Buttercross, June 26, 2015: Time to make new memories at Swaffham market celebration

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Well, here we are in 2015, 800 years since the signing of Magna Carta, a document which in effect was the first “Bill of Rites (or Rights)”.

Extensive local research has also shown that it is likely that the charter for the commencement of our town’s markets was granted at around this same time.

Celebration of this fact is upon us. A Heritage Lottery grant to the tune of some £36,500 has been obtained, a little belatedly, which has meant that organising events that were thought to appropriately celebrate this milestone in our town’s history had to be tailored to fit different possible funding levels.

It is worth mentioning here that this approved grant is “match funded”, in effect meaning that we only receive from the lottery what we as a town raise separately, up to that £36,500. Quite a task for us but one which I am assured we will succeed in.

With our celebrations about to commence we are told we can expect many thousands of visitors. Surely good news, especially for our hard pressed businesses.

Our Campingland figures large in the programme of events, with the weekend of July 18 and 19 being “the big one”, where our town centre market will hopefully also be in full swing.

What a shame the Weeting Steam Rally also falls on the same weekend. Many townspeople regularly travel to this long established event and are unfortunately likely to do so again. A clash of dates that surely could, and should, have been avoided.

To make this a truly memorable time for our town, and one our younger folk will remember, we all need to enter into the spirit of the time when this charter was granted.

We have been given advice on what the likely dress code was in 1215, so it would be good to see our townsfolk, particularly our youngsters, similarly dressed.

I remember the pageant held in Lynn in 1954 to celebrate the granting of the King’s Lynn’s Charter. I was a wide eyed schoolboy then and was dressed, along with many other of my chums, as a pageboy attending on the late Jack Goodchild.

I still remember that day so well and, although no one would expect our town’s celebrations to be as lavish or as large as Lynn’s, they should be of sufficient quality to provide memories that last for many years to come, and I am confident they will. Enjoy.