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Wensum - A hare here, and a hare there, could inspire regeneration plans for town

Phone boxes in Fakenham Upper Market

In a strange kind of way, that’s about to change with the town becoming one of the venues for the county-wide GoGoHare initiative.

Along with Norwich – which will have a trail of no less than 50 hares - and 17 other towns, we will display a decorated fibre-glass hare from the last week in June until the first week in September.

Those in the know will recall similar happenings in the past when gorillas and dragons were the featured attractions. From Fakenham’s point of view, this has all been made possible thanks to sponsorship from the Kinnerton chocolate factory which is marking 40 successful business years here.

If anyone is still bemused by what this is all about, I should add that the Norfolk children’s charity Break, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, will be the main beneficiary of the funds raised.

In addition to the hare itself, our junior school will be decorating a so-called GoGoCreate leveret to be included as part of a mini-trail around Norwich. So one way and another the hare and its offspring will be high profile features this coming summer.

Just where ours will be sited is yet to be revealed but to me the obvious place would be in the market square. As the building work on the former Aldiss store should be just about done by the end of June, the GoGoHare could provide the impetus for some much-needed town centre regeneration.

The town council has already flagged up its intention to go down this route and by doing so restore pride in what has become a sadly neglected space at the heart of things here.

Help has already come from the district council by way of a £1,000,000 grant towards improving the town as a retail and visitor destination.

Suggestions have so far included subsidising the redecoration of shop fronts, setting up a heritage trail, improving the garden area adjacent to the library, investing more in the Museum of Gas and Local History and improving the pathway beside the river down to the three brick arches bridge.

The two red phone boxes next to the Gallery Bistro might also be drawn into things thanks to BT’s Adopt A Kiosk scheme. This enables councils to take over these largely neglected K6 boxes for just £1, spruce them up and perhaps put them to good use. I’ve heard that some boxes in rural spots have been converted into mini libraries but doubtless the council will be seeking other appropriate ideas from residents.

Should you have thoughts on any of these proposals, do contact the office on 01328 853653 or fill in the form at www.fakenhamtowncouncil.org.uk

A small parish church initiative got off to a good start on the first Saturday in February when jazz quartet Weaver of Dreams entertained a large audience for free. This was to be followed up last month by a more classical offering but sadly the weather intervened.

Not to be denied, the group of musicians that was to have performed will now present an informal concert this coming Saturday which they have entitled Classic Oboe Favourites. They will play from 10.30am until midday.

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