'You can do something about things if you all pull together' - Deputy mayor shares ambitious vision for mid-Norfolk market town
It is an ambitious vision that could transform one of Norfolk's market towns - and one which a councillor is determined to make happen.
Deputy mayor of Fakenham Town Council, Gilly Foortse, is urging people to use the town and ultimately transform it into a visitor destination.
It comes ahead of a charity fashion show being held at Fakenham Racecourse in association with the town council.
As well as promoting independent retailers in the town, Mrs Foortse said it was events like this which were key in making towns thrive.
“I looked at Fakenham and saw we have quite a few independent fashion shops,” she said. “Doing a fashion show gives them a chance to showcase their goods.
“There are problems facing retail all over the world and businesses are struggling.
“Being an independent means you get a tailor-made service. You want to feel special and not just a number. That’s a big strength.”
Mrs Foortse was encouraged by the town council’s support of Fakenham’s businesses and said “with a bit of vision” it could become a visitor destination.
“It’s not all doom and gloom.
“You can do something about things if you all pull together and have a bit of vision.
“If everyone used the town centre every week then it would thrive - just five pounds a week would make such a difference. There’s lots of negatives but we need to turn those into positives. We need to look into the future to make our towns into visiting centres as well as a shopping centres, adding things such as heritage centres so people can come into the town for different purposes and not just retail.”
Mrs Foortse is also chairman of the Friends of Cranmer House, and proceeds from the fashion Show will go towards the care home. The show features Brides of Norfolk, Get Smart, Secrets, Splitz, Fakenham Foot Care, Broadland Shoes and Fakenham Eyewear, as well as Through the Looking Glass Interiors, and is sponsored by Barclays Bank Fakenham.
There are plans to hold a beauty show in the future.
Fakenham Fashion Show takes place at The Prince of Wales Stand at Fakenham Racecourse, on April 12 at 7pm.
Tickets are £15 each and can be purchased from all participating retailers or by emailing email@example.com.