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Gallery: Barry Manilow, Prince Harry, the Duchess of Cambridge and David Beckham were among Suffolk's most popular visitors of 2014

PUBLISHED: 14:21 31 December 2014 | UPDATED: 17:56 31 December 2014

Luke Rutter and his son with David Beckham at Ipswich Town's Playford Road training ground in May

Luke Rutter and his son with David Beckham at Ipswich Town's Playford Road training ground in May

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Far too often we are criticised for not bringing you enough good news - but 2014 was a year packed with exciting stories of royal visitors, important archaeological finds and heart-warming displays of community spirit in Suffolk and Essex.

The EACH colour run was hosted in Ipswich, the Pretty Muddy event saw women getting dirty for charity and Jade Peters helped put Ipswich on the map for all the right reasons.
Here web editor Natalie Sadler looks back at the highlights from the past year, and the web stories that made you smile.

Ipswich girl Jade Mayjean Peters shot to fame in February with her show stopping audition on BBC talent search show The Voice. She may not have won the show, but she has made a name for herself and has performed at countless events in Suffolk over recent months, from school gigs to a concert in Christchurch Park and even the EADT/Ipswich Star’s Stars of Suffolk event.

East Anglia has taken Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, to its heart in recent years - she is the patron of the children’s hospice, holidays in Norfolk at Sandringham and in February she visited Chelmsford where she acted as Godmother at the Christening of a friend’s baby.

And in 2015, her husband, Prince William, will be taking up his new job as a pilot for the East of England Air Ambulance service.

In March came news that fields on a Rendlesham farm had yielded small but hugely significant finds which have led archaeologists to believe they have found a royal home and one of the most important settlements in Anglo-Saxon East Anglia.

May was a triple whammy for famous visitors to Suffolk.

Twitter went mad when David Beckham was spotted at Ipswich Town’s training centre where is young sons were playing for Arsenal youths. He later took his family to the new Chiquito restaurant near Ransomes Europark.

In the same month, Barry Manilow performed for a packed crowd at Portman Road, and Prince Harry returned to Suffolk as guest of honour at the Suffolk Show.

The images from the Barry Manilow concert alone received 46,400 page views, making it our most viewed photo gallery of the year.

He toured the exhibits and met with farmers, school children and dignitaries, before thanking Suffolk for being so accommodating during the time he was stationed here.

And Suffolk boy Ed Sheeran returned to his roots when he played an intimate gig at The Steamboat Tavern, in Ipswich for just a select 100 fans.

While festival goers braved the mud at Glastonbury, McBusted, Jessie J and Jason Derulo played the East Coast live gigs in Chantry Park, Ipswich.

July was a colourful month - runners were pelted with coloured powders as they ran through Christchurch Park for the Treehouse Colour Dash, organised by EACH.
August saw the annual
Maritime Festival return to Ipswich, bringing crowds to the Waterfront for food, beer and shows, all with a nautical theme.

Roman treasure was unearthed during the renovation work at Colchester department store William & Griffin in September. The discovery set the world on fire as it is thought to be one of the finest ever finds in Britain and was described as being “of national importance” - this was one of our top stories of the year online, attracting 47,754 views.

The inaugural Pretty Muddy, part of the Race for Life events, took place at Trinity Park in Ipswich in September. More than 3,500 women completed the muddy obstacle course an raised funds for Cancer Research UK.

Later in the month a record numbers of runners fastened their laces ready for the Larking Gowen Half Marathon in Ipswich, which started in Christchurch Park.

And throughout the year, we honoured the Suffolk heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the First World War as the nation marked the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of war.

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