Jerome Mayhew talks about the things he loves in Norfolk
- Credit: Danielle Booden
We're asking people what they love about our area. This week we're featuring Broadland MP Jerome Mayhew, 51.
How would you best describe your job or role in the community?
I am here to stand up for Fakenham and the surrounding villages.
Whether it is through arguing the case for mobile phone coverage, dealing with the fallout from Covid for local businesses, supporting bids for central government investment or being an advocate for people in need of help when things have gone wrong, I’m here to be a loud voice for those who need to be heard.
How long have you lived in Fakenham/Wells/Norfolk?
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I’m a relative newcomer with a house just outside Fakenham but have been part of a farming company in Walsingham for the last eight years, where my mother was born and raised.
What would you do if you were mayor of Fakenham for a day?
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I would redesign the town centre to make it more attractive for people to come and visit. High streets are changing as they adapt to how we shop.
We need to beautify the centre of Fakenham to make it an attractive, enjoyable day out, even if you do lots of shopping online.
If we make the most of the beautiful buildings and spaces in the heart of Fakenham we can attract good independent shops that will revitalise the town, creating a virtuous circle.
What is your favourite landmark?
I love the ruins at Binham, with the farm shop next door.
They are built into both the remaining parish church and also the farm buildings. It speaks of the long history that we share Norfolk with, as well as how life has changed over the years.
But my favourite place is the grounds of Walsingham Abbey with the great pilgrim arch and the packhorse bridge over the Stiffkey. I have known it all my life, inextricably linked with family memories.
Which shops do you rely on?
I am going to go with the Tudor Barber Shop in Walsingham, who has recently opened, is really friendly and gives a great cut (though my hair doesn’t give much scope for artistic flair), Benbows in Fakenham for fruit and veg, and Mr Chips on Bridge Street when I am feeling less healthy.
What is your favourite place to eat out?
I always love French’s on the quay at Wells.
My grandfather used to go to Wells every Friday to buy fish when there was a wet fish shop there and it has become the only place for us to go.
These days you have to queue round the block!
What is a perfect day in north Norfolk for you?
A sunny day out bicycling pretty much anywhere on our back roads.
Last year I took part in the Norfolk Historic Churches Trust bike ride with my family, trying to get to as many churches as we could. The churches were beautiful, but the star of the day was the gorgeous countryside, the fresh air, the big sky and the time messing around together.
Which places (in north Norfolk) would you recommend to visitors?
The coast can speak for itself but I had a great day at the races at Fakenham last year and would strongly recommend it.
It’s a really friendly place, you can see the whole course from the stand and you can get up close to the runners and riders in the Paddock.
I also learned a lot from a recent visit to the Hawk and Owl Trust at Sculthorpe, and we are lucky to have Pensthorpe so near to us.
Who is your north Norfolk hero?
Nelson is too obvious so I am going to go with Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester of Holkham Hall. He (or perhaps it was his team) essentially re-invented farming in the 18th century with his development of rotational agriculture.
The new buzzword in farming these days is regenerative farming, to improve soil fertility and reduce the need for polluting chemicals. As far as I can see, this is basically re-learning what Thomas Coke taught us 250 years ago. He was a great man.
What do you most love about north Norfolk?
It’s not on the way to anywhere, so if you end up in Norfolk it’s because you want to be here.