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Behind the radio voice: who is the real Lesley Dolphin?

PUBLISHED: 14:59 18 June 2019 | UPDATED: 14:59 18 June 2019

BBC Radio Suffolk broadcaster, Lesley Dolphin   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

BBC Radio Suffolk broadcaster, Lesley Dolphin Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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What is your connection to East Anglia?

Lesley Dolphin and Mark MurphyLesley Dolphin and Mark Murphy

I'm glad you said East Anglia because I grew up in Norfolk - not something I mention on air on Radio Suffolk too often! I moved here to Suffolk when my first child was born and have now been here longer than anywhere else. I'm truly Suffolkated! However, at risk of causing a bit of heated debate (I know there's lots of rivalry between the two counties, particularly over football) I think Suffolk and Norfolk are both bootiful!

What is your East Anglian Heaven ie what do you love most about East Anglia?

For me East Anglia is where I grew up so all my memories and roots are here. I'm a country girl at heart, rather than a townie, and love the landscapes in all seasons. I was allowed to run free as a child and we'd go off along the country lanes on our bikes. I love the grass verges full of cow parsley, banks lined with primroses and shiny conkers falling from horse chestnut trees. My Heaven is a walk through the countryside.

What is your East Anglian Hell ie what you hate most about living here?

This is really tricky - there aren't many things I hate. I guess having to sit in traffic to get in and out of work in Ipswich is not my favourite way to spend time although I think in comparison with living in a big city like Birmingham or Cambridge it's probably not a problem at all! It's all relative!

What's your favourite East Anglian restaurant?

Since we've moved to Felixstowe we have really enjoyed being able to walk to nearby restaurants. We have a couple of favourites - The Anatolia Turkish restaurant and The Alex. We also live very near to one of Suffolk's most popular Fish and Chip shops - The Regal. - not good for the diet! When we have friends come to stay they are very jealous of the choices we have.

What's your favourite way to spend an East Anglian evening?

We're very lucky to have some great friends and there is nothing better than spending an evening together over some good food and a drop or two of wine. The long summer evenings are wonderful for spending time chatting around our new fire pit!

What's your favourite East Anglian landmark?

There are several but I'm going to pick the green in Long Melford. I lived just around the corner on Westgate Street for many happy years when my boys were growing up and I still have very fond memories of dog walks, impromptu picnics and games of rounders there.

What's the best thing that happens in East Anglia every year?

My husband is Mark Murphy, the breakfast presenter at BBC Radio Suffolk, and three years ago he came up with the idea for Suffolk Day so I'm going to choose that! Year on year Suffolk Day gets bigger and bigger. It takes place next Friday June 21. A great chance to celebrate the county.

What is your Mastermind subject?

I'm always useless at quiz nights but I can occasionally answer obscure questions about nature or cookery so either of those!

What is always in your fridge?

Ok - I admit it - wine! And beer! And usually milk!

What's your simple philosophy of life?

Try to enjoy every moment - this could be your best time!

What's your favourite film?

Star Wars - the first one. I was in America and had no idea what it was we were going to see and I was blown away!

What was your first job?

Various summer holiday jobs including strawberry picking, waitressing in Jarrold's restaurant in Norwich and one year light bulb testing. My first proper job was with BBC Radio Leeds far too long ago to remember the date!

What is your most treasured possession?

The photos of my boys when they were young. They are both into their 30s these days and I can't believe where the time has gone - it only feels like yesterday that they were very lively youngsters!

Who do you admire most?

I was sent to interview Group Captain Leonard Cheshire when he was listed in the New Year's Honours and I remember coming away feeling I had met someone truly good. He spoke so wisely and thoughtfully about having been an observer of the Hiroshima bomb.

What is your biggest indulgence?

Having my hair done every 5-6 weeks. I have a fantastic hairdresser - Kirsty. She has been looking after me for the last 20 or more years and we both agree that my present hairstyle is probably my best. (Blonde is the new grey!!) Recently at the Suffolk show my colleagues put up a display of photos showing my various hairstyles over the years - very embarrassing!!

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What do you like about yourself most?

I like to think I'm pretty easy going these days and don't stamp my foot to get my own way too often. Mark may not agree though.

What's your worst character trait?

My boys say I don't listen which is a bit ironic as listening to my guests on the radio is what I'm paid to do!

Where is your favourite holiday destination?

I don't have a favourite - I think variety is the key but Mark loves Florida so we regularly visit there! One amazing trip we had earlier this year was to visit our oldest son Tom who is a geologist and doing a Master's Degree on Svalbard in the high Arctic Circle. It was lovely to see where he was living and to head out with him on snowmobiles!

Best day of your life?

Top of the list, of course, are the days I had my children and the day I got married, but outside family events, my best day was when I'd returned from climbing Kilimanjaro and we realised how much money had been donated to help build the EACH Treehouse Hospice. People kept dropping in bags of coins, and envelopes with fivers and tenners. Two anonymous donations were popped through the letterbox - one of £800, the other £1100. I was moved to tears by people's generosity.

What's your favourite breakfast?

Bacon and Avocado on brown wholemeal toast - mmmmmm

What's your favourite tipple?

It depends where and when! I'm partial to a glass of chilled prosecco but I also quite enjoy sampling the many new gins available! (And gin has less syns if you're following a certain diet!)

What's your hidden talent?

I can hang a spoon on my nose - although it's not a totally hidden talent as I have been known to do it at dinner parties (much to Marks embarrassment!)

When were you most embarrassed?

Once I tried to talk into an ice cream cornet instead of my microphone on an outside broadcast! I then got the giggles so listeners must have been very confused.

What's your earliest memory?

I have a vague recollection of getting separated from my mum in a shop. All I can remember is the feeling of panic and seeing lots of legs walking past!

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Do you know I have no idea - and as I won't be here I'm not too sure I will worry.

Tell us something people don't know about you?

I interviewed Billy Connolly many years ago when I worked at BBC Radio Norfolk and he was lovely. I also chatted to Diana Dors not long before she died.

What's the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?

When the nurse confirmed that my eldest son Thomas had type one diabetes. He was only five and I was devastated. He is now 34 years old and has travelled the world. At the moment he is a geologist living in the Arctic Circle on Svalbard. He hasn't let his diabetes hold him back!

Tell us why you live here and nowhere else.

Where else in the world could be better than here? It's lovely to go away but it's always wonderful to come back home. I love looking out of the aeroplane window as we fly over England and seeing the patchwork of fields - there's nowhere else quite like it!

What do you want to tell our readers about most?

Wherever you listen in East Anglia - give your BBC local radio a try - especially the afternoon show if you live in Suffolk! You'll always get your fix of national news but we also cover all the issues that matter locally.

Follow Gina Long @geewizzgee1 Email: gina@hallfarmfornham.com

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