Wensum, by Jim Harding, Tuesday, July 25

NEW FAKENHAM ORGANIST                                                       
Chris Brown, the new organist and choir master at Fakenham parish church
NEW FAKENHAM ORGANIST Chris Brown, the new organist and choir master at Fakenham parish church

Chris BrownPhoto: Peter Bird

I think in particular of Liz Abbott at the Infant school and Chris Brown at Fakenham Academy. Both in their different ways have contributed so much.

My first contact with Liz was back in the 1990s when two of our sons attended the school.

I became a governor and established an annual book prize which recognised outstanding readers at the end of their Infant days.

Liz was very much involved with this.

On a more personal level she helped guide our youngest son through the challenges of Year 2 and influenced his love of books thereafter.

The pride we have taken in his academic studies which have now brought him to the cusp of graduating as a doctor from Imperial College in London must also include the great start he received thanks to the likes of Liz.

She is heading off to a well-deserved retirement.

My acquaintance with Chris was mainly through church and as a teaching colleague.

He was appointed to the former High school’s music department and immediately won the respect and friendship of the students.

This must partly have been for his outstanding musical abilities across a range of instruments.

Beyond the requirements of the time-table and the extra-curricular work with the school orchestra and choir, Chris galvanised the parish church choir as both its leader and as church organist.

He was also involved with the Fakenham Choral Society and as a member of the Town Band.

Where he found the energy from beats me.

Nobody is irreplaceable but he will be a hard act to follow as he now joins a school in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire on the next rung of his teaching and musical career.

I guess the odds are still in favour of our district council selling off the Highfield Road car park for housing development.

Efforts by our town council to clarify the importance of this facility to the local community have included public questionnaires over the past couple of months.

One key feedback to have emerged from this exercise has been the impact which it is felt the major housing plans to the north of Rudham Stile Lane might have.

With more than 900 houses scheduled to be built across the fields extending to the northern bypass, Fakenham’s population is likely to increase by at least 20 per cent in the years to come.

With this in mind, the loss of a key car park which is currently well-used is viewed by many as a retrograde step.

The fact that it is free obviously adds to its attraction.

Regarded as an asset by district, which is looking to plug a funding gap due to cuts in grants from central government, Highfield Road presents itself as a fairly obvious cash cow.

So whilst I sympathise with the parking lobby to a degree I’d be very surprised if this piece of ground does not come up for sale some time next year.

We shall see.