'We used to wrap up potato peelings' - readers share their Jack Valentine memories

PUBLISHED: 15:07 05 February 2018 | UPDATED: 15:44 05 February 2018

Youngsters enjoying the Valentine day free buns at Somerleyton Hall in 1967

Youngsters enjoying the Valentine day free buns at Somerleyton Hall in 1967

It is a quintessentially Norfolk tradition that seems to have been forgotten. But readers have been sharing their Jack Valentine memories over on Norwich Remembers.

Lisa Kidd posted in our Facebook group on Monday morning, prompting other members to share whether or not Father Valentine (as he is sometimes known) ever left gifts on their doorsteps too.

Mark Howes wrote that he received a “Colouring book, pencils or books and sweets. The knock would come and my parents were in the room with me! Think my sister or brothers would run from the front door to the back super quick.”

Margaret Blanchflower commented “Yes it was such fun. Also did it for my children and the grandchildren.”

Jack Valentine - like Father Christmas, the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny - was usually played by parents to bring some magic to their young children’s Valentine’s Day.

“I got something left for several years then I found out it was my mum so I didn’t feel left out” wrote Tina Woods.

Carrie Coleman commented “We eagerly waited for Mr Valentine every year but we never figured out how it was gone as both my parents would be sitting watching TV. I found out later that one of the other dads on the street we were friends with would do it an all the dads would take turns to do other people’s houses but never did their own.”

Andy Muir shed some light on the Norfolk tradition for those who had never heard of Mr Valentine, writing “The door knocker would go and two or three times no one was there then there would be a brown paper bag with a gift. Great fun for the young.”

Hopefully other readers received better gifts than Sue Thompson though, as she revealed “we used to wrap up potato peelings and leave them on the step in the early 1960’s.” Interesting choice, Mr Valentine...

• Do you have any more Jack Valentine memories? Share them in the comments below.

For more Norfolk and Norwich memories, including some excellent pictures from our archives, join our Facebook group Norwich Remembers.

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