Downham Market Amenity Society to close after 40 years

Four decades ago the Downham Market Amenity Society was formed to combat the loss of heritage in the town as it expanded.

Over the years the amenity society has worked hard to argue for the beauty, history and character of the town to be maintained and for buildings to be preserved.

The society's biggest success came after members campaigned for 15 years for a southern bypass for the town which was officially opened in January 1986.

But on Monday, the hard work will be consigned to the pages of history when the society holds it's final meeting.

Chairman Sheila Parry said: 'We have been winding down for about a year now because we can't get people to take office.

'We have always had very good support and our 55 members are very loyal but no-one wants to take up the roles of chairman or secretary.

'My husband David and I have six posts between us and the society simply can't keep going on like this. Currently I am the chairman, membership secretary and planning chairman. It is devastating that we are stopping because the society has had an enormous impact on how the town looks today.'

Most Read

She added: 'I have been a member for 11 years and it has been such a privilege to be the chair of the society.'

The society came into being on April 20, 1970 after councillor Harold Rose suggested at a meeting that an amenity society was needed to act as a pressure group to conserve the best of what was left in the town.

Mr Rose was appointed chairman and remained in that role for 27 years until becoming president of the society from 1997 to 2000.

Later presidents include Sir Paul Hawkins and Baroness Gillian Shepherd.

The society's final meeting on Monday will see three cheques totalling �5,000 presented to the Downham Town Sports Federation, the town's heritage society and to help the refurbishment of Howdale Pax Scout and Guide hut.

Mrs Parry added: 'The main theme from the evening will be to pay tribute to the people who have done so much for the town over the years.'