Ed Sheeran exhibition prepares to open - how did he get into a lion's mouth?
PUBLISHED: 12:52 19 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:50 19 August 2019
Ed Sheeran's life in Suffolk - and his meteoric musical career - are celebrated in a long-awaited exhibition at Christchurch Mansion which opens its doors on Tuesday.
Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk celebrates the star who returns to the town over the bank holiday weekend for four sell-out homecoming concerts at Chantry Park.
The exhibition contains items from throughout the star's life - from photographs taken before his family moved to Framlingham when he was a young child to busts of himself and his brother Matthew, to portraits of him by Northern Irish artist Colin Davidson.
Many of his awards are on show - as is the handwritten lyrics to Castle on the Hill, his love song to his Suffolk home.
Among those at the launch were Ian Johnson from Access to Music, who is credited with discovering the young singer and booking him for one of his first gigs at the Norwich Playhouse.
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He remembers the first time he heard him: "He wasn't the greatest guitarist and he wasn't the greatest singer. But his songs were exceptional and the way he performed and interacted with the audience was phenomenal. He was the youngest we had playing at Norwich - and also by far the best even though it wasn't a competition."
Mr Johnson was delighted that the show should help put Ipswich on the creative map at a time when there is an explosion of young talent in the area - some of whom will be supporting Ed over the weekend.
The exhibition is supported by another Suffolk institution, Aspall Cyder. Henry Chevallier Guild from Aspall said they were delighted to be associated with it.
"Our Suffolk heritage is very important to us, and it is clearly very important to Ed so we are very pleased to be part of the exhibition. Not as a sponsor with our name all over it, but as a supporter spreading the word about this fabulous part of the world."
The exhibition is at Ipswich Council's Christchurch Mansion and Ed has had a long relationship with the authority - he did work experience with them and played at Ipswich Music Day.
Carole Jones, portfolio holder for museums said: "It is wonderful that Ed is putting the town, and this wonderful Tudor building on the map with this fantastic exhibition."