Wensum, by Jim Harding, December 9, 2014

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I must admit to mixed emotions whilst enjoying the lights switch-on day in the town centre.

I may never have been a close friend of Mark Baldwin but had known him through his school days and more particularly during the past four years of his involvement with Kick Start Fakenham. His unexplained death in early November at the age of 41 shocked so many of us and it was fitting that the day itself, which Mark had helped to set up, was a big tribute to him.

There are not many times during the year when the market place is filled to overflowing but this is one of them.

My small contribution was to sing a few numbers with the Switch On Singers but what was really lovely was to hear so many people joining in with the carols accompanied by the Salvation Army Band.

In recent years a whole set of new white lights have been introduced which to my mind are a big improvement. Of course we cannot compete with the largesse evident elsewhere but the sparkle added to the town centre and the streets radiating from it is, I suggest, just right for Fakenham.

Another big boost was the restoration of flood-lighting to the parish church tower. The cable connections were destroyed during the fire in May and there was some speculation about the future of this iconic beacon which could be spotted after dark from miles around.

Thanks must be given to Kings and Barnhams for carrying out the work free of charge in time for the Christmas Tree Festival and, of course, switch-on day. The lit-up tower provides a beautiful backdrop to the town’s lights.

n Can you beat it, I wonder? I refer to our enviable NHS. Last week my wife returned from a long stint stewarding at our Christmas Tree Festival in the parish church with trouble in her right eye.

She could see lines and spots and flashes and something was obviously not right.

What to do in the circumstances? First port of call was our local surgery where we were offered an appointment with Dr Joshi that same afternoon.

As the symptoms were explained to him he recognised immediately that there was a problem with the retina, possibly a tear.

This would require specialist attention ASAP so there and then he got on to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital and booked an appointment for the following morning.

We abandoned other obligations to get there on time and joined a crowded eye clinic reception area to take our turn.

There was a form to be filled in, drops to be placed in the eye and then a detailed examination took place which did indeed reveal a tear.

Painless laser surgery to correct the damage then followed almost immediately and in the blink of an eye, so to speak, we were on our way back to Fakenham. Job done within three hours.

From the surgery diagnosis through to the hospital treatment it had all taken less than 24 hours. Amazing.