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Turnstone, by John Maiden - June 27, 2017

Two weeks ago the Heritage Centre was host for a day school organised by the Norfolk Federation of the Workers’ Educational Association.

In the morning I gave an illustrated presentation, compiled by Brian Holmes, on the role of the le Strange family in the development of Hunstanton from 1845 to 1955.

After lunch we walked along the seafront, to see what has replaced amenities lost since the 1950’s.

It was the day before the statue of Henry le Strange was due to be unveiled, but I wonder what he would have made of the increasing number of paving slabs appearing on various parts of The Green.

It reminds me of Joni Mitchell’s lyrics: “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot!”

Fortunately, vehicles only park on The Green during events such as the carnival, but the 1955 Covenant states: “The Green is to be kept as an ornamental grass green only.”

This is clearly being eroded and not just by the presence of paving slabs!

Even the Wolf in St Edmund’s Chapel gardens has been uprooted from his flower bed and placed on new paving.

It looks as if someone ordered too many slabs and the council is now hard-pressed to find a use for them.

Meanwhile, back to the Heritage Centre, which has done more to celebrate the vision of Henry le Strange than has been achieved with a £1.3m restoration project.

In July this popular attraction will be open seven days a week. Friday to Sunday it will be manned by Civic Society volunteers from 1pm to 5pm.

Monday to Thursday John Smith and Tony Armstrong will be on hand from 10am to 4pm to answer questions on new exhibits focussing on themes such as Victorian Hunstanton and the town at war.

Admission is free, but donations are very welcome.

Looking ahead to August, local writer and tutor Sue Burge is running two creative writing day schools.

“The Heritage Centre is such an inspiring space and I really want to make the most of it,” said Sue.

“I’ve created two very different days. The first, on August 2 covers memoir writing.

“Many people have interesting life stories and it’s important to preserve these.

“They want to put their memories into a form that family and friends will enjoy and I’m hoping this workshop will help participants to create pieces of writing that will have a wider appeal.

“The plan is to use techniques from the world of fiction to transform memories so that they read more like short stories, with a tighter form and a bit more technique.

“The second day on August 23 will focus on poetry. The aim is to create a sequence of poems on the theme of the sea.

“There’ll be interesting and inspiring exercises to help generate ideas and practise techniques in both the workshops. You don’t really need any experience, just an open mind and a willingness to try things out. The sessions will be very informal and relaxed.”

Each day costs £35 and runs from 10.30am-4.30pm.

All participants are encouraged to send work inspired by the day for further feedback after the course.

Booking is essential. For details go to www.sueburge.uk, e-mail skburge@outlook.com or phone 01553 692798.

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