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Fakenham Easter road running and cycling hub, Ladies Day and Gareth Southgate: Wensum Lynn News column

Jim Harding writes his Fakenham Wensum column

The holiday weekend was more than a little lively in Fakenham. On Easter Sunday. in sparkling weather the heart of the town was transformed into a tight course for road running and cycling.

Some of the arranged events were serious, particularly for those competing on bikes. Others were more in keeping with having fun, especially for toddlers on trikes and youngsters holding hands with a parent or friend for a joint effort around the narrow streets. With hundreds cheering them on the atmosphere was lovely, all the more so with the pandemic having put paid to this entertainment over the past couple of springs.

Crowded market place on the Easter Sunday funday
Crowded market place on the Easter Sunday funday

Plenty of stalls offered food choices as well.

With so many in attendance, lots of shops were open to cater for them. I’ve rarely seen The Red Lion on the market square so busy. Our thanks are due to Active Fakenham for resurrecting the event and organising everyone to make sure things went off so well. I was a bystander with no especial interest in who won what but, regardless of that, how good it was to be a part of this jamboree.

The next day, Easter Monday, did its best to dampen down the outlook with steady rain falling throughout the morning. As racegoers will know, this has always been a big annual occasion for our local track and I was amongst the crowd that made its way out to the course.

Fortunately by midday the weather had relented and conditions for the seven-race card were fine with plenty of sunshine for the onlookers. With the ground softened by the rain, jumping conditions were described as good to soft.

Just as well as there were a number of fallers who landed heavily. One horse needed attention and was screened from view not far from the main stand. He was only winded and on getting to his feet and trotting towards the stables was given a rousing reception by the crowd. I was a bit unimpressed by the first race which could only manage two runners.

Other punters must have felt something similar. With one of the horses highly fancied, most of us gave this one a miss and were wise to do so. The fields were generally small, perhaps a reflection of the number of race meetings around the country that day but competition was always keen. A lot of improvement work has been carried out at the course over the past year or so and whilst still a work in progress is now showing positive signs of completion.

The new bar area was thriving and once landscaping has taken place in its foreground will be a great asset. An incentive to get everything done and dusted must surely be Ladies Day on June 4, such a popular fixture in the racing year here.

Everyone dresses up for that, your correspondent included. I quite like to adopt the Gareth Southgate look with shirt and tie, a waistcoat with matching trousers and, why not, a buttonhole. I hope to see you there.

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