Wensum, by Jim Harding, june 2, 2015

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WE’VE DONE IT!: Supporters celebrate their win at Wembley

My son and I could have chosen any number of venues relaying the action live but plumped for our most regular hostelry out at the Hempton Bell. The place was heaving, the barbecue sizzling and the big screen everyone’s focus of attention. It might not have matched the atmosphere at pitch side but it was so much better than sitting at home alone.

This was an occasion to share with others desperate for the right result. From the local standpoint, huge thanks must go to barman Jason, his wife Rebecca and all the family members who somehow managed to keep everyone supplied over the afternoon. Later that same day when the result had begun to sink in it was time to welcome back to town the squad of firefighters from our Norwich Road station on the completion of their amazing 400-mile bike ride. As everyone knows by now it had been planned to coincide with the anniversary of the massive fire which destroyed the former Aldiss building on Upper Market Place a year ago. The route taken involved brief stops at all 42 fire stations in Norfolk with overnight stays in Swaffham, Hethersett and Dereham. It’s difficult to convey how demanding this challenge over four days must have been for most of the firefighters, few of whom would have been accustomed to getting about by bike. They were cheerful enough outside their station and pretty ecstatic when posing for photos adjacent to the fire site in the middle of town. I’ve no doubt there were lots of aches and pains beneath the smiles. Pre-ride fund-raising events and generous sponsorship for everyone who took part meant that over £5,000 was raised for the Fire Fighters Charity with more expected to come. All in all it was a great day of shared enthusiasm.

Ever tried archery? I did as a P.E.student in London but never really got hooked, in part because it was too static for me at that period of my sporting life. Here we are fortunate to have a very successful club, Fakenham Bowmen, which is about to celebrate its thirtieth birthday. Based at the Gallow Sports Centre adjacent to the race course and with regular sessions indoors at Fakenham Academy, the club has grown from an initial membership in single figures to around one hundred. The great thing about this sport, in common with a number of others, is that it can be practised by all ages. And as I found out for myself, competition can take a variety of forms. Whilst aiming for the familiar upright targets will always dominate there’s also something called clout shooting whose origins go back a very long way. Without being too specific, archers shoot their arrows into the air to land as close as possible to a target laid on the ground some distance away. Whilst the Bowmen have produced a string of record breakers down the years, the emphasis has always been on participation for enjoyment as well as skill. On June 18 the club will mark its anniversary with a bring and share supper at the centre plus some fun shooting. If you would like to give archery a go, do email mayday@fakenhambowmen.org.uk or phone founder member Elaine Burbidge on 01328 851848.