Wensum, November 18, 2014: Fakenham council pays tribute to Mark

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It was a sombre opening to this month’s town council meeting as mayor Jeremy Punchard referred to the untimely death just a few days earlier of Mark Baldwin.

He asked for approval to send a letter of condolence to his parents and there was also the suggestion that a collective donation from the council be made at his funeral.

Mark Baldwin[shield winner] and his Dad Jim[on left] who won the shield in 2011. ENGANL00120130517113125

Mark Baldwin[shield winner] and his Dad Jim[on left] who won the shield in 2011. ENGANL00120130517113125

As many local residents will know, Mark had been chairman of Kick Start Fakenham and an enthusiastic supporter of community activities.

Last year he had won the council’s Community Volunteer Award Shield for his commitment, a trophy which had been presented to his father, Jim Baldwin, just two years earlier.

At the time of writing, the cause of Mark’s death at the age of 41 is unknown.

Former mayor Adrian Vertigan, who has taken over the chairmanship of Kick Start and was a good friend of Mark’s, is circulating the idea of a concert in his memory some time next year.

On a happier note, the mayor spoke of the recent unveiling of a stainless steel bench in memory of Fakenham haulier Jack Richards who died earlier this year.

It had been crafted by local resident Barry Sofrin and placed close to the Greenway Lane traffic lights, just a hundred yards down from Jack’s home. The back rest of the bench is made in the shape of a lorry and it’s already been adopted as a pleasant resting spot by many passers-by.

n For the benefit of the vast majority who have never attended a council meeting – though are quite within their rights to do so – I’ll continue with a quick roundup of items which particularly caught my attention.

The Bridge Street car park will be closed this week – apart from market day – for resurfacing and repainting. The police advised of a rise in oil thefts across the region and the need to make sure that tanks are secure. In contrast to recent years, there was only one call to deal with a ‘nuisance category’ on Halloween.

The CCTV system will be up and running very shortly with our local police able to access incidents on a 24-hour basis.

Officers in Sheringham, where it has already been functioning, are delighted with the quality of the information that is available to them.

The market tolls account which is distributed to worthy causes had again provided major support to help cover the costs of the Christmas lights display – set to be brightening up the town centre on November 29.

The council’s budget for the next financial year will increase although it was stressed that the housekeeping had been kept rigorously under control.

There was an obligation to buttress the wall outside the parish church entrance and this would prove costly.

Complaints had been received about new parking restrictions at Millers Walk with some drivers penalised if their vehicles were left on white lines.

The council agreed to write to the agents suggesting that enforcement methods may have been over zealous. And so on....

n The recent Remembrance Sunday gathering in the town centre was bigger than anything I can remember in recent years.

It was so good to see more youngsters involved in the parade and taking a full part in the ceremonials.

On Armistice Day itself, traffic was stopped in the market square for the silence which was impeccably observed.

Neighbouring shops also shut their tills and for those two minutes we joined millions of others across the country in paying a dignified tribute to the Fallen.

n And finally, a quick reminder that there’s racing here at Fakenham today, the first race due off at 1pm, should you have ‘time on your hands’ and the inclination to enjoy an excellent sporting afternoon.