Competition will help children learn more about the King's Lynn Mart

The King's Lynn Mart 2016 at night. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The King's Lynn Mart has had to cancel because of lockdown - Credit: Matthew Usher

Families are being encouraged to remember King's Lynn Mart with a children's colouring competition.

The centuries-old fair has been pitching up on the Tuesday Mark Place in King's Lynn since the 16th Century and was granted a Royal Charter by Henry VIII in 1537.

But this year's event has been cancelled because of lockdown. As well as those who enjoy all the fun of the fair, the closure is  blow to the showmen's community, for whom the Mart marks the start of the touring season.

Colleen Roper, whose family has run Rainbow Park Amusements at Hunstanton for 50 years Picture: Chr

Colleen Roper, whose family has run Rainbow Park Amusements at Hunstanton for 50 years - Credit: Chris Bishop

Now campaign group Future 4 Fairgrounds has launched a bid to raise awareness of Lynn's rich fairground heritage.

Founder Colleen Roper, whose family are sixth generation showmen, said "We think further awareness of who we are starts from the ground up and that starts with schools and education. By helping children to understand who showmen are and the reasons why a fairground comes to their town every year we hope we can help to break down barriers and minimise preconceived ideas as they grow to adults.

mart colouring competition

Campaigners hope to raise awareness of the King's Lynn Mart, which is unable to visit the town this year because of lockdown - Credit: Colleen Roper

"One way we can do this is by engaging more with schools and that is something we are doing with our latest idea.

"As the traditional start of a showmen’s Calendar starts with King's Lynn Mart we thought that was an important fair to start with. We have contacted 48 local primary schools local to Kings Lynn to explain our idea.

"This art work, kindly created especially for us by showman artist George Hebborn, will be sent to them and our aim is that the children will learn a few facts as well as being involved in a colouring competition.

"The winner will receive a book token for their efforts and hopefully it will start a conversation between families, keep people talking about their local fair and help them to realise that a fair should be visiting them even though it’s not physically there."

Mrs Roper, who runs Rainbow Park Amusements in Hunstanton, was sent a thank you letter on behalf of the Queen after she sent her pictures of a visit she made to the Mart in 1953. The monarch said she remembered the occasion.

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