The first recipients of a county’s “Nobel Prize” have been presented with their medals.
The Suffolk Medal, designed by artist Maggi Hambling, recognises individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to county life.
Former newspaper editor Terry Hunt, community leader Rev Canon Sally Fogden and philanthropist Richard Martineau were the inaugural winners.
They received their awards ahead of Suffolk Day on Friday.
The medal was devised by former High Sheriff George Vestey, who convened a panel to select the winners.
Clare Fitzroy, Countess of Euston and Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, said the decisions had been unanimous.
“I see it very much as Suffolk’s highest honour for one of its own: our Nobel Prize, if you like,” she said.
The medals, which are cast in silver and feature a wave design, were presented at a ceremony in Stowmarket.
Mr Hunt, a former editor of the East Anglian Daily Times and chair of town centre organisation Ipswich Vision, said he was “overwhelmed”.
“It doesn’t get any better than being honoured by your own county,” he added.
Rev Canon Fogden became one of Suffolk’s first women deacons in 1987, founded the Suffolk Farming Community Network, and leads an initiative to fight rural isolation.
She said: “I feel it’s an honour for the various charities I work with, and it’s for them as much as it is for me.”
Mr Martineau has dedicated his life to protecting the history and character of his village of Walsham-le-Willows.
He called the day “a lovely event” but said there were “people who deserve medals more, particularly those working at the sharp end who need the help”.