Two years on from Covid - Five Fakenham people whose lives changed
- Credit: Patrick Payne/Fakenham Academy/Archant
Two years ago, our lives changed forever as the coronavirus pandemic took hold of the country.
March 16 marks two years since the prime minister asked people to stay at home in something he described as a “draconian measure". A week later, it was made law, with the first national lockdown.
Over the following 24-months, we've seen daily briefings, masks, lateral flow tests and distancing all come and go.
For some of us, life has returned to what it was before Covid, but for others, their lives have been changed forever.
Reporter Aaron McMillan spoke with five people across Fakenham to ask how different their lives are now.
Patrick Payne was at the heart of the Fakenham volunteers during the first lockdown, helping to organise support - from a friendly face at a safe distance, to someone picking up shopping.
- 1 From pot washer to head chef: 17-year-old's remarkable rise to the top
- 2 Funeral for town's lifelong resident made MBE for six decades of service
- 3 'It is a cash cow' - vicar's warning after being slapped with parking fine
- 4 Neighbourhood plan takes another step forward
- 5 'A vote of confidence' - Brewery amazed by response to investment call
- 6 Plans for jubilee celebrations in Wells revealed
- 7 Norfolk holiday home named one of the best in the UK
- 8 Woman, 78, caught drink driving after G&T
- 9 Where you can see the Red Arrows over Norfolk this weekend
- 10 PICTURES: The best-dressed punters at Fakenham Ladies Day
Mr Payne enjoyed his work so much that he is currently registering a new social media marketing business, with hopes of opening a charity.
“It gave me the appetite for that kind of work,” Mr Payne said.
“While I have no plans to go back to working on the Facebook page at the moment, if a situation arises where I was needed, I would absolutely jump back in.
“Fakenham's community is a lovely place, because of the impact the work had, and the good it did for the people, it is something I want to do more of.”
Alie Hannam, who runs The Crown in the Market Place, said thanks to the strong support of regulars, not much is different at the pub, but it's not always been stress-free.
“We’ve always had a really good crowd of regulars that have supported us all the way through,” she said.
“Prices have increased and we’ve also lost a couple of really good men to covid.
“It has been a stressful couple of years and has been hard to keep the business afloat, but with the help of family and friends, we’ve managed to get through.”
Gavin Green, who was recently made headteacher of Fakenham Academy, joined the school in September, having previously taught in Gorleston.
Mr Green was in school every day of the pandemic, helping to take care of the children of key workers, as well as checking in on pupils at home.
The 38-year-old said the school is looking to support children both with the gaps in their education, but also the enrichment, with after school clubs and trips being an important thing for children.
He said the pandemic highlighted just how important his job was: “It made me understand the things that are really important.
"I have always been a big one for community, but being isolated makes you realise how important that community sense is.
“It changed me to think the job that I do on a daily basis has a real impact and we have the ability to change a child’s life."
Joan Titterington, a resident on Fayregreen, was shielding through the pandemic.
The 91-year-old’s housing estate was forced to shut down its communal sitting room as residents stayed in.
In 2022 there is a renewed sense of community spirit, with a new manager bringing residents together with events for them, such as a monthly fish and chip supper, and bingo night.
“It is a really friendly place, and it has got more friendly since the new manager,” she said.
“The community is better now, I think more people are joining in the communal spaces to have a coffee and a chat.
“We rely on each other and we have pulled together. Seeing one another helps a lot.”
Matt Browne, manager at The Orginal Factory Shop, has seen his store change with the times, adding online shopping and click and collect to continue serving the public.
These services are still being used today as people enjoy the ease of shopping from home.
The shop has also been supporting others throughout the pandemic, such as donating food and toys to the Salvation Army’s appeal, raising money for First Focus, and providing items for Fakenham vaccine centre.
He believes the shop is in a better place: “Since this pandemic, the teams in-store have grown closer and stronger than before.
“Everyone's hard work dedication has been incredible. I am very proud to be part of a team that successfully manage its way through these difficult times.”