The case for Norfolk to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games
The Commonwealth Games is being staged in Glasgow this year and the Gold Coast in 2018. But, with no nations coming forward to host the 2022 event, why can’t we put it on in Norfolk?
The head of the Commonwealth is the Queen. The Queen has a home in Norfolk.
So what better way to add a common touch to the 2022 Games than by holding it right here in Nelson’s County? If nowhere else will volunteer, than it is up to us to do our patriotic duty and honour our most famous resident.
Before you scoff, remember this: people laughed at Jules Rimet when he suggested a football World Cup. And some chuckled condescendingly when ITV devised Splash, a celebrity high diving challenge.
But maybe that’s not the best example.
The bottom line is that Norfolk is ideal to host the Commonwealth Games. It has the infrastructure – except the roads and rail links, but there’s no need to split hairs – it has the ideas and it has the enthusiasm.
And here is why it would work.
THE OPENING CEREMONY – AT CARROW ROAD
• Organised by Bruno Peek, the Norfolk-born pageantmaster
• Compered by Stephen Fry
• Catering by Delia Smith
• Music by Sheringham Shantymen, Ronan Parke, Beth Orton, the Puppet Man and Catherine Wheel
• Set pieces to feature dance troupes dressed as bitterns and coypus
• The release of thousands of canaries
• A five-minute break to clear up the bird droppings and calm those having flashbacks to Hitchcock’s The Birds
• The second half to open with a re-staging of Kett’s Rebellion
• The second half to close with Admiral Nelson leading a fleet to put down the rebellion
UEA Sportspark is the ideal lead location, with swimming, athletics and indoor sports facilities. And if it is held in August, there will be accommodation at the university for the teams of athletes – not to mention a team of interpreters from the School of Language and Communication Studies.
THE CORE SPORTS – AND THEIR LOCATIONS
• Swimming: Splash at Sheringham, with wave machine switched on.
• Diving: into the sea from a platform at the top of a Scroby Sands wind turbine.
• Track and field: UEA Sportspark.
• Marathon: Norwich, to include the cobbles of Elm Hill and crossing the Novi Sad Friendship Bridge.
• On windswept Holkham beach to make it more difficult.
• Ocean Rooms at Gorleston or Prince of Wales Road in Norwich on a Saturday night.
• Preliminary: up Gas Hill in Norwich.
• Advanced: Down Gas Hill.
• A high school gym. Any high school gym, as long as it has an old brown vaulting horse.
• UEA Sportspark.
• On Morston mudflats, with the tide coming in, so that they hurry up.
• Lawn bowls on the lawn outside Sandringham House.
• Short-mat bowls at Cromer Parish Hall.
• Indoor bowls at Potters, Hopton.
• Hellesdon Community Centre.
• North Walsham RFC.
• In any Norfolk town centre, using real pigeons.
• Cromer Squash Club.
• Adrian Flux Insurance at King’s Lynn: They have a table, and have volunteered to get tents from Halfords to house the competitors.
• Swim from Sheringham to West Runton; cycle along Norfolk Coast Path from West Runton to Hunstanton; run from Hunstanton to King’s Lynn.
• Preliminaries: Lugging barrels of ale at Norwich Beer Festival, St Andrew’s Hall
• Finals: Hauling in crab pots at Sheringham.
• To be held off-season during the January sales at Next, Haymarket, Norwich.
NORFOLK WRITER AND RACONTEUR KEITH SKIPPER’S THOUGHTS ON HOW TO STAGE THE NORFOLK 2022 COMMONWEALTH GAMES
This sporting theme has occupied my thoughts many times ever since I made a bid to stage the 1924 Olympic Games in Trunch. As you know, that idea fell on stony ground but as an official member of the IOC (Itteringham Obstacle Course) I continue to push for a strong Norfolk participation.
With this in mind I have compiled a shortlist of local locations and their events for serious consideration:
• ock climbing at Alpington
• Rodeo riding at OId Buckenham
• Chicken Plucking at Great Moulton
• Jelly making at Hethersett
• Rowing at Sculthorpe
• Reed cutting at Sedgeford
• Apple bobbing at Syderstone
• Hedge trimming at Thornage
• Road sweeping at Broome
• Carpentry at Shelfanger
• Lamp lighting at Hardwick
• Knife sharpening at Honing
• Police wrestling at Melton Constable
• 1500 metres at Mileham
• Lumberjack contest at Lopham
• Banger racing at Carbrooke
• Dubious results at Diddlington
• Marathon at Runhall
• Tossing the caber at Wood Rising
• Bull-fighting at Horningtoft
• Very long distance walk at Limpenhoe
• Underground pole vaulting at Norton Subcourse.