Norfolk Day is a wonderful opportunity to highlight this unique county
PUBLISHED: 07:00 16 February 2018 | UPDATED: 10:53 16 February 2018
I'm proud and delighted to stand alongside my fantastic colleagues at the EDP and BBC Radio Norfolk to launch the inaugural Norfolk Day.
This is a wonderful opportunity to highlight this unique county and why it’s so special. Like our counties most famous son, I am a Norfolk man and Glory in being so. As we launch Norfolk Day I’ve been reflecting on my own affections about the place I proudly call home, and what notable characters have said about our part of the country.
This county of ours, though at times misunderstood and derided, has a special status in the United Kingdom. It’s not just its geographical significance as the eastern outpost, or our Royal connections. Norfolk incites a utopian imagery of ‘how many feel Britain ‘was’ or ‘should be’. With dramatic cliffs and chalk downs, a history far older than any written documents, delightful rivers, unique still waters, low-lying fens, captivating towns, a historic roll of famous folk and a group of Saxon, Norman, and medieval churches crammed with beauty – Norfolk is truly unique.
I accept not everyone shares my appreciation of Norfolk. AA Gill ridiculously proclaimed Norfolk to be the ‘hernia on the end of England.’ And the late critic’s indignation didn’t stop there! For him Norfolk was ‘a region for mockery, a space for low jokes and coarse assumptions’ and so on! But Mr Gill is in the absolute minority.
My column today is a love letter, promoting a further outlet for our collective adoration. We need to be better at shouting about where we live, we need to embrace our quirkiness.
I loathe the notion that a true Norfolkian’s rightfully claim is based on several generations being located in the local graveyards. I deplore the idea that our county’s true identity is found in our past. Norfolk is an evolving story. Our communal origins are of course important, however anyone from anywhere can rightly lay claim to this county as their home. In fact, the warm welcome we afford strangers has always been our enduring strong point.
It’s a pleasure to join forces with the EDP who have reported on and reflected Norfolk life since 1870. The editorial team have a zest and passion for our county, as do my BBC colleagues. I’m excited that we’re joining Norfolk’s two biggest and most influential media platforms with the sole intention of giving our county a boost. This innovative and new way of promoting Norfolk is wholly positive and should be broadly welcomed. From businesses and institutions to the wider public, Norfolk Day is for everyone who shares in our collective appreciation of our county.
A visit to Norfolk lingers long in the mind. Frequently, in conversation I’ve held across the world, our county is appreciated. I can almost feel my chest puff out with pride when I talk of where I’m from. Though I spent a long time out of the county, this love of Norfolk is an infection of the heart. A blissful disease.