To win one trophy at the Active Norfolk Sports Awards evening was good going. To come away with two was quite exceptional.
Thanks to our local Active Fakenham team the town was crowned Sporting Village of the Year – which it might just have anticipated – and then presented with the Winner of Winners’ crown at The Forum in Norwich.
No wonder our principal organiser, Richard Crook, declared himself thrilled to receive both accolades.
Whilst the achievement was clearly a team effort I can’t believe it would have fully got off the ground without Richard at the helm.
He deserves plenty of plaudits along with his partner Heather de Lyon.
Between them they put together a programme of activities based in and around the town which demanded plenty of voluntary enthusiasm to get going.
That is not always in plentiful supply here as those of us who have tried to motivate interest in the past have oft times discovered.
But with the experience of the 2013 campaign to go on, this time things were much more positive.
Back in April we experienced for the first time the novelty of the Shopkeepers’ Olympics as the main attraction of a Showcase Day programme. It was hardly London 2012 but heartening to be part of a fun-filled morning in the town centre with the traffic stopped and a variety of antics accomplished in varying styles by well-known local faces, most of whom had long ago given up on the sporty stuff. Even the weather obliged to help make the whole event a success.
The late Brenda Coldrick, on whose behalf a cup was donated, would surely have loved it all.
Come August the team really got to grips with things by laying out a nine-day feast with something for just about everyone.
For the energetic there was running, rambling, cycling, canoeing, aquafit, ju-jitsu, netball and table tennis.
For the less energetic there was a mini-festival which included a touring theatre group and a literary dimension under the umbrella Words Across the Wensum.
A particular highlight of this was a visit by the charismatic Jenny Boyd, a child of the ’60s who joined The Beatles on their trip to India, married Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac fame and subsequently completed a PhD based around interviews with famous rock musicians and the source of their creativity. She was amazing.
On the final day of the whole jamboree around 300 cyclists gathered at the community centre to set off on a choice of routes around North Norfolk varying in distance from the appealing 14 miles – accomplished by yours truly – to the rather more serious 70 miles.
All in all this nine-day cavalcade with its appeal right across the generations must have struck a significant chord with the Active Norfolk judges. Now all we have to do is defend the titles come 2015.
n Just three days still remain for you to enjoy the Christmas Tree Festival in the parish church. And a reminder here that the church is open from 10am to 8pm.
Right from the off it’s been a terrific success for all concerned – the legions of volunteer helpers who contribute their time and energies, the dozens of charities who have decorated trees and welcomed support from the public and the literally thousands of visitors from both near and far who have come through the door and expressed their delight.
This may be the first festival since the departure of former rector Adrian Bell in the summer, with the church now in a period of interregnum prior to his replacement, but the show goes on, as good as anything in the past. Well done to all concerned for this event.