At the Mayor’s reception, I was pleased to catch up with Lt Col Brad Downs who relinquished command of the USAF 67th Special Operations Squadron earlier this year.
The official historian of the 67th, Mark Service, was also there with his wife, Liz.
It was Mark who suggested that Hunstanton might like to renew and strengthen links with the 67th when the squadron celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2012.
The rest, as they say, is history, but I wonder how many historians help to create history to the extent that Mark has achieved in recent years.
On May Day I was on duty at the Heritage Centre when someone asked me why the esplanade gardens are undergoing so much work, with industrial fencing all over the place.
I explained that the original concept had been to restore The Green and gardens in line with Henry le Strange’s vision for the town he created from scratch in the mid 19th century.
Unfortunately, the emphasis seems to have shifted away from heritage, which means the finished scheme is more likely to reflect the 1960s, as opposed to the 1930s when the town enjoyed its heyday.
This is worrying enough, but there are also indications that the contractors are having difficulty in following plans for the path leading from Reis Leming Way to the circular flowerbed, which is supposed to have a ‘sea’ theme.
In keeping with this notion, Floods survivor Neil Quincey wants to see this pathway named after his next-door neighbour in January 1953, USAF Sgt Freeman A Kilpatrick, because along with Reis Leming, Freeman was awarded the George Medal for his part in saving eighteen of his neighbours from the tidal surge.
I am guessing the reason for demolishing newly constructed walls on either side of this pathway has nothing to do with the sea, or pile driving.
The same cannot be said when it comes to the front of our magnificent town Hall. This wall is in danger of collapsing due to movement that coincided with piles being driven to support the McCarthy & Stone flats in nearby St Edmunds Terrace.
Regardless of the cause, at an extraordinary meeting last Thursday, the town council agreed to take immediate action in the interests of public safety, leading to the restoration of this Grade II Listed Building, designed by the exuberant architect, George Skipper in 1896.
Following on from worries about the effect of piles being driven close to important buildings in the Conservation Area, residents from Church Street attended last Thursday’s meeting to express concerns that damage might be caused to their cottages if planning permission is granted for the proposed development of 16 apartments on the site of Witley’s printing works.
In 1941 bombs from a German aircraft fell on Church Street.
Although none of the properties received a direct hit, structural damage did occur, which might make the cottages susceptible to further damage in the event of pile driving, or even the movement of heavy construction traffic.
Whatever happens, excavation should proceed with caution, just in case one of the wartime bombs failed to explode…