Sikh martial artists show their skills at Thetford Festival

The penultimate day of the Thetford Festival had displays of Sikh martial arts and Bollywood dancing while many attractions in the town gave free admission to visitors.

The Big Day Out in Thetford event on Saturday featured a tour of Thetford's industrial history led by local historian David Osborne, while many museums and schools staged exhibitions, including the Dad's Army Museum, the Watermill, Thetford Grammar School, Riversdale and the Jack Pilling Art Gallery.

A few brave spectators even volunteered to take part in the Sikh martial arts demonstration by holding a banana to be chopped by a swordsman.

In keeping with the subcontinental theme, there was also a display of Bhangra and Bollywood dancing by the Jaya Dance group, which is based in Norfolk and specialises in the dance practised in India.

Corinne Fulford, one of the festival organisers with the Thetford Tourism Partnership, said the theme was chosen to tie in with the town's links with Maharaja Duleep Singh, the last maharaja of the Sikh empire, who bought a 17,000 acre estate at nearby Elveden, which he turned into a game reserve. He also spent money restoing churches, cottages and schools in the area.

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The festival was due to end on Sunday after a two week period where museums and art galleries in the town have staged events, including the Dad's Army Museum which had an exhibition of memorabilia from the TV series, including the butcher's van belonging to Lance Corporal Jack Jones.

Ms Fulford said the warm and sunny weather helped to bring the crowds out on Saturday, adding: 'We are very happy with how the day went.'

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