People of Bawdeswell appeal for help in finding the designer of its iconic village sign

Mark Fairhurst stands with members of Bawdeswell Parish Council at the unveiling of his iconic desig

Mark Fairhurst stands with members of Bawdeswell Parish Council at the unveiling of his iconic design for the village sign in 1982. - Credit: Archant

A village is appealing to the community for help in finding the original designer of its iconic village sign.

The design for the Bawdeswell village sign was created in 1982 by 15 year old Mark Fairhurst who had won a competition organised by Reepham High School.

It depicted Geoffrey Chaucer's reeve, from his Canterbury Tales, on horseback stopping at the nearby Balder's Well.

The sign marked the end of an era for celebrated Norfolk village sign-maker Harry Carter, from Swaffham, who crafted the sign and was quoted as saying: 'This is definitely the last one!'

Mr Carter was responsible for a great number of the carved village signs that are now found in Norfolk's towns and villages and by the time of his death in 1983 he had carved over 200 town and village signs.


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Perhaps his most notable work was on Swaffham's own sign commemorating the legendary Pedlar of Swaffham, which is in the corner of the market place just opposite the old school's gates.

Bawdeswell replaced the sign in 2011 because the original was deteriorating as a result of wood rot and it was need of preservation. In its place is a sign that pays respect to Mr Fairhurst's original design, while also incorporating other elements of the village's history.

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That preservation work on the original has now been completed and it has been restored and given a new home in the reception area of the new village hall.

David Cockburn, a trustee of the village hall, said: 'It's now in the reception area of the hall. We've had a shelf made for it and everyone who comes to the hall walks by there.

'We don't have anything like a village green so the it is a big part of our identity and while that is continued with our new sign it is always nice to have something that allows us to reflect on the past.

He added: 'We don't have much information at all on the designer and so far we've not managed to find anyone who knows him. So we are asking for Mr Fairhurst, or anyone who knows where he might be, to contact us. It would be really nice to have him in the new village hall to see the sign again.'

Mr Cockburn asked that anyone who may have information on the whereabouts of Mr Fairhurst, who would now be around 50 years old, to contact him by email at: BawdeswellVillageHall@gmail.com

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