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Improvements for heritage trail halted due to pandemic

PUBLISHED: 11:58 01 August 2020 | UPDATED: 11:58 01 August 2020

Councillor George Acheson and the heritage trail map PICTURE: Matt Farmer

Councillor George Acheson and the heritage trail map PICTURE: Matt Farmer

Archant

The councillor behind a town’s heritage trail has been left feeling disappointed as all momentum for its improvement was halted by the coronavirus.

A Hi-res Map of the Fakenham Heritage Trail, launching June 11 2019, to be displayed on map boards aroud the town with accompanying plaques, to right of shot PICTURE: Philip Tompson of Reception Sign SystemsA Hi-res Map of the Fakenham Heritage Trail, launching June 11 2019, to be displayed on map boards aroud the town with accompanying plaques, to right of shot PICTURE: Philip Tompson of Reception Sign Systems

Fakenham town councillor George Acheson, along with help from Tim Duffy, launched the Fakenham Heritage Trail last July, with 32 plaques across the town showcasing the town’s past, as well as town maps.

They received a grant of £33,500 from The LEADER fund, as well as £8,000 from North Norfolk District Council’s Big Society Fund, to produce the Fakenham Heritage Trail, along with town council funding.

Each plaque holds information and a QR code, allowing people to use their phones to view more information about the trail. These webpages will also be accessible via the council’s website

However, a third map, magazine features and plans to relaunch the walk with a book based on the trail, were all put on the back burner as people felt the effects of the pandemic.

Crowds watch councillor George Acheson at the launch of Fakenham Heritage Trail PICTURE: Matt FarmerCrowds watch councillor George Acheson at the launch of Fakenham Heritage Trail PICTURE: Matt Farmer

Mr Acheson planned to have as many businesses as possible sponsor the book, lowering the cost for it. He now feels that is unlikely.

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“If I raised a couple of thousand from the sponsorship I could have paid for it,” he said.

“Because of Covid, I can not do that and now in the aftermath, I cannot ask these businesses for the money.

The defaced heritage trail plaque, edited to obscure obscene language PICTURE: ArchantThe defaced heritage trail plaque, edited to obscure obscene language PICTURE: Archant

“I am disappointed, aren’t we all?”

The former mayor said he still plans to publish the book when the town reopens. He said he will ask the town council to help him cover the cost in hopes they will want to promote the town.

However, the first year has not been easy for the trail. One of the plaques, at Gogg’s Mill was stolen. Another plaque at the three brick arch was targeted by vandals just days before the official launch.

On reflecting on the year, he said: “I was really thrilled at the beginning, didn’t think much about it over winter because it’s not the time people are going to be out.

“But, I am really disappointed with the effect of the virus and we are really going to have a big splash when the book comes out.”


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