Aylsham Festival starts today

Aylsham festival begins today with organisers hoping to bring the community together in the same way the jubilee did.

Highlights of the five-day event include a visit from four times Olympic cyclist Bryan Steel, who will officially open a cycle route linking Aylsham to two National Trust properties on Saturday.

The newly created route covers goes from Aylsham to Blickling, including part of the parkland, then on via quiet roads to Felbrigg Hall.

Mr Steel, who won Team Pursuit medals at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, will open the route at Blickling and give a talk at Aylsham Town Hall later in the day.

Other attractions include free performances from the Inspirational Science Theatre Company and storyteller Paul Jackson, as well as a host of family activities including a fish and chips train ride, art, weaving and games in the town hall, a decorated bike and mobility scooter parade and a community coach trip to the Ecotech Centre in Swaffham.

A wide range of music will be on offer throughout the event. Aylsham Singers will perform a composition written exclusively for the festival by Norwich Pops Orchestra conductor and Tuttington resident Geoff Davidson on Friday.

Indie funk rockers The Sharps, who met at Aylsham High School, will perform a concert at Aylsham Town Hall on Saturday.

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Festival director Sue Sharpe said: 'The festival is designed to celebrate what is special about Aylsham. Last year's theme was astronomy and this year we decided to focus on cycling because it is a place people come to ride their bikes. Round and round means something for cycling but it is also relevant to other things as well.

'The festival is a community event to encourage people from all backgrounds and ages to get involved. We want to give people who don't normally socialise together a chance to talk with each other, a bit like the jubilee provided.'

For more information about eh event which runs from June 13-17 visit aylshamfestival.co.uk, call 01263 733441 or email aylshamfestival@btinternet.com.

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