May 23 2013 Latest news:
By Doug Faulkner
Thursday, February 14, 2013
All the fun of the fair was on show as the King’s Lynn Mart opened today.
But there were tensions behind the scenes as the row simmered on over reducing the number of days the fair can operate.
On the eve of the first anniversary of the death of Lowestoft toddler Rio Bell, who died after being hit by a car near the fair, crossing marshalls were patrolling on King Street, where the tragedy happened.
Campaigners called for the roads around the fair to be closed and collected a 5,000-signature petition. But West Norfolk council ruled out the move.
Last night Paul Macey, who held little Rio’s hand as he lay at the roadside, said closures were the only way to ensure children’s safety around the site.
“I’m going to be going down there on different days, at different times, to monitor what’s happening,” he said.
Earlier, the fair was opened with speeches by the Mayor of West Norfolk, Geoffrey Wareham, David Wallis, president of the Showmen’s Guild, and a prayer from the Bishop of Lynn, Jonathan Meyrick.
“It’s wonderful to be back. There is a strong sense of connection to King’s Lynn and the people are very receptive to us,” said Mr Wallis. “It’s the people’s fair, not the showmen’s or the council’s, and we appreciate that. This is one of the most prestigious fair openings in the country. It is my first time as president so it’s very special. The problems with the council, I’m sure, will be resolved with a bit of good will on both sides.”
After the speeches and prayers a number of dignitaries took to the dodgems. The Rt Rev Meyrick said: “I think these things are so important.
“I think the having of fun and innocent family enjoyment and entertainment that comes from fairs like this is really important.
“I love the dodgems. I managed to bump the High Sheriff and he bumped me, so honour was satisfied.”
Ian Monson, Chairman of Norfolk County Council, said: “This is a total love affair for me. I was born and bred in King’s Lynn, I used to come as a child.
“I love it and would like to see it for as long as it can possibly be allowed.”
This year the Mart runs until Sunday, February 24, when it moves on to Wisbech.
Police in Norwich have launched an investigation after a woman claimed in a tweet she had knocked a cyclist off their bike.
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