Wensum, by Jim harding, April 28, 2015

The Fakenham mayor is Jeremy Punchard. He is with Tanya Abel who won the community volunteer award ANL-150424-183309001
The Fakenham mayor is Jeremy Punchard. He is with Tanya Abel who won the community volunteer award ANL-150424-183309001
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Mayor of Fakenham Jeremy Punchard with Tanya Abel, who won the community volunteer award shield.

It’s never that well-publicised and usually there’s not much on the agenda to stir the interest of local residents. There’s generally a report by the mayor on significant happenings over the past year, a financial statement of the council’s donations to the community from market tolls and sometimes a resume from local police.

As no-one in uniform turned up this time, we were not enlightened in that respect. Just four councillors were present out of the current total of 14, not exactly a ringing endorsement of the occasion. What has lent it some credibility and a degree of public support over recent years has been the inclusion as part of the proceedings of two presentations.

One is for the council’s annual community volunteer award shield and the other is for the mayor’s military cadet award. Not surprisingly, a goodly number of family and friends turn up to champion these winners.

This year the volunteer award, established more than 10 years ago by former mayor Alan Tickle, went to Tanya Abel from community group First Focus.

She had joined the group in 2013 and admitted that her shyness and inability to mix with others had kept her well away from such involvements in the past.

Two mornings a week at First Focus had changed all that as she threw herself into helping others seeking help and guidance with anything from fact-finding to form-filling. The mayor’s cadet award was won by 16 year-old Mollie Banks, who has been a member of 2534[Fakenham]Squadron of the Air Training Corps for the best part of four years, rising to the rank of corporal. Now a student at Fakenham College she has high hopes of joining the RAF. During the past year she has accompanied the mayor on a number of civic occasions, in particular the Remembrance Sunday wreath-laying service around the town’s war memorial.

It was good to be part of these celebrations which recognise the commitment of enterprising individuals in our town – certainly, for me, the overriding reason why I made the effort to turn up at the annual assembly.

The 70th anniversary of VE Day will be marked by three days of national celebration. Friday, May 8, has been targeted as a day of Remembrance when 100 beacons will be lit right across the UK. Saturday, May 9, as a day of Celebration, announced via ships sounding their horns, sports matches incorporating songs or clapping and cathedrals from Canterbury to Durham ringing their bells from around 11am. And Sunday, May 10, as a day of Commemoration but also of street parties and picnics when public halls, community centres and homes may be decked with bunting and music played to recreate the spirit of 70 years ago.

In Fakenham there will be a church service at 10.30am that Sunday. John Boisson, secretary of the Fakenham Royal British Legion, has put out a call to any veterans of the war, whether on active service, in the Home Guard, or reserved occupations, to join the congregation as distinguished guests. He may be contacted on 01328 838839 to assist with transport should you be aware of a veteran who wishes to attend.