Town heritage trail launches after plaques targeted by thieves and vandals
PUBLISHED: 17:41 11 July 2019 | UPDATED: 18:08 11 July 2019
Fakenham's new heritage trail has been launched - just days after one of the plaques was stolen and another was vandalised.
In the sunny Market Place, dozens of people heard the church bells ringing out the occasion, and gathered to hear from those who brought the trail to life.
Town mayor Gilly Foortse began the speeches, confirming that the Market Place would be recobbled in October as part of the Fakenham facelift.
As part of the work already done, shops on Norwich Road have been repainted, at a cost of £10,000.
Mrs Foortse told crowds "We also have plans for more greening of our town, including wildflower areas. You will be hearing a lot more about this in months to come."
Councillor Richard Lineham then thanked retailers for their help in the facelift, before the trail's organiser George Acheson talked about how it came about.
Mr Acheson said: "It has been two or more years in the planning, and it really is a relief to come to the opening today. Any of you who have seen the plaques or maps will have seen how we have tried to put quality in the making of the trail.
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"Sadly, one of the plaques at Gogg's Mill has been stolen, and another has been vandalised at three brick arches. That plaque is now back in pristine condtion, thanks to [town councillor] Tim Duffy's elbow grease.
"It is mindless and stupid that such expensive plaques are destroyed for their scrap value, which is zilch.
"A member of the archive society asked me 'If you find the vandals who are devising their own trail of destruction throughout the town, does the council have the power to put place and use some stocks in the Market Place?'".
Mr Acheson thanked members of the Fakenham and District Community Archive and Fakenham History Society, who brought a selection of heritage photos as part of the ceremony.
These were placed in the library and in shop windows, showing the evolution of shop fronts around the town.
Lyn Maple, of the archive, said "George pushed us to do things, but he really worked his socks off on this. It's nice to come together, since all of the heritage societies work together."
Fakenham Academy students trialled the trail recently, and the band from the school played the ceremony out.
Information in the trail can be viewed at www.flht.co.uk.