Swaffham prepares to celebrate 800 years of its market

Swaffham Town Centre. Picture taken from the top window of Swaffham Museum.PHOTO: IAN BURTCOPY:FOR:E

Swaffham Town Centre. Picture taken from the top window of Swaffham Museum.PHOTO: IAN BURTCOPY:FOR:EDP NewsEDP pics © 2008(01603)772434 - Credit: IAN BURT

Plans for a major celebration to mark 800 years of a historic market have been revealed.

Momentum is gathering to ensure that the milestone is marked in style after a recent survey revealed 72pc of townsfolk were not aware of the forthcoming anniversary.

A dedicated working group, led by the newly-established Town Team, has now been formed to coordinate a celebratory programme of events throughout next year.

The highlight is set to be a weekend-long extravaganza in July which organisers hope will include re-enactments, market and fair-themed activities and events in and around the market place.

Other ideas in the pipeline include a historic kitchen during the Brecks Food Festival, an exhibition about the market's history at Swaffham Museum in May, a town heritage trail, a local history quiz night and a medieval banquet.

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David Wickerson, town councillor and leader of the Town Team, said: 'This anniversary is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and raise awareness of the remarkable heritage of our town. We want local people and visitors alike to really engage with the town's history and enjoy the activities that will be on offer.

'The events we are planning should put Swaffham on the map and help to provide a lasting boost to our economy whilst ensuring the future of our much-loved market.'

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The working group is organising the programme of events in partnership with Swaffham Town Council, the Iceni Partnership, Swaffham Business Forum, Swaffham Rotary, Swaffham Lions, Swaffham Tourism Association, the Green Britain Centre, Swaffham Museum plus schools in the town.

Over the past months, Swaffham Museum has been running an event known as Market Mardles at which townsfolk reminisce about their experiences of the market over the years. They are being documented as part of the town's Living History project.

Elsewhere, the Old School Antiques, Arts and Crafts Emporium launched an ale commemorating the market's 800th anniversary at the town's Christmas lights switch-on.

Are you helping to celebrate a special milestone in the area where you live? Email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

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