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Former regionals man delves into Suffolk's farming past

A former East Anglian Daily Times agricultural editor has had a book published about historic farming estates in Suffolk.

Peter Hopper, who held the position at the EADT for 27 years, based his book Suffolk’s Historic Farms on parts of his award-winning weekly series about family farms in Suffolk and North Essex which ran for two years in the paper.

Peter said: “The series was too large in scope to condense into a single book.

“Eventually – after spending five years writing and editing a 22-page, A4 monthly magazine for the Rotary Club of Ipswich Orwell – I decided to keep faith with the farmers I had made promises to, and the result is a book on the historic aspects of eight Suffolk farming estates, some going back to Domesday.”

Suffolk’s Historic Farms was launched at the Suffolk Show where Peter did a book signing.

He said: “As far as I can tell, it is being very well received though I don’t expect it to be a bestseller!

“I took most of the photographs for the book and the foreword is by Rt. Hon John Gummer, a Suffolk MP and former Conservative agriculture minister and environment secretary.

“It is my first book, hopefully not the last.”

Peter began his career at the age of 15 on the Skegness News. After four years he was told his weekly pay of £4 could not be raised so he returned to his home town of Grimsby where he joined the Evening Telegraph.

He said: “During my 13 years there I did just about every reporting job there was, including football, dock correspondent, court reporter, columnist on Cleethorpes (“Sandboy”) before starting a weekly page on farming.”

Peter left the Telegraph in 1969 on appointment as agricultural editor of the East Anglian Daily Times, and retired in 1996.

He won several awards, including the Guild of Agricultural Journalists’ Stuart Seaton Award for provincial journalists. This was for a two-year weekly series on 100 family farms in Suffolk and North Essex.

Suffolk’s Historic Farms is published by Breedon Books and is available for £16.99, ISBN 1 85983 422 1.

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