Happy Norfolk Day 2020 - A year that’s shown our strength and spirit
PUBLISHED: 06:30 27 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:15 27 July 2020
Archant Â© 2018
Happy Norfolk Day!
Today marks the third annual celebration of the county famous for its big skies, broads and beaches, timeless towns and rural quirks.
And it is also a celebration of you - the people who live, work, play or holiday here, and everyone else who carries a piece of Norfolk in their heart.
The pandemic means 2020 has been the most challenging year many us have lived through. The disease has claimed loved ones, families have been separated and economic hardship looms.
But it has also shown Norfolk at its best and seen community come together like never before.
Grassroots groups have sprung up to help those in need.
Neighbours have formed support networks, bringing neighbourhoods closer and sparking new friendships.
And our frontline workers in the NHS and social care have worked tirelessly to keep us all safe.
Norfolk’s Lord-Lieutenant Lady Philippa Dannatt said Norfolk Day - sponsored by Norwich Research Park - was a chance to reflect on a place of unparalleled beauty, of which she was deeply passionate.
Lady Dannatt said: “Norfolk has a beating heart in her people that is unique to herself and sets our county quite apart.
“We boast of exceptional leaders in all walks of life. From the Chief Constable, Bishop, leaders of our councils, courts and schools, we have selfless, dedicated and compassionate women and men at the helm who are equally passionate about the county they serve.
“But even more importantly, the ethos of neighbourliness is deeply entrenched in our county’s psyche.
“We look out for each other. And without the tens of thousands of volunteers embedded in our city, towns and local communities, Norfolk would be an infinitely poorer place in which to live.
“The very fabric of Norfolk life is knitted together by her people who quietly serve each other, no more, no less, just a way of being.”
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Lady Dannatt also praised Norfolk’s rich cultural heritage, adding: “We have such treasure in our beloved cathedral, in the spread of our wonderful churches, and in our tradition of welcoming strangers. Strangers’ Hall was not named by accident.
“Norwich is a city of sanctuary, and our Fine City was built on a history of welcoming strangers. I like to think it still it is.”
MORE: ‘It’s what I was born to do’ - the nurse who raised nearly £7,000 for Norfolk charities in lockdown
Claire Cullens, chief executive of the Norfolk Community Foundation, said she was astounded by how generous, supportive and compassionate Norfolk had shown itself to be through the pandemic.
Ms Cullens said the foundation had been responsible for raising money and distributing it to community charities.
She said: “We’ve raised over £1 million locally from people giving what they have to make Norfolk a better place.
“Looking at that compared to the national picture it’s phenomenal what we’ve achieved.
“There are so many individuals and groups that have stepped up through this crisis. The innovation and passion they’ve shown in supporting the most vulnerable marks us out as being very different. We have so much to be proud of in Norfolk.”
MORE: Who are the 50 Norfolk Day Heroes?
Norfolk Day celebrations have already been going on over the weekend. Thetford’s Charles Burrell Centre hosted a street party with a free bar on Saturday, after winning a competition launched by the EDP in partnership with Moon Gazer from the Norfolk Brewhouse. And yesterday, visitors flocked to Hindringham Hall in north Norfolk to mark the day.
And for the first time, this newspaper has put together a list of 50 Norfolk Day Heroes, chosen by our readers, to recognise just some of the many people who have gone above and beyond in serving their communities. Each of our heroes will receive a special Norfolk Day plaque with their name inscribed on it.
Andrew Proctor, Norfolk County Council leader, said there had been so many Norfolk people who had helped the county show its resilience and strength through the pandemic.
Mr Proctor said: “People have gone through a lot in recent months. But look at the way people have volunteered, businesses have changed, local authorities have reacted, and the fantastic job NHS and care home staff have done.
“The crisis has brought everyone together. It’s been a real community effort and I want to thank them for what they have done.”
Lorna Fish, vice-chairman of Northrepps Poppyland branch of the Royal British Legion, is one of many Norfolk residents who plan to celebrate Norfolk Day by raising a toast in their garden.
Ms Fish said she felt “very lucky” to call Norfolk home.
She said: “To be able to enjoy the beach, the countryside, beautiful clear night skies, and indeed, rural community life, is a joy.
“Working and travelling away is great but the warmth and welcome when you come back is wonderful.”
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