Picture gallery: True’s Yard celebrates 20 years of preserving King’s Lynn’s fishing heritage

True's Yard, the independent museum set up to preserve the memories of King's Lynn's lost fishing community is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Families lived in tiny cottages, crammed in among the boats and boatbuilders, until the North End was bulldozed between the wars.

In the late 1980s, Northender Pat Midgley formed a trust to buy True's Yard - almost all that survived the slum clearence - and turn it into a museum celebrating Lynn's fisherfolk.

Betty Hazelwood, who has helped at True's Yard for 20 years, said: 'Pat Midgley kind of drew me in one day. I was a Northender, I was born in St Nicholas Street.

'The youngsters who come in here now want to find out where their grandparents lived, they're amazed by all the hardships.'

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Ruby Marshall, chair of the 120-strong friends of True's Yard, said: 'I lived in the North End for 60 years. My husband Brian died nine years ago and rather than sit at home and get miserable, I came here.

'The friends are here to raise money to help True's Yard and support the museum. We try to buy things they need, we paid for the front entrance to be done up.

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'We're always looking for new members, we've got 120 all over the world - Australia, America, there's some in Spain.'

One friend was the wealthy philanthropist Sir John Paul Getty, who travelled to Lynn to donate a substantial sum to True's yard after a former Lynn fisherman told him about it.

Framed certificates record a clutch of awards - with Pat Midgley's MBE proclamation, signed by the Queen in October 2005, in pride of place.

Museum manager Jo Barrett said: 'Without Pat, this place wouldn't have existed.

'We've managed to expand twice, with two heritage lottery grants. We don't stand still, which is why the place is still flourishing 20 years on.'

Historian and former mayor of West Norfolk Dr Paul Richards has been another driving force.

A special open day is being held at the museum, at the corner of North Street and St Ann's Street, on Saturday, March 26, when admission will be free.

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