Overstrand history preserved for the future through new audio trail

Keith Skipper tries out one of the Overstrand Undersong listening posts, watched Belfry Arts Centre director Nora Gaston and sound recordist Duncan McAfee. Photo: Karen Bethell Keith Skipper tries out one of the Overstrand Undersong listening posts, watched Belfry Arts Centre director Nora Gaston and sound recordist Duncan McAfee. Photo: Karen Bethell

Saturday, March 29, 2014
5:31 PM

Sea shanties, maritime stories and folklore from a north Norfolk village have been preserved for future generations.

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Pat Horn of Felmingham, who went to school at Overstrand more than 60 years ago, tries out a listening post outside the Belfry Arts Centre, watched by her friend, Bridget Simmons. Photo: Karen BethellPat Horn of Felmingham, who went to school at Overstrand more than 60 years ago, tries out a listening post outside the Belfry Arts Centre, watched by her friend, Bridget Simmons. Photo: Karen Bethell

Visitors to Overstrand, and residents, will be able to listen to a mixture of voices from the village after the new Undersong audio trail was unveiled today.

It was the idea of Nora Gaston, artistic co-ordinator of the Belfry Arts Centre in Overstrand, and the songs, stories and poems can be heard from three posts in the village.

Mrs Gaston, from Northrepps, said: “It is about the characters of this village and the surrounding areas. Everybody comes here to walk on the beaches but they don’t know about the exciting stories and folklore. There are incredible characters here.”

The £13,000 project, created by London artist Duncan McAfee, includes voices from children at Northrepps Primary School and the Belfry School in Overstrand to former fisherman John Worthington, 89.

Children from the school also helped produce some of the sounds for the trail, which partly focuses on the December 5 storm surge.

Sea shanties were sung by the Castaways and the audio includes the Black Shuck legend - a story about a black dog with red eyes which is believed to appear in the village.

Gordon Partridge, Overstrand parish councillor, said: “It is a fantastic project. Oral history is sometimes forgotten. The myths and legends handed down are the things that bind people together.

“Hopefully the project will enhance the village for visitors. It is important that when people visit they know what the community is about.”

He added the recent storm surge made people realise the power of nature.

Broadcaster Keith Skipper, from Cromer, unveiled the trail and said: “It is important for communities to embrace and cherish heritage.”

The posts are by the Overstrand Information Point and the Belfry Arts Centre.

Is your community organising an interesting heritage project? Email sophie.wyllie@archant.co.uk

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