I’ve always loved March, for a variety of reasons. When I was a child March was exciting because it included my birthday. As the years have passed, and the numbers have grown larger, I have to admit the anniversary has lost some of its sparkle.

But this year is special. I will reach the grand old age of 66, which means I officially become a state pensioner. I’ve filled in the forms, so I’m now looking forward to the money! My grown-up children love the fact that I’m becoming an 'old age pensioner'. I tell them that phrase is no longer politically correct, but they just ignore me and carry on taking the Mickey.

So, we'll have a family get-together to celebrate the momentous occasion, no doubt accompanied by lots of suitably rude birthday cards. Becoming a pensioner has been a slow, gradual process. I retired from full-time work at 60, and some age-related benefits started then, such as cheaper rail travel. My Ipswich Town season ticket dropped in price when I reached 65, but now I feel I’m a fully-fledged member of the senior citizen club.

Anyway, back to the joys of March. My primary reason for enjoying the month is because it marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring. The garden comes to life, the days are longer, and the sun gains some warmth. I look forward to rescuing the lawn mower from the deepest, darkest recesses of the shed and giving the grass its first trim of spring.

Yes, I know the weather in March is notoriously unreliable. I well remember my birthday in 2008, when it snowed . . . all day. But there comes a beautiful day in March when the sun shines, there is real warmth in the air, and we know the cold, dark days of winter are coming to an end.

For me, March always brings a PHD - not a high-level academic qualification (my tiny brain operates at a much simpler level than that) but Pink Head Day. It's when the strength of the March sun catches me unawares, usually when I’m playing golf. It’s far from sensible to get my bald bonce sunburned, so I take a hat in my golf bag. It’s just a case of remembering to actually put it on...

This year, I have another very good reason to be excited about March - Wolsey 550. We'll launch this transformational Ipswich project in early March, beginning a series of events, activities and celebrations which will continue, appropriately enough, for 550 days, until the autumn of 2024.

Great British Life: Thomas Wolsey is believed to have been born in Ipswich in 1473Thomas Wolsey is believed to have been born in Ipswich in 1473 (Image: Archant archive)

READ MORE: Suffolk greats: Thomas Wolsey, son of Ipswich

You will read, see, and hear much more as the weeks and months go on, but suffice to say this project will be very important for our historic county town. As I’ve written so many times over the years, there’s an awful lot of negativity directed towards Ipswich. Some of it is valid - name me a town or city which doesn’t have problems - but so much of the doom and gloom is wide of the mark.

Our project aims to restore a sense of pride in Ipswich, using its most famous son as its icon. Wolsey’s story is fascinating. He is the ultimate example of someone who broke the social mobility rules. How did someone of non-aristocratic birth rise so high in Tudor England? We hope his example can inspire today’s youngsters.

Wolsey was at least three centuries ahead in his understanding of the importance of education. If his college in Ipswich had survived, the town would now be regarded as one of the country’s foremost seats of learning, like Oxford or Cambridge. Did you know that Wolsey was the enlightened person who made the clergy preach their sermons in English, rather than Latin, so ordinary folk could understand?

He is a truly inspirational figure, and young people in Ipswich today can learn so much from him, reaching across the centuries. Rather like his home town of Ipswich, Wolsey has suffered from a bad press. I wonder if that's a legacy of him being bad-mouthed by the gentry who were shocked by the success of a 'butcher’s boy'?

We aim to create a new legacy for Wolsey, to change perceptions of his town, to improve social mobility and aspiration, and increase pride in Ipswich. Then, eventually, create a visitor attraction based on the unrivalled story of a place which should be calling itself the Oldest English Town.

If you want to know more, just search the internet for Wolsey 550. And watch this space!