Communities excited about first-ever Norfolk Day celebrations
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Excitement is building across communities ahead of this year's Norfolk Day. Reporter SOPHIE WYLLIE explores how the inaugural event has sparked people's pride for the county and created a strong sense of community spirit.
Communities are gearing up for what promises to be the biggest celebration of Norfolk life at its best.
More than 200 events have been organised across the county for the first-ever Norfolk Day on Friday, July 27.
From coffee mornings, flower festivals, history exhibitions and open church celebrations to Women's Institute gatherings, choir performances and discussions about mental health wellbeing, the events are diverse.
The Very Rev Jane Hedges, Dean of Norwich Cathedral and Norfolk Day ambassador, said: 'Let's hope this will be a day to remember and to be reminded of how so many people contribute fabulous things to life across the whole of Norfolk.
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'We are particularly excited that we have singers, instrumentalists, poets and dancers performing throughout the day in the cathedral together with a display of arts and crafts and other activities.'
From 10.30am-9pm, the cathedral will host craft events, readings and poetry by Friends of Norfolk Dialect, various singers and musicians and a flower arranging demonstration.
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One of the performances that night will be by the Norwich Community Choir, which will sing in the Nave at 6.30pm.
Meg Turpin, piano teacher and founder of Norwich Community Choir, said: 'We are a community-based choir which is rooted in Norfolk. We want to promote where we live.
'It is not often we get the opportunity to blow our trumpet and celebrate together and we should do more of that.'
Another special Norfolk Day concert will be taking place at Christ Church, Eaton.
The church choir will be performing a hymnathon, consisting of one verse of every hymn from Hymns Old and New, from 4pm.
Matt Wright, organist and choirmaster at Christ Church, said: 'Christ Church is well-known locally for being a musical church and in 2017 completed a £75,000 overhaul of the church organ.
'The choir always enjoys a challenge and Norfolk Day seemed the perfect occasion both to celebrate our fine county and to begin fundraising for new hymn books. Everyone is welcome.'
Two historic thatched churches will be the focus of a Thatching Open Day at the Church of St John Maddermarket on Pottergate, between 10am-4pm.
The Thatching Open Day will be hosted by the Churches Conservation Trust and master thatcher Nick Walker, 38, from Geldeston.
Mr Walker said: 'Norfolk Day is about encouraging the message of what an amazing place we live in. Norfolk Day is a fantastic showpiece for the county.
'I am taking part to share my love of the place. I'm excited about it. It is going to be really interesting to meet people and chat about thatching - which is distinctive to Norfolk.'
One of the buildings he helped to thatch - Norwich's modern Enterprise Centre which is part of the University of East Anglia - will be opening its doors.
The green business hub will be carrying out tours, hosting a beach party and showcasing building crafts from 11am-4pm.
Angela Macdonald, business development manager for the Enterprise Centre, said: 'Often referred to as Norfolk in a building, there is much at the Enterprise Centre to celebrate and we're delighted to be involved.'
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the historic Holkham Hall is holding traditional games, activities, hosting community group stalls and a Norfolk quiz.
Shirley Browell, Holkham events manager, said: 'We aim to bring a village fete atmosphere to the park and look forward to seeing families joining in.'
Other community events include a picnic and children's talent show on Mattishall village green from noon-3pm.
One of the organisers Hannnah Farrier-Dutton said: 'We are very proud of our village. We have lots of lovely nature and wildlife and it is a lovely place for children.'
Reed cutter, Wally Mason, 70, from Rockland St Mary, is behind a family day promoting Norfolk's waterways and nature at the village's New Inn on July 28, from 10am.
Mr Mason, who is organising the event with his son, said: 'It will be nice to put something back into society.'
Janice Mellor, volunteer and event co-ordinator for the Aylsham Care Trust, which is behind town celebrations on July 27 and 28, said: 'We want to highlight the amazing clubs and social groups that make the community.'
Are you organising a Norfolk Day event? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet @norfolk or message the Norfolk Day Facebook page.
Norfolk Day shop
An online shop has been launched selling Norfolk Day marketing material which event organisers can display on the day.
The shop is selling a four-pack of flags, four-pack of A3 posters and 20 balloons at £4, while 5m of bunting is £8.
Celebration packs containing all of the above are available for £18.
Norfolk Day takes place on Friday, July 27, and is intended as a day of fun in which individuals, community groups and businesses are encouraged to get involved by hosting or participating in events.
The initiative was launched by the EDP and Norwich Evening News in partnership with BBC Radio Norfolk and has the backing of business and community organisations who are planning events for the day.
Details of events will be revealed in the newspaper, online and via social media.
To order Norfolk Day materials visit www.norfolkday.co.uk shop to buy celebratory items.