Bawburgh Village

The 21st Century

First Decade 2000-2009

We had the benefit of Parish Council notes, School, Village Hall and Church reports, Bawburgh News archives, personal memories and the guidelines of BAWBURGH CENTURIES 1900-1999, published in 2000. Much which was planted during that last decade came to fruition and continued into the 21st Century. The Census figure for 2001 was 466. We were told that a "jolly crowd gathered on the last day of December 1999 and challenged each other to take a dip in the river the next day"...It took a couple of years to thaw out and there was another in 2002. As the church bell was tolled on 1st January 2000 to welcome in the new Millennium, plans for the first Dip went around the village which had begun in the Kings Head the night before. As a result, £230 was raised for Leukaemia Research (in memory of Frank Press) and Rescue for Brain Damaged Infants and two years later, a total £300 was raised for Leukaemia. This so typifies Bawburgh's ability to rustle up a crowd and raise money for others. But it wasn't until 1st January 2008 that Pete Hallam and Ian Williams spearheaded the resurrection of the Dip and it's social beginning to every year since.

Bawburgh News helped specify the timing of events, and there had been a comfortable agenda to most years during the First Decade. In 2008 the magazine celebrated it's 25th birthday and reflected on the help which digital photography had provided to record events; cameras had been at the ready in 2007 on the Green to record the annual Duck Race, which had suddenly to take a different form, due to flooding. Very quickly the event was transferred to the Village Hall and a Duck Holding Pen was erected, and the winners randomly picked by children - how inventive!

The topping out ceremony

As the Millennium arrived, the new Village Hall was in progress of being built, and it became a symbol for the forward thinking villagers who had fought and worked so hard for it. Here was future of Bawburgh, and it has proved thus. In the spirit of always being able to throw a party, a large gathering of villagers celebrated the "Topping Out" of the Village Hall in February 2001 and an even larger gathering  celebrated its official Opening on 15th June 2001, with the help of Messrs. Keith Skipper and Percy Garrod, who played the violin, just as he had during the opening of the old village hall in 1937. Richard Hitchcock had been pivotal in forging ahead with the Village Hall plans and was Chairman at its Opening. In his speech he said "this is by no means the end of a project, but just the beginning". The importance of the new Village Hall was profound - the Coffee Mornings which were started at the old Village Hall continued throughout the Decade - providing a regular meeting place for villagers, raising funds as it went. Tishy Bayne had started the 50/50 Club to help raise funds for a new Hall, and continued to do so. Other events at the Hall such as Bingo and Whist continued, alongside an afternoon Bridge Club started in 2005, which developed into one of the largest Clubs in Norfolk. Quiz Nights each year taxed the brains of villagers, many Musical Evenings by Peter Fenn took place this decade and every November, the biggest fund-raiser and most popular of all, the Bonfire Party and Fireworks. A Farmers Market took over the car park once a month, as the Decade closed. The youth of the village had requested a Youth Club and by 2002 this facility had been reinstated. It meant all ages had an up to date meeting place.

Most of us will remember where we were on 11th September 2001. When the History Group discussed the Decade, Roger Thompson and Pamela Ross were reminded they were caught up at Boston Airport, due to the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in New York, and had to wait 10 days for their flight home. George W. Bush was the incumbent President and Tony Blair Prime Minister of the UK (until 2007). The Decade saw the resultant War in Iraq from 2003, and due to the 24 hour news availability, the village was able to monitor Wars happening  on the other side of the World, unlike a Century before. There are not many of us either, who will not forget Boxing Day in 2004, when our televisions showed the horror of the Asian Tsunami.

What was a marvel at the end of the 20th Century, with mobile phones seen more and more on the streets, and in the village, by the end of the decade, over a third of the World's population owned a computer and used the internet. Bawburgh was not lagging behind - the village had its own website by 2001, and by 2007 Wi-Fi was available to hirers at the Village Hall. World wide news in 2008 affected all the World as well as Bawburgh residents, when a World wide financial crash affected all.

New Buildings - Kings Head 2008

In tandem with those events, the village lost its rare Black Poplar tree just 6 days before the terrorist attacks in New York. Warman's Close was so named to remember the last Miller. Later during 2008, new buildings appeared, in the pivotal position on what had been the Bowling Green until 2004. The Kings Head was updated, and fancier menus offered, but the plans for a change to a Hotel did not materialise. The long-living Queen Mother, who was born as the last Century began, died in 2002, aged 101, gave stability to the country, as her daughter had since, with her continuous Reign during this Decade. Norwich's ground-breaking Park and Ride Scheme brought two sites close to the village, at Costessey and Thickthorn. Soil from the Longwater site was transferred to the water meadow in Bawburgh, and Bawburgh News reported that we all felt surrounded by mechanical activity as, at the same time, building work started on the new Village Hall. The new Hall was taking shape as the old Village Hall was replaced by three properties, which helped meet the cost of the new Hall.

Neita Sparkes continued her good work with the Car Community Scheme until 2008, when David Goodman took over. Bawburgh generated the need for a high car ownership, and after much campaigning, a 20 mph inner zone was put in place in November 2003, but it was not until 2008 that the village Speedwatch group was trained to monitor the speed of passing traffic. A stolen lorry proved that the new safety barriers were required, when it arrived and stopped suddenly at Fair View cottage on a quiet Sunday afternoon in March 2004.

Fairview on a quiet Sunday Afternoon

  Bus services through the village, quite good in 2000, declined to nearly zero by the end of the Decade. A small but financially beneficial group had been set up in Little Melton and in 2004 Bawburgh was invited to join the Oil Economy Group, negotiating oil prices for members. And let us not forget that Whelie Bins arrived in 2003!!

Parish Council 2005. From left to right: Back row: Robin Green, Clive Dunn, Brends Bell, Shirley Fenn. Front row: June Tucker (Parish Clerk) Tom Hubbard and Marrianne Moselle.

As the decade (and Millennium) began, Tom Hubbard was Chairman of the Parish Council, Robin Green was Vice-Chairman and June Tucker was Parish Clerk. The last Parish Council Meeting in the old Village Hall took place on 13th July 2000 and the last Coffee Morning on 1st July. In 2008, Robin Green became Chairman. The new Millennium was creating excitement in the village with a new venue to match the 21st Century.

It was certainly a busy decade, with lots going on in the village. The new Village Hall soon found its place in Bawburgh's social calendar and was a good back up plan for Fete or Saint Walstan's Day, which had invariably been bathed in sunshine (although this decade there were a few wet ones!).

Rev. Angela Reynolds arrived as Vicar in November 2001 and became a very popular figure, leaving as the Decade came to a close. After much fund-raising, the Bishop of Lynn consecrated the refurbished organ in 2006, and could not resist trying it out!

Rev. Angela Reynold's last Saint Walstan's Day in 2009

At the beginning of the Decade, a Millennium Yew was planted in the churchyard during Saint Walstan's Day 2000. Annual Carol Singing for other charities was organised by the Church, but the Saint Walstan's Festival continued to be one of the most popular Church events of the year, supplemented by the biennial Safari Supper since 2007 and the occasional Harvest Supper. Carol Twinch published yet another book about our local Saint Walstan.

Sir Bernard Fielden and Jenny Press preparing the Art Exhibition in Church in August 2005

Another very popular biennial village event was Bawburgh Open Gardens Day, which was inspired at the beginning of the Decade by Dorothy Seargeant and Clive Dunn in 2000 and continued under the care of June Tucker. Carol Stephens and Jenny Press continued their involvement with an art Exhibition, following the very successful one in Church in August 2005, with an addition to the Open Gardens in the Village Hall, called affectionately BOGART. Bawburgh has a small population and the work of volunteers tends to fall on the same shoulders, but there were many different projects inspiring different villagers throughout the First Decade of the 21st Century. It certainly was not a sleepy village, retiring in the shadow of Norwich. The opening of the Bypass just before the turn of the Century and the nearness of University and Hospital and the affects of the people Bawburgh has met because of them, has enriched all our lives.

The closeness to the expanding Norwich boundaries had introduced others from outside the village to the School, which would not otherwise have enjoyed capacity pupils of 100. The School continued to flourish and a new Assembly Hall was added in 2006, to signify its secure future. A School Nursery was set up and Headmistress Cindy Baldwin had been in situ for 21 years, when she was succeeded by Jan Staff in 2008. The Secretary of State for Schools, Mr. Ed Balls, attended Mrs. Baldwin's retirement (he had been a former pupil). Then a new uniform and logo was launched in May 2009. The high standards of the School kitchen were offered to the Over 60s for a monthly lunch in 2006.

Duck Race