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Hunstanton's The Green hosts Anglia In Bloom



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After witnessing at first hand just how much all our lives will change because of global warming, it came as a relief to be on The Green last Thursday, enjoying ‘normal’ summer weather, while it lasted!

I should have been waiting for the arrival of this year’s “Anglia In Bloom” judges from Huntingdon, where Philip Peacock is town clerk and Natasha Pierson is deputy town clerk. In actual fact, although I was on time, they were already at the pier flowerbed when I arrived.

Fortunately, my very reliable friend and pier expert, John Bridger was already explaining how the idea for creating this particular flowerbed had been triggered in 2009 by excavation from the beach of remnants from the original Victorian Pier.

Hunstanton Anglia in Bloom 2022 at the Heritage Centre on July 21 2022. From left: Philip Peacock, town Mayor Maureen Howard, Natasha Pierson, Civic Society committee members Sheila Kent, Margi Blunden and Amanda Bosworth. Photo: Stephen Kent
Hunstanton Anglia in Bloom 2022 at the Heritage Centre on July 21 2022. From left: Philip Peacock, town Mayor Maureen Howard, Natasha Pierson, Civic Society committee members Sheila Kent, Margi Blunden and Amanda Bosworth. Photo: Stephen Kent

The base of one stump, resembling an upside down mushroom, had been selected as the centrepiece, together with an explanatory interpretation board.

Before the judges moved on, I informed them that John Bridger was the person responsible for rescuing four more pier stumps currently residing in the Tide and Time flowerbed, which they would soon come across, after they had been amazed by Kate Dunbar’s evocative tile display on the outer walls of The Green toilet block!

Just like the early pioneers in North America, John and Yvonne Bridger will soon be heading west – to the west midlands! They will be greatly missed by their many friends back here in the east.

Turnstone. Twinning sign on Redgate Hill, Hunstanton.
Turnstone. Twinning sign on Redgate Hill, Hunstanton.

I will always be grateful to John for his part in driving friends of the ‘Night Owls’ to RAF Mildenhall and back.

He also made himself available to transport Kathy Leming – wife of American airman hero Reis Leming who rescued 27 people from devastating floods which hit Hunstanton and the East Anglian coast in 1953 – and her sister-in-law, to and from the railway station in King’s Lynn. How I still miss getting on and off the train in my home town!

Judging from the televised debates, whichever candidate succeeds boastful Boris, it seems highly unlikely that either of them will invest heavily in urgently needed ‘Green’ projects.

Turnstone. Pier flowerbed sign is back – May 6 2022, Hunstanton In Bloom, Civic Society.
Turnstone. Pier flowerbed sign is back – May 6 2022, Hunstanton In Bloom, Civic Society.

This is just one reason why I found last Thursday so refreshing. There is a large mural hanging on an inner wall of George Skipper’s majestic town hall, which shows exactly how Hunstanton looked in 1956.

While pointing out to the charming judges from Huntingdon that our town has lost too many of its most useful and attractive assets, it struck me that ‘In Bloom’ should be used in future as the blueprint.

For example, the Esplanade Gardens are easily recognisable as being broadly the same in 2022 as they were in 1922. This fact can be verified by a visit to the Heritage Centre, which must have impressed the judges on their brief visit!

The challenge now is for the town to identify those lost assets that are most worthy of being restored, and then persuade West Norfolk Council to get on board, by persuading central government to splash some serious ‘levelling up’ cash on restoring our ‘Victorian seaside town’.



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