GOOD NEWS FOR NOW: Cranmer House
His involvement with so many groups and societies in the town was reflected in the numbers.
He had particularly requested a ‘non-religious’ service and this was respected although I found it a touching moment when his son, Julian, read a passage from Ecclesiasties which the family had thought fitting for the occasion. It encapsulated the sentiment of there being a time for everything – a time to be born and a time to die, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance . . . Dr Mike would surely have approved.
His final weeks had been spent in the dedicated hands of Cranmer House, a facility of such importance to the town. With its threatened circumstances in mind, Julian had appealed on behalf of his Dad that everyone present continued to fight for Cranmer’s survival.
Donations following the funeral were almost inevitably split between this exemplar of care and Mike’s enduring attachment to the Fakenham Museum of Gas and Local History. The reception was held at the Gallow Sports Centre where memories were revived and a more relaxed atmosphere encouraged plenty of reminiscences.
Within a few days of the funeral at the regular monthly meeting of the town council there was general euphoria at the news that running procedures at Cranmer House would remain undisturbed, at least in the short term. Chair of the Friends, Gilly Foortse, who only became a councillor a few months ago, was full of compliments towards everyone, great and small, who had fought so hard to preserve the status quo. I loved her concluding remark when she described the support of the local community as a ‘knock out’. I’m not entirely sure what she meant by this but it sounds very praiseworthy.
The meeting itself had more members of the public in attendance than usual, in part because of applications to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Emma Smith in July. It was encouraging to see three residents vying for the seat, not something that customarily happens. When a ballot of councillors was taken, Chris Rockett emerged as the preferred choice. He certainly presented himself as someone of enthusiasm who cared a great deal for the town.
The two who were not chosen will have another chance to join the council following the announcement that Tim Wilkes recently resigned for personal reasons. A co-option will take place at the next full council on November 8.
The deaths this year of two former councillors, both of whom also served as mayors, took me back to the times when they wore the chain of office with pride.
Cecil Snowling led proceedings when the council chamber was housed in the Red Lion building, since converted into the Gallery Bistro. He was instrumental in promoting twinning ties with Olivet and also pushing for Fakenham to be traffic-free on market days.
Dennis Beare was at the helm for a year after the council had moved its headquarters to the Fakenham Connect building. His main enthusiasm was the Museum of Gas and Local History and he frequently took part in exchange visits to Olivet.
A memorial bench dedicated to Mr Beare will be officially unveiled in St Peter’s Garden next to the church on Wednesday, October 26, at 1pm.