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


Great afternoon on Tuesday at West Norfolk Foxhounds – Puppy Show as guest of the Joint Masters

I had never considered before how these dogs are trained and assessed, nor the broad spectrum of people who are involved. All of this years puppies in the kennels were judged – plus the best working dog and so in in their various classes and the ‘puppy walkers’ for the winners in each class were awarded a cup or spoon accordingly.

Judges were Richard Tyacke and Edward Foster from whom I learned a great deal.

I do expect photo’s to follow as I was unable to take my own on the day……..


  • The taxpayers alliance recently was critical of councils who own shops and other properties. Breckland own  a fair number of commercial premisses of many kinds plus a golf club and factories outside of the district as investments. It is the rent from them which helps us to keep the council tax low. below is my response to the taxpayers alliance – what do you think?  Please let me know

    Gordon Bambridge I agree with those councils who invest their reserves in short, medium and long term assets, and property is one of the best investments. This does not constitute ‘hoarding’ and is surely a wise move by the authority and at the end of the day the asset remains publicly owned, and if needed could be liquidated for the benefit of the taxpayer. In our council income from property is equal to the council tax income and it enables us to return the lowest district council tax in England with no loss of service for our community. We should be applauding sensible and well managed investment, whilst of course being critical of poorly managed investments, and vanity projects – be they council offices, golf clubs or anything else. Our council operates from a Porta-cabin, albeit a very nice one. Where sometimes local authorities go wrong is when they try to manage a business outside of their skill sets, we own and rent to commercial traders, manufacturers and such who like the stability renting from a LA gives them and are happy to pay local commercial rates in their rental agreements



Dan Grimmer wrote a piece in todays EDP ref the Northern Distributor road. It affects all of us who live in Upper Wensum Ward to a greater or lesser extent. This is my reply to Dan today

Hi Dan,

I certainly agree with your last comment about the road ending on the A1067. 

What had been missed by NCC planners totally was the potential effect on residents of the myriad of villages between the two roads A1067 and A47 between Norwich and Fakenham, but particularly the villages which I represent on Breckland Council, Hockering, Lyng, Sparham, Bawdeswell and Foxley. It would also affect all those villages on the Bawdeswell – Kings Lynn B1140 Billingford, Elmham, Brisley etc. Not to mention the rat running in Taverham and Costessey etc which had been considered to the detriment of the outer villages 

I believe that this impact had not been considered a serious prospect until I, with Cllrs Rose and Claussen took it to the inspectors hearing last August. Following our intervention the inspector insisted that mitigation be in place before construction. As yet we do not see any. 

Personally I think the NDR is a desirable and much needed road for Norfolk, but to end it short of the A47 is a big mistake. Some years ago I was chairman of the Wensum Valley Trust (Project) and walked all the proposed routes at the Western end which would have completed this route. it was evident then that concerns over crossing the Wensum were over emphasised and that the closest route to Norwich would have been the cheapest, have least environmental impact and affect the lowest number of residents. I know this may have changed with a decade of new developments, but we must start to plan now for a complete joining of the NDR to both East and West of Norwich.

Best regards,



TODAYS EDP 2/6/2015



Had the great pleasure of attending the ceremony today at RAF Mildenhall to witness the change of command ceremony.

It was a good to meet Col and Mrs Torkelson  after the ceremony and welcome them back to East Anglia where he had served before.


Spent part of today with the lovely ladies of Swaffham Lionesses who have raised £250.00 for Norfolk Accident Rescue copy and past link below

ONLY 2 AND A BIT DAYS TO GO!! Closes 30/5/15! An urgent appeal by the Norfolk Accident Rescue Service (NARS). We currently have on loan an automatic CPR machine called a Lucas 2. It has already saved at least one life in Dereham. Unfortunately we have to send it back soon, so we need to buy one. But they cost nearly £10,000. We have applied to the Aviva Community Fund for the money, but to win, we need your support. All you have to do is register and vote for our project. It will cost you nothing – just a couple of minutes of your time. Your vote could literally help save someone’s life!