Thousands visit Walsingham shrine for ‘good natured’ Tamil pilgrimage

Wet weather prevented any traffic problems during the annual Tamil pilgrimage to Walsingham today (Sunday).

An estimated 10,000 Sri Lankan Tamils took to the roads around Wells from 6am.

Fears of congestion along the A1065 into Fakenham, A149 at Fakenham and the B1105 towards Wells were not realised, because of the rain.

Supt Dave Marshall, district commander for King's Lynn, said: 'It has been extremely good natured and all traffic is flowing reasonably well.

'The weather has clearly impacted on the number of pilgrims attending. It has been a very steady day.

'There are a few brollies knocking about and wet and muddy feet.

'The Tamil pilgrimage totally transforms the area.'

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Support for the day has been provided by the special constabulary and staff from the stewarding company Eastern Events.

Some 80 officers from Norfolk police are on duty and at 3.30pm there were still 5,000 pilgrims in the area, who had visited the Roman Catholic national shrine.

Three people were seriously injured with stab wounds after a fight broke out between two rival groups of Tamils on Wells beach in 2001.

Mr Marshall said: 'The attitudes of the Tamils has changed towards each other and this is now very much a family-orientated event.

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