Professor Martin Carver has become the 15th person to be awarded the Suffolk Medal. The investiture took place today, Friday 21st June, at the launch event for the Suffolk Day celebrations in Haverhill’s Market Square.

Over 80 dignitaries and local people attended the event, which started with a welcome from Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston, and Cllr David Smith, Haverhill Town Mayor. This year’s theme is ‘create more in 24’ and focusses on culture, supporting the creativity of the county’s young people as well as celebrating the bonds which link Suffolk’s communities.

The sun shone as pupils from Samuel Ward Academy and Castle Manor Academy read out the Suffolk Day proclamation.  Entertainment was provided by Clements Primary School singing A Million Acres, and local singer/songwriter, Patrick Sneezum, performing Moon Rising, an original song for Suffolk Day.

Yvonne Gilchrist-Mason, the High Sheriff of Suffolk, read Professor Martin Carver’s citation and the medal was presented by Lady Clare.

The Suffolk Medal was launched in March 2019, with nominations made by the general public in Suffolk and decided upon by a panel of the county’s leaders. Its purpose is to recognise, reward and champion the exceptional contributions of individuals that have made a fundamental, measurable, and lasting difference to the lives of people in our county.  Suffolk Community Foundation is proud to administer the medal on behalf of the panel.

This year’s recipient, Professor Martin Carver, has made an unparalleled impact on the county’s heritage and his international reputation is unrivalled. As a ground-breaking archaeologist, he has played an instrumental role in unveiling further secrets of Sutton Hoo, again catapulting the site onto the world stage, and cementing its reputation as one of the richest archaeological finds discovered in Northern Europe. The burial ground has since enticed numerous visitors to the county, not only boosting tourism and the local economy, but also placing Suffolk firmly on the map for its historical and cultural importance.

Martin has written and co-authored various reports on the discoveries at Sutton Hoo, along with several books which have been heralded for their accessibility and wide appeal.

Recognising his world-leading expertise, the University of York appointed Martin as its Professor of Archaeology mid-way through the Sutton Hoo campaign. Despite never having taught before, he embraced the opportunity and quickly began creating his own courses to inspire the next generation. This further strengthened his reputation as an original thinker and generous mentor who was always ready to embrace new ideas while sharing his own with others.

Martin regularly lectures in the county and plays a full and active role as a trustee – and former chair – of Woodbridge-based charity 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.

Professor Martin Carver said “It is a great compliment and special pleasure to be awarded the Suffolk medal. I am not a native of the county but four of our children grew up on the Sutton Hoo site and built a tree house there. I value the friendship of many local people who have contributed massively to this remarkable adventure – among them the National Trust staff

who have designed an amazing day out for thousands of families, the Sutton Hoo Society who have hosted them, and currently the manager, master shipwright, trustees and volunteer crew – 170 strong – of the Sutton Hoo Ship’s Company, who are creating a national icon in a truly exemplary community project.  They all deserve a medal too!”

Clare, Countess of Euston, said “Another wonderful Suffolk Day is upon us; our eighth since Mark Murphy and BBC Radio Suffolk came up with the idea.  I am delighted that it has become synonymous with the Investiture of The Suffolk Medal, the county’s highest honour to one of its own. This very special award only goes to the very best of the best, whose extraordinary contribution to Suffolk Life we are all so very proud and grateful for.

Today we salute Martin Carver and all his family members and friends.  A huge thank you and three cheers for Suffolk.”

The morning’s events also provided the opportunity to honour John Norman, who was awarded the Suffolk Medal in a private ceremony in February, surrounded by his friends and family.

For more information about the Suffolk Medal, and to make nominations for future recipients, please visit