir pullout and was ordered by fans from around the world, quickly selling out and soon popping up for sale on online auction sites. Second-hand copies will now cost much more than the original 95p cover price.

Also on the front page was GCSE results day coverage and a stellar interview with Ipswich Town FC’s Kayden Jackson, who had just days prior scored an injury-time winner against AFC Wimbledon.

A group photo at the Castle on the Hill Elmer at the Cornhill - an Elmer covered in tributes to Ed Sheeran Picture: SARAH PEARSONSA group photo at the Castle on the Hill Elmer at the Cornhill – an Elmer covered in tributes to Ed Sheeran Picture: SARAH PEARSONS

4. Ed’s very own Elmer

Anyone who visited Ipswich this summer found dozens of colourful elephants on the street as part of the art trail, Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk.

Among the patchwork animals was one artwork called ‘Castle on the Hill’, a tribute to Ed’s career displayed on the Ipswich Cornhill. It was later sold for £10,000 and signed by Sheeran, with the money going towards St Elizabeth’s Hospice.

Following the Pigs Gone Wild art trail in 2016, Ed himself bought his porky likeness, Ed Sheer-ham, for £6,200.

Ed Sheeran also appears in Richard Curtis' Yesterday Picture: PA WIRE/PA IMAGESEd Sheeran also appears in Richard Curtis’ Yesterday Picture: PA WIRE/PA IMAGES

5. Ed’s Yesterday cameo

Somehow finding time in his tour schedule to work with legendary British director Richard Curtis, Ed appeared in blockbuster movie Yesterday, which was filmed in Suffolk this year.

Featuring the music of The Beatles, the main character Jack Malik, played by Himesh Patel, suddenly finds fame and meets Ed on a private jet. They later record a new single called ‘Hey Jude’.

This star turn came after his cameo in the Game of Thrones TV series in 2018.

Ed Sheerans Suffolk estate, near Framlingham, will now include a prayer retreat in the shape of a boat Picture: DONALD INSALL ASSOCIATES/PA IMAGESEd Sheerans Suffolk estate, near Framlingham, will now include a prayer retreat in the shape of a boat Picture: DONALD INSALL ASSOCIATES/PA IMAGES

6. Ed’s planning permission saga

Ed has been busy developing his estate close to his home village of Framlingham. In March, Suffolk Coastal District Council concluded that his wildlife pond – with steps, handrail and jetty – was not in fact a swimming pool, despite complaints from neighbours it was being used as one.

In April, he was ordered to remove a caravan (which had been converted into a sauna) and a pub sign after they were erected without permission. This was overturned on appeal in June.

Then in August Ed was given approval for an outdoor kitchen, complete with a brick-clad pizza oven big enough to cook three pizzas at once. And lastly in November, he was granted permission to construct a prayer hall in the shape of a boat.

Ed Sheeran appeared halfway through Snow Patrol's performance of their hit single 'Chasing Cars' Picture: STEPHEN FOSTEREd Sheeran appeared halfway through Snow Patrol’s performance of their hit single ‘Chasing Cars’ Picture: STEPHEN FOSTER

7. Ed’s surprise appearance with Snow Patrol

Since performing in Suffolk in August, Ed has spent more time in the county recuperating after his Divide world tour.

A guest at Snow Patrol’s November show at the Ipswich Regent, the band invited him on to sing with lead singer Gary Lightbody for their mega-hit Chasing Cars.

Ed Sheeran and the X Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Tattoo Edition. Picture: HEINZ UKEd Sheeran and the X Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Tattoo Edition. Picture: HEINZ UK

8. Ed’s Tomato Edchup

Shoppers were able to get their hands on Tomato Edchup in 2019 – a rebranded Heinz ketchup featuring a tomato wearing glasses and a leafy fringe – in supermarkets across the UK.

However, 150 super limited edition signed bottles of ketchup, with a unique bottle design inspired by Ed’s tattoos, were sold to raise money for East Anglian Children’s Hospice (EACH). Sheeran has been an ambassador for EACH since 2014.

Three were auctioned off by Christie’s and another 100 were given away in a charity raffle, with the remaining 50 donated to museums across the world.

Sheeran showed off his Divide Ipswich Town shirt at a game in 2019 Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COMSheeran showed off his Divide Ipswich Town shirt at a game in 2019 Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

9. Ed signs for Ipswich and Framlingham Town

Unveiling his own Ipswich Town kit in the days before his Chantry Park gigs, Tractor Boy Ed had queues out the door of his pop-up shop in Ipswich’s Buttermarket with fans trying to get a limited edition shirt with the ‘Divide’ tour logo in place of the Magical Vegas sponsor.

But Ed had a secret second shirt, a replica of Framlingham Town FC, which he revealed on the last night of his four Ipswich shows – demand for the shirt was so high the club’s website crashed due to the number of visitors and customers are still being asked to wait three weeks for delivery due to high demand, even today.

Ed Sheeran has donated hundreds of items of clothing to charity shops in 2019 Picture GREGG BROWNEd Sheeran has donated hundreds of items of clothing to charity shops in 2019 Picture GREGG BROWN

10. Ed’s charity shop donations

A big supporter of St Elizabeth’s Hopsice, EACH and other charities in the region, Ed often donates clothes and old belongings to their shops to sell or auction.

This year alone has seen him donate clothes to a new EACH shop in Woodbridge, tour merchandise to a Sue Ryder shop in Ipswich, and 300 items of clothing to a St Elizabeth’s Hospice shop in Framlingham.

Ed Sheeran posted this image on Instagram announcing his engagement to Cherry Seaborn. The coupled married in secret at the end of 2018 Picture: TEDDYSPHOTOS/INSTAGRAMEd Sheeran posted this image on Instagram announcing his engagement to Cherry Seaborn. The coupled married in secret at the end of 2018 Picture: TEDDYSPHOTOS/INSTAGRAM

11-ish… Ed’s marriage reveal

Technically married in the last few days of 2018, the news of Sheeran’s marriage to childhood sweetheart and girlfriend of four years, Cherry Seaborn, only broke in February 2019.

The pair were married in the company of a priest and their oldest school friends in their Suffolk estate – electing to have a more intimate ceremony rather than a star-studded bash.

The pair threw a star-studded bash in a big top circus tent in a secret Suffolk location in September instead.

Stormzy surprised crowds for one night only at Ed Sheeran's Chantry Park homecoming gigs Picture: KELLY MARIEStormzy surprised crowds for one night only at Ed Sheeran’s Chantry Park homecoming gigs Picture: KELLY MARIE

12. Ed’s Suffolk Music Foundation

With a surprise announcement on Instagram on December 23, the superstar revealed he was founding the Ed Sheeran Suffolk Music Foundation.

In the video he posted, he said: “The reason I’m doing it in Suffolk is it’s the area that I grew up, I still live here, I learnt to play music here and I feel like I’ve had a lot of support from the area and I want to give some support back.”

There is a three-week wait for an Ed Sheeran Framlingham Town shirt, months after the superstar wore one on stage in Ipswich Picture: TOTAL FOOTBALLThere is a three-week wait for an Ed Sheeran Framlingham Town shirt, months after the superstar wore one on stage in Ipswich Picture: TOTAL FOOTBALL

Ed said the aim of the grants are to help with buying an instrument, music studies, vocal lessons, rehearsals, gigs and more. In order to get involved with the Ed Sheeran Suffolk Music Foundation, youngsters are asked to register their interest here before applying online.

13. Ed’s taking a break

After one of his busiest years to date, Ed also shared on his Instagram account a note to tell his 32.2million followers he will be stepping back from music until further notice and will not be posting on social media in the meantime.

In the note he said: “To my family and friends, see ya when I see ya – and to my fans, thank you for always being amazing, I promise to be back with some new music when the time is right and I’ve lived a little more to actually have something to write about.”