A newt, a scale model of the parish church and the branches of a tree all feature in a unique village sign unveiled in Aylmerton.

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The sign is the result of seven years of tireless work by the village, and fine craftsmanship from retired blacksmith Ian Ridgway.

Aylmerton Parish Hall chairman John Rampling, 74, said the idea for a sign in the village, which had not previously had one, began in 2007.

The retired loss adjuster, who was chairman of the parish council at the time, said: “We were one of the few villages which did not have its own sign. We thought it was time something was done and decided it should be a community project.”

The 400 people in the village were invited to submit their ideas for a sign to represent the village, which were handed over to Mr Ridgway.

“He came up with some ideas but it was a long process, and after the third attempt he realised he had the idea,” said Mr Rampling.

“What he produced was a sign which is effectively a big tree trunk in steel.”

The sign took seven years to finish due to £2,750 of fund-raising which was needed, and Mr Ridgway’s health problems. The experienced blacksmith developed carpal tunnel syndrome, and needed two operations on his hands, which delayed work, but Mr Ramping said he had been determined to finish it.

He said: “His surgery was only partly successful, and it took him a long time to recover.”

People in the village were asked to donate to the sign, and the parish hall made a substantial donation. It resulted in a sign which represents the village and its pond and nearby wood, and a garden is to be planted around the sign.

It was officially unveiled by North Norfolk District Councillor Helen Eales on 
Saturday.

“One of the nicest things is that this has been a real community project,” said Mr Rampling, “I think it has brought the village closer together.”

“I think people are excited at the fact we have got an absolutely unique sign. It has been a long time coming and it has been worth every bit.”

Are you fundraising for a community project? Email sabah.meddings@archant.co.uk

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