Chris Sargisson of Norfolk Chamber: This is the new message of our county I’ll be spreading on Norfolk Day

PUBLISHED: 13:20 06 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:16 06 March 2018

The new chief executive of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, Chris Sargisson. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The new chief executive of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, Chris Sargisson. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY


Why am I so excited by Norfolk day? Because it’s a fantastic opportunity, writes Chris Sargisson, chief executive of Norfolk Chamber.

It would be relatively easy to write one of those ‘perfect days in Norfolk’ pieces where I use a time machine to take in all of the Broads, Norwich Cathedral, stroll on Holkham Beach, see a Nimmo Twins gig, interview Stephen Fry, and Delia, dine in some of our finest eateries, drink some of our local ales and still have time to shop and visit galleries.

And it would be a worthwhile expression of so much that’s good here. But somehow we’ve done that.

It would be equally easy, and perhaps dangerously tempting, to take the opportunity to tell the world that we’re not the backwater some perceive us as. That we don’t – as most radio and film portrayals would have you believe – speak in an 18th-century Cornish pirate’s accent.

That we do have a wonderful and rich heritage, ranging from being the birthplace of Nelson to our being the crucible in which commercial giants like Aviva, Start-Rite and Barclays were forged. But somehow we’ve done that too.

Now it has to be different. What we need to do now, and Norfolk Day is a fantastic opportunity to do it, is tell the world what Norfolk really is. Right now.

Tell them it’s a world-leading centre for life sciences, a beautiful tourist offer and home to a globally-important renewables sector. That we have two fantastic universities, a flourishing digital technology and ICT industry and the best environment in which to live, work and learn.

The world needs to know that we have highly successful insurance and professional services sectors, and that we are world leaders in food science and agri-tech; disciplines defined by shining examples such as the Norwich Research Park and Hethel Engineering.

READ MORE: “We aren’t ‘sleepy Norfolk’ any more” – business community shows support for Norfolk Day

We are going to change the perception of Norfolk. We are going to recalibrate the way in which those who don’t know Norfolk see us.

We need to, because much of the world is simply ill-informed about Norfolk. We know it’s great here; others don’t – yet.

We have a diverse and dynamic business community and Norfolk Day is going to be a brilliant platform from which we can shout about it.

We in Norfolk should be very proud of our successes to date, but we must be much more vocal about what we can achieve.

You can rest assured that we at The Norfolk Chamber of Commerce will never lose sight of Norfolk’s past achievements.

But we see them not as nostalgia but as the foundations on which we can build an exciting, dynamic, future.

We’ll be updating you soon on ways in which you can celebrate Norfolk, and spread the word, but I would urge all Norfolk businesses to get involved with Norfolk Day and show the rest of the world how good we are.

We can do it. And that’s why I’m excited by Norfolk Day!

Norfolk Day is Friday, July 27 2018. Be part of it.

• Chris Sargisson is chief executive of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce.

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