On the last Sunday morning in October I switched on the radio and discovered it was tuned into the Treasure Quest programme on BBC Radio Norfolk.
It did not take long to realise that the radio car, driven by the Navigator, Ian Forster was heading for the Heritage Centre at Hunstanton.
Once inside, presenter Sophie Little soon found the clue to the next destination, which turned out to be an up-dated version of a typical ‘cottage industry’. Jo-Anna Cottage Plants, in the picturesque village of Shernborne, is run by husband and wife team John and Anna Greyson. The business started just two years ago selling locally, but now sells online across the whole country. They have retained a small retail area for local customers and with Christmas fast approaching their wreath making skills will swing into action producing handcrafted quality wreaths to order. For more information go to www.jo-anna-cottage-plants.com or follow the route taken by the radio car and visit Shernborne itself…
Listening to David Whiteley reading out the clues and relaying listeners’ suggestions from the comfort of a studio in Norwich, my mind went back four years to November 2012 when David came to Hunstanton to make a very important documentary about the role played by the USAF 67th Air Rescue Squadron during the 1953 Floods.
Most people know this disaster struck on the night of January 31 1953, but the filming of David’s documentary coincided with the sixtieth anniversary of the activation of the 67th at RAF Sculthorpe on November 14 1952. Now based at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, the Squadron – since renamed the 67th Special Operations Squadron - commemorated this anniversary on November 10th, 2012, with a parade from South Beach Road to the Flood Memorial in the esplanade gardens, followed by a reception organised by the Civic Society. It is of course extremely doubtful if this event, or any of the subsequent celebrations to mark our continuing friendship with the 67th would have taken place had it not been for the Squadron’s Historian and Archivist, RAF Flight Sergeant Mark Service.
Mark first made contact with me in 2010 after coming across my name on the Civic Society website while looking for Hunstanton ‘Historical’ Society. I qualify as a local historian by virtue of the fact that I was born in Hunstanton before the outbreak of WWII, and have taken a keen interest in the changing fortunes of my home town and nearby villages ever since I was old enough to sit up and take notice.
Through the Civic Society, which was founded in 2002 and the Heritage Centre that opened in 2013, my local knowledge has been fully utilised. Unfortunately, when it comes to those responsible for making decisions at local government level, all too often it seems they would rather ignore historical ‘facts’ and rely instead on the ‘opinions’ expressed by outside agencies such as Historic England and the Twentieth Century Society.