Lottery fund backing for market anniversary plans

Silk flowers took pride of place on Pauline Smith's stall (Swpa0024) ANL-140708-133735001
Silk flowers took pride of place on Pauline Smith's stall (Swpa0024) ANL-140708-133735001
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Celebrations to mark eight centuries of Swaffham’s market have been boosted by a £36,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The award was confirmed on Wednesday, just over eight weeks ahead of the main celebration weekend.

David Wickerson, chairman of the Town Team which is planning the celebrations, said: “Receiving backing from the Heritage Lottery Fund is a major boost for the project.

“The funding will ensure that we can deliver a fabulous programme of activities this year, from which the whole community will benefit.

“The rich heritage of the market is so central to Swaffham’s identity. Here is a wonderful opportunity to make sure that the history is recorded and celebrated.”

The main anniversary weekend, which marks 800 years since the earliest written reference to a market in Swaffham, is on July 18 and 19 and will include medieval re-enactments, including the signing of the market charter, by the Black Knight historical group on the Campingland.

Then, over the weekend of September 18, 19 and 20, there will be a market festival, which will also coincide with the main food and drink festival.

A programme of talks and films is also planned for the Green Britain Centre, while a series of events will also be taking place at the town’s museum.

Museum managers have already encouraged local school children to take part in a research project based on the anniversary celebrations.

Town mayor Anne Thorp said: “These weekend events will be wonderful showcases for Swaffham, its market and its heritage.

“There will be activities for everyone to enjoy, whilst the market traders and businesses will have every opportunity to benefit from the publicity and increased footfall.”

Robin Llewellyn, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in the east of England, added: “Anniversaries provide a way for us to think about what’s important to us and what shapes our identities.

“We are delighted to award this grant of £36,500. This project is a wonderful illustration of how local heritage can be a catalyst to bring people together to learn, celebrate and enjoy.”

More information about the plans is available from the town council on 01760 722922 or the Iceni Partnership on 01760 722800. Updates will also be posted on Twitter via the @SWAFF800 account.

n Lions boost for market celebrations: turn to page 32.