Wensum, by Jim Harding, Novmeber 25, 2014

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It’s transformation time again although I can’t help thinking the shift into Christmas mode has arrived all too soon. Maybe that’s something to do with the age factor – mine, rather than yours.

Anyway, thanks to our old friends Kings and Barnhams, the lights are already festooned along Norwich Street, Bridge Street and all round the market place ready for the big switch-on due to take place this Saturday.

It’s a big undertaking which in recent times has extended its scope and provided a very welcoming display to brighten up even the gloomiest of evenings over the coming weeks.

Organisers Kick Start Fakenham and Fakenham Area Partnership have promised things will be even bigger and better come the weekend and that would certainly provide a fitting tribute to Mark Baldwin who sadly died earlier this month.

As many of you will know, Mark had been chairman of Kick Start and was a great supporter of his community in all sorts of ways.

There will be fun stuff in the square from 11am, including fairground rides for the youngsters and plenty of entertainment throughout the afternoon with North Norfolk Radio presenters at the helm.

The presence of Father Christmas in his grotto goes without saying and the switch-on is scheduled for 4.30pm.

As over the past 13 years the parish church will also be helping us all to get in festive mood with its renowned Christmas Tree Festival. This opens to everyone on Thursday and continues through to December 4.

Since its inception in 2001 this popular festival has become a standing dish in the town with visitors from far beyond our county making regular trips here.

The retirement this summer of rector Adrian Bell, who introduced the concept in the first place, has motivated a committee of church supporters to ensure that the 2014 celebration lives up to previous standards. There will be over 70 decorated trees to view, each one of them raising funds for a recognised charity or good cause.

Literally thousands of pounds are raised over the week in what has also become a key source of income for the church to enable it to pay its considerable running costs.

In addition to the trees, supplied free by Fakenham Garden Centre, visitors can enjoy refreshments, a raffle, a tombola and a superb bric-a-brac stall.

There is no entrance charge and the doors open every day at 10am and stay open until 8pm. There’s a special festival service on the Sunday at 10.30am.

With all this happening on the immediate horizon, even I might have to concede that the seasonal ‘tidings of comfort and joy’ will have been well and truly declared.

Now that our stage-struck sons have moved on, my attachment to Fakenham and District Light Operatic Society has likewise waned somewhat. But I always keep an eye on their ambitions and try to support their shows.

Next up is the annual panto which this year embraces Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp, featuring perhaps the biggest cast ever assembled on the community centre stage.

The show runs for five nights from December 2 at 7.30pm with a Saturday matinee on December 6 at 2.30pm.

Seats at £6 and £7.50 are available from the RSPCA charity shop on Norwich Road, phone 01328 258475.