Meet action woman Kate who loves everything about Cromer
08:00 17 March 2014
She enjoys crab fishing, steam engines and flying with acrobatic display teams, but her true passion is Cromer and its heritage. Reporter SOPHIE WYLLIE met with Kate Royall, 31, who is at the heart and soul of some of Cromer’s major community events.
As soon as she stepped into the room for the interview, Kate Royall apologised for her appearance.
“I have just been on a crab boat all morning,” she explained.
Most people do not associate crab and lobster fishing with young people but the sea-based hobby is just one of many things the 31-year-old art enthusiast gets involved with.
Miss Royall, from Suffield Park on the edge of Cromer, first threw herself into life in the north Norfolk seaside town after finishing her fine art degree and masters at Cumbria Institute of the Arts, Carlisle, and one year internship for the Wordsworth Trust in the Lake District.
“I really enjoy being involved in everything. I love where I live and am really interested in anything and everything that is connected to the sea.”
On top of her full-time job as a digital and communications officer for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, she is secretary of the Cromer and Sheringham Crab and Lobster Festival, volunteers for Cromer Carnival and helps arrange the Cromer New Year’s Day fireworks photographic competition.
She was also on Cromer Town Council between 2011 to last year, helped with the press and marketing of the Cromer and Sheringham Arts Festival (COAST), and had a stint as captain of the Cromer Ladies Football Club when she was 17-years-old.
Miss Royall, who grew up in Northrepps, said: “It is hectic but I like being busy. There are times when I think it would be nice to get a rest and a holiday in the sun. If I sit down on a Saturday night without anything planned I feel quite jittery and I don’t know what to do with myself.”
She puts her active nature down to her family upbringing.
“From an early age my parents were very pro-active people. We were always going somewhere or doing something like going to museums or having family days out. My parents, brother and I did a lot of things together, which was a big influence,” Miss Royall added.
Her mother Christine, a mobile hairdresser, father Ian, a quantity surveyor, and brother Alex, 28, a Papworths farmer, all live in Suffield Park.
After studying at Northrepps Primary School and Cromer High School Miss Royall completed A-levels in art, photography, English literature and media studies at Paston Sixth Form College in North Walsham.
This was followed by a foundation year at the Norwich School of Art and Design before studying in Carlisle.
She said: “Art was something I really enjoyed doing from primary school. I was always drawing or going to galleries or cultural places. A lot of my friends did practical courses at university like nursing and teaching but I wanted to study something that I loved.”
During her six years at Carlisle she organised exhibitions of large-scale art installations around the town but also developed a degree course about contemporary curation and taught at the art school.
During her internship with the Wordsworth Trust, an educational and historical organisation devoted to romantic poet William Wordsworth at Grasmere, she organised art exhibitions.
And it was during that time when she became involved in community events including village quizzes.
“The internship was a steep learning curve and taught me how to budget for proper exhibitions. From those events I became interested in marketing and communications,” Miss Royall added.
After returning to Northrepps, she helped set up the COAST festival committee in 2008 which will be in its fifth year this autumn.
During the same year she was also instrumental in setting up the Crab and Lobster Festival committee, which celebrates everything about fishing heritage. The annual event is also heading into its fifth year.
It also features an art trail and tasty dishes based on the coastal delicacies.
She said: “I started getting involved with the festival because of the art side. A lot of the volunteers are passionate people and have their specialities. When you go to a festival meeting it is a pleasure.”
She added there were dozens of people involved in that particular event as well as the Cromer Carnival who had passion in abundance.
“I always think Cromer is really lucky. The volunteers for the carnival committee are incredible. There are so many people who have been doing it for decades and decades.”
It was through the carnival she managed to fly with the Wildcat display team from Old Buckenham last year.
As well as the festivals she finds time to volunteer for the North Norfolk Railway between Holt and Sheringham, which includes cleaning historic engines.
She said: “Life is too short. I have made a New Year’s resolution to say yes more because I didn’t think I was saying it enough. Things are better if you are pro-active.”