Wensum, by Jim Harding, Tuesday, April 1, 2017

Eye Duck Race
Eye Duck Race

Plastic ducks ready for the perennial duck race at Goggs Mill on August 20

The weather was lovely and hundreds of people lined the main road which runs through the heart of this splendid ‘home of racing’.

The sequence of floats trundling along and entertainers on foot strutting their stuff reminded me of the days when Fakenham put on something very similar every August. This was more than twenty years ago with the organisers heavily reliant on the generosity of the late Jack Richards and his fleet of yellow lorries. Lots of clubs and societies got into fancy dress, the schools were represented and it was a fun cavalcade which seemed to bring the whole community together. I’m not sure what brought about its demise but it could well have been the breakdown of the team of volunteers required to set everything in motion.

For some years we did without and then there was a revival with a parade circling the town centre and a variety of activities and stalls established on Millennium Park.

This, too, eventually fell by the wayside. The most recent reincarnation has been led by community group Active Fakenham which has for the past five years encouraged participation during an extended week in the summer holidays embracing ‘sport, music, arts and well-being’.

Brochures advertising the event have been circulated but as the emphasis this year is somewhat different here’s my selection of what might stir you into involvement, either as participant or spectator.

A lively music festival in the market square kicks things off from midday on Saturday, August 19, when a dozen or so local and regional groups will entertain. These include my personal favourites, Wolfswood. From 5pm there’s a Piazza Party hosted by KLFM with the Rock Choir and the Fakenham Invitation Band to provide you with plenty of choices on the day.

The perennial duck race out at Goggs Mill on Sunday 20 at 2pm may be an acquired taste but it generally provides a lot of fun and raises plenty of charity cash. Your plastic duck will cost you just £1.

A hands-on First Aid session is at the community centre on Monday 21 from 7 to 9pm. I suspect many of us are sadly lacking in the basics of ‘what to do’ in an emergency, whether major or minor, so this welcome addition to the programme is a very positive innovation. There’s a repeat on Wednesday 23 at the same time and venue, both sessions free.

Heather de Lyon will again be running her creative writing workshops from 9.30am on Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23, all at the centre.

On Thursday 24 the town market speaks for itself as an attraction, not only for its multitude of stalls but also the James Beck auction which gets under way at 11am. Everyone seems to be a photographer these days but you might care to join a professional, Keith Osborn, who will meander and advise you from 10 until 11.30am. Some town councillors will also be gathered to have an informal chat about what they do and the limits of their responsibilities.

On Friday 25 there’s a Quiz Night at the Rugby Club from 7pm and on Saturday 26, for the energetic, a coastal walk from Thornham to Holme – and back again if you’re keen. Transport from Fakenham is provided.

The ever-popular Fakenham 50 bike rides will round off the nine days with signed routes taking cyclists on circuits of 15,25,36,62 or 100 miles on Sunday 27. As I know from experience, these swings through the North Norfolk countryside are excellent, my preference being for the fairly gentle 25 mile challenge. Check out the above and more on www.activefakenham.org.uk

And do get involved.