Up early as usual and spent a few hours on the net getting up to date and sending emails etc, also reading up for Mondays meeting at Breckland Planning plus the meeting on Billingford Lakes. Big day for many folks on both sides of the issue.
Quick trip into Derham then spent the day in the garden…..we have a big job in hand with clearing what had been the old nursery beds fifteen years ago. Trees in 8″ pots now 20ft tall and covered in woodbine and clematis plus the dreaded brambles…but just too hot so spent a lot of time in a chair with a book or cutting grass…sorted. This is also my last Saturday and Sunday with no formal appointments until end of September so a rest is called for.
Been a busy week doing not too much but taking all my time if you know what I mean
TUESDAY was the press ride for the Round Britain Cycle race which is coming to the district on Sept 12th. A hardy bunch of press councillors and public supported by professional cyclists and police out-riders set off from East Haring on the 15 mile ride to Elvedon Courtyard. Sorry I was not able to join the ride, but I did get to the close to welcome them in after about an hour. Well done, all finished. The actual ride will travel through FIVE of the villages in my Ward Guist, Twyford, Bintree, Foxley and Bawdeswell where it leaves Breckland for Broadland district. I had expected to attend in one of them but have been asked to represent Breckland at the start, and the speed they achieve will be unable to beat them to the ward. There are very few WORLD CLASS sporting events which are entirely free to view, and this is one of them. they expect well over 100,000 folks to turn out along the route - I hope that you will be one of them. I turned out in 2012, and whilst the experience is very short it is amazingly exhilarating to see 100 or so top athletes followed by the stragglers and support vehicles and police etc. It will then enter the district again at Attleborough and proceed to the Suffolk border to continue the penultimate day of the race. Breckland is happy to support this event which brings many advantages to the district and it’s businesses.
THURSDAY attended the Preview day for THETFORD’S Great Festival. Interesting evening where I met several of the participants of the festival and a load of Thetford characters including the larger than life Town Crier, the Mad Monk, some distinctly dangerous looking Knights in Armour, Catherine of Aragon, Captain Mainwaring and Pt Pike, a lot of over-made up and distinctly suspect ‘ladies’, and a herd of colourful cows…..! sorry if I missed anyone there was so much happening If you can get to Thetford any day up to and including the 6th September there is something going on. I will be there on 25th all day and possibly parts of other days as well. Many events are entirely free.
FRIDAY attended a meeting regarding proposed changes in how we do licensing at Breckland. This follows some complaints by objectors at a recent hearing. our proposals will (hopefully) be ratified at the September meeting.
The Breckland chain was returned to manufacturer today for refurbishment etc. Its now well over 40 years old and can do with a clean and a small repair and this is the time when I have least appointments. I will have two tomorrow and will do them chain-less.That is the press event in East Harling for the Tour of Britain Media Ride and then on to Elveden to see them home. I am sorry to not be riding with them but an old injury means I could not manage 15 miles in 45-60 minutes.
Start is at George and Dragon in East Harling, maybe see you there? Finish is Eleveden courtyard. I expect to be there to see and encourage them home. Probably take the opportunity to buy a few of the excellent Elveden sausages whilst I am there. Met Lord Inveigh in the shop last year and he persuaded me to try some, and enjoyed them whenever passing ever since. One thing I share with Thetford Stalwart Councillor and former mayor Terry Lamb is a love of a good ENGLISH sausage.
As I am in area will call in to Thetford also, and will be back there on Thursday for the Great Festival Preview evening.
Attended Cllr Shirley Weymouth’s civic service in Gt Yarmouth on Sunday. The service took place in Gt Yarmouth Minster church which is the largest parish church in England and it also celebrated the ending of the second world war which was commemorated yesterday as VJ Day.
Both Shirley and the attending councillors and congregation made the usual commitments for the coming year and we sang some rousing hymns and finished with the National Anthem followed by tea and biscuits in the church.
As well as networking with Broadland, North Norfolk, Waveney and Gt Yarmouth councils I was able meet several more veterans of WWII including one lady who had served as a WAAF from 1941 to 1946 and she reminisced about VE day in Trafalgar Square as well as her time of service. Also met the son of one of the Gt Yarmouth drifter skippers who was drafted into mine clearance work and boom management in the North Sea in this area. Whilst we respect remember and honour those who serve our nation in the armed forces today, we should not forget just how involved the whole country was in the time of war in Europe. Every man woman and child was totally involved
I attended two VJ Day events yesterday representing Breckland and met a few ‘old soldiers’ some in their 90′s who had served in WWII and others who had served in Korea, Iraq, Falklands and so on. All had comrades who had died that we might live in freedom. At the address at one of these events the minister said that in only one year of the 70 since VJ Day had no British serviceman/woman been lost in combat somewhere in the world. Sharing with Ken Leggett, Chairman of Broadland Council afterwards we both agreed that we must never forget. I do believe that a younger generation is now more aware that a few years ago. The centenary of WWI has ensured this awareness, long may it continue.
At Breckland Council offices in Dereham on 3rd September at 9.45am we will be raising the Red Ensign in remembrance of the work done by the Merchant Navy. All who wish to may gather in the car park by the flag staffs at that time
Mixed day yesterday, spent lots of time on the telephone and emailing but Grandson was over for the day.Took him to tennis coaching at Easton and grabbed a take-away for lunch (gives us the excuse) We stayed to watch and he really is getting quite good.
Late afternoon attended Billingford Lakes where a planning matter is to be decided on 24th. This is part of the new area of my Ward and has been rumbling on for several years so rely on Bill for taking any lead role, but I am getti g lots of emails and telephone calls about it. Could not stay long as had a couple of appointments in evening, but managed to speak with residents from Billingford, Worthing, Dereham etc.
Today will be attending VJ day remembrances in morning at Thetford and evening in Norwich. 70th anniversary of the Japanese surrender following the dropping of two atomic bombs. The first and only times these weapons have been used. I was alive at the time but have no memory but it was an event which overshadowed the 1950′s when I was growing up during the cold war period. Actually I met the pilot of the chase/reserve plane over Hiroshima (the one that recorded the event) as he was based in Norfolk in the 50′s and my father did some business with him. After rationing it was good to attend a real American BBQ at his home and for the first time Tuna Steaks. Rationing had finished but we were still living on pretty basic foods in rural England – what we could grow. 60 years on and I can remember that….
Its almost two months since I last put up a blog post. Cannot really say why, it’s just that I have been so busy, and although I have kept twittering and face-booking I have missed doing this as it takes just a bit more time and effort. Here today I will give a brief catch-up on what a Council Chairman has been up to since 14th June
During June/July and early August I had a series of meetings including attending:-
Dereham Windmill opening
Flying the Flag for Armed Forces Day
Looking round the re-cycling centre
Visit to RAF Marham with two fly past’s Spitfire and Tornado
Prize Day at Wymondham College
Re-dedication of Hockering Church
Norfolk Show including Young Farmers strawberry and Pimms tea
Wisbech Rose Fair
Reception at Bodney Camp with Guards
Norwich Lord Mayors Procession
Sports Day at Fred Nicholson School
Visit to Lakenheath with a fly past and the bird scaring hawks
Opened Brisley new playground
Three centre visit for the Duleep Singh Memorial
Presenting prises for the posters for re-cycling
St Edmundsbury Cathedral for the Mayor of Bury St Edmunds
Norfolk CC Summer Reception
Open and start a Vintage Car Rally
Bawdeswell New Village Hall open weekend
Any Questions for Radio 4 at Attleborough
RAF Mildenhall Bar-B-Que
Norwich in Bloom – I am a judge and this was the prize giving – Not a Breckland event, but I do get to network with other councillors from Norwich
Dereham Business Forum
North Tuddenham Fete
Watton Mayors Civic Service
All of these representing the people of Breckland.
In addition to all of these some 35 Breckland or Parish meetings. Two of the events were two day and one of the meetings lasted all day, so I have been pretty busy as you can see.
Today I will be at a Battle of Britain remembrance at Norwich Castle this evening and will be at a meeting in the ward this afternoon and over the weekend will be attending two VJ day remembrance services, one in Breckland and one in Norwich for the County, plus a Civic Service in Gt Yarmouth and I will be reporting on these
This time Kings Lynn. Colin Manning was led into the Minster by King Johns Sword and a whole parcel of civic officials for a full swearing in service attended my many of the great and the good from the area. The sermon dealt at length with the towns history and Colin has a strong tradition to follow in his new role as Mayor for the Borough of Kings Lynn and West Norfolk. Brecklands history of course goes back about 40 years, but our towns and villages each have a relevant history of their own as I will no doubt establish as my year progresses.
The service was followed by a short reception in the Historic Town hall on the Saturday Market Place. Some of my misspent youth was conducted in Kings Lynn. I remember of course the MART being the first fair of the year in February and some very cold nights they were too, on the Tuesday Market Place. The old Pilot cinema was a favourite as it showed films not always seen in the Majestic and others in town.
Todays event was very much quieter but just as enjoyable as those of 50 years ago….thank you Colin.
This has indeed been a week of Thetford events.
(1) Sports Experience Day = lots of young folks enjoying the day trying out various sporting activities, Ju-Jitsu, Football, Rugby, Base-ball, Dance about 30 different disciplines in all and really having a whale of a time. The thing is they all had real challenges in their lives and many/most had never before been able to anything like this before -ever -. A young lady walking the beam in the gym area or a young guy attempting volley ball with assistance from the well over 200 helpers and staff was awe inspiring, and the organiser tells me that in the past he has seen someone from one of these days enter the disabled olympics. I pray that one of todays contestants is so inspired. What is important is that they all got a medal, so every one was indeed a winner, Well done to all.
ps they gave me one too. I am so proud to have been invited.
(2) Cutting the Sod for the Riverside project. I have had a connection with this site since well before I became a councillor, and throughout my time on Breckland it has been either in the background or foreground of Thetford debates. Well the time has come, the ground has been breached and building can now get underway, by the end of Next year Thetford will have a brand new Riverside to be proud of with a cinema for all the community, an hotel for visitors to stay in and a new range of eateries to cater for both. Plus we all certainly hope, it will be in inspiration for all the other businesses and sections of the community to continue the proud history of this ancient town at the gateway to Norfolk.
(3) Attended the Mayor’s Reception in the town halls Carnegie room. Here the heritage of Thetford was apparent. The Mayor with his historic robes and fantastic civic chain. The Town Cryer and the pomp of a market town which stretches back to medieval times and beyond, Roman….Stone age…..As an historian I am sure that Robert will correct any of my misinterpretations of the area although part of my own heritage is rooted in the Brecks and the forests of the area between Watton and Thetford.
One of my family, being a Warrener, sent tens of thousands of rabbits each year, as meat, to London and the midland cities. If all accounts can be believed the numbers were often made up with other beasties as well. As I was sharing with another guest at Roberts reception, as children, we would be able to pay for the local cinema in Watton with two rabbit skins per entry in the late 1940′s, I believe that bottles were also acceptable currency.
Another story from the family relates to a member who was in court for poaching deer. a serious crime in the late 1700′s and was sentenced to deportation. He escaped from the court and was not seen for many years, was recaptured when returning for his mothers funeral and then believe it or not escaped from the court once more never to be heard of again, at least officially.
Organised by the Presidents Sporting Club and the Essex Disabled Sports Foundation This was a great day in Thetford Leisure Centre with around 500 special needs children from the area including from schools in Dereham Attleborough and Thetford accompanied by some 25o helpers and teachers. Weather held up reasonably well and a picnic on the grass was enjoyed by all. Pleasure to hand out some of the medals on the day – and they gave me one as well which I shall wear at the next Breckland Council meeting. Having problemsa uploading pics, so go to my face book page to get copies