CEO of Fram Farmers Richard Anscombe on why he loves (and hates) East Anglia

Richard Anscombe on the Tour de Broads North 20th August 2017

Richard Anscombe on the Tour de Broads North 20th August 2017 - Credit: Archant

CEO of Fram Farmers Richard Anscombe loves East Anglia - and Pink Floyd. He talks to Gina Long

What is your connection to East Anglia?

My wife and I moved down in early 1990 when I was transferred to Nork Hydro Fertilisers Head Office in Levington from Lancashire, to work in a small subsidiary company, Innovation Systems Ltd.

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

I am a keen cyclist and enjoy road cycling around our network of country lanes, still discovering small lanes for the first time, usually with a group of friends and cycling buddies. Cycling to the coast and back home in a day (around 65 miles) is very doable and makes a superb destination.

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

Hate is a very strong word, so I will go down the route of a major frustration. I have in the past worked on Suffolk County Council initiatives around Education and the aspiration ( or lack of) amongst people to raise their sights and aim high. We live in an area of the country with abundant natural resources yet languish very low nationally with regards to aspiration and academic success, which will hold too many people back.

What's your favourite East Anglian restaurant?

We like the Sibton White Horse. It's not pretentious, has a very varied menu, the food is always really good whilst retaining a cosy pub feel. The Adnams is good too, when it's not my turn to drive!

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

In the summer months its great to meet up with a few cycling friends and put a 25-30 mile ride in, with a stop off half way for a quick pint and a snack.

What's your favourite East Anglian landmark?

The view across the mere from New Road to Framlingham Castle gives a superb view of this spectacular landmark. If were off to the coast with friends from outside the area we'll take a detour down New Road top show them the view.

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

The finish of the awesome Dunwich Dynamo cycle ride, coinciding with the full moon in July, it's a 200km bike ride, not an organised event but an annual pilgrimage from London Fields in Hackney to the Suffolk Coast in Dunwich. It's a fabulous site seeing around 3,000 cyclists on the beach, the fastest ones arriving from around dawn on the Sunday morning.

What is always in your fridge?

Milk. It's healthy, natural and tastes good.

What's your simple philosophy of life?

Treat people well and you wont go far wrong. Warmth is the conduit for trust and when people trust you, together you can achieve great things.

What's your favourite film?

The first film that I saw that I thought was ground-breaking was Steven Spielberg's first major movie, Jaws. The suspense and the special effects were something that we hadn't seen before and paved the way.

What was your first job?

My fist full time job was as a territory manager for Norsk Hydro Fertilisers Ltd. covering North Lancashire and South Cumbria, an area of the UK that holds very fond memories as the people are so genuine and friendly, and one I would happily return to.

What is your most treasured possession?

I took a black and white picture of my two children, Hannah and Mark, cuddling up to each other on a garden bench when they were around 5 and 6 years old. It hangs up in the hall and captures their expressions and warmth perfectly.

Who do you admire most?

The Japanese industrialist Konosuke Matsushita. The founder of Panasonic. His education stopped at the age of 9 years of age as he had to go out to work as an apprentice to bring money into the family, which had fallen on very hard times. He built up what we now know as Panasonic with such strong ethics and a determination to benefit the wider society. It's a story well worth reading about a man who was well ahead of his time.

What is your biggest indulgence?

My wife tells me that I spend far too much money on building up my collection of bikes and all the attendant paraphernalia, but I'm not sure that she is right!

What's your worst character trait?

I used to expect others to show the same traits and high standards of loyalty and honesty that I do and mark them down heavily when they did not. But I have learnt that all of us are different and look at life our own way and with our own goals and desires, and that this is OK, in fact its essential!

Where is your favourite holiday destination?

My wife and I go surfing in Cornwall almost every year to a fabulous place just north of Newquay called Watergate Bay. The beach and surf are fantastic as is the local hotel which we stay in.

Best day of your life?

I vividly remember the four of us skiing down a slope in La Rossiere when our children were aged ten and eleven, with Penny at the front and me at the back, all four of us skiing closely together with, as it happened, no one else on the slope and thinking, here are the three most important people in the world, we are all doing something together that we love, life doesn't get any better than this.

What's your favourite breakfast?

Full English with fried bread and a cup of tea!

What's your favourite tipple?

A good pint of Ghost Ship.

When were you most embarrassed?

I used to cycle to and from school each day, a journey of around six miles each way, most of it down winding country lanes. For some reason one afternoon quite a few of the cars that overtook honked their horns quite aggressively as they approached. When one approaching car beeped their horn I'd had enough and turned around and gave them a full Winston Churchill salute, only to see the shocked faces of one of my friends parents who recognised me and were tooting to say hello! When I reached home I phoned them immediately, they were very kind but I did feel pretty awful at the time.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

I'm a big Pink Floyd fan so would probably go for Brain Damage from Dark Side of the Moon. A few of the lyrics would raise the odd eyebrow!

Tell us something people don't know about you?

Along with 3 cycling buddies I cycled 1060 miles climbing over 60,000 feet from Lands End to John O'Groats in September 2017. It took us two weeks, cycling around 75 miles a day and was an awesome experience that I would highly recommend.

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

The word ' No ' seemed to feature more often than I would have liked when I was an awkward teenager keen to find a girlfriend!

What do you want to tell our readers about most?

I haven't mentioned my work life much, if at all. I am passionate about investing in people and my mantra as a leader and CEO of Fram Farmers, a major East Anglian Business is to 'free up good people to go and do good things' When you invest in and empower people with the right skills, knowledge and tools then they will fly. It is hugely satisfying to see this happen and to know you are helping peoples careers develop alongside doing your best for the business.