Boughton Church Window Gary Trouton


December 2007

Les bemoans the changing face of rural Norfolk.

As I suggested last month, one subject very much to the fore these days is the closing of some of our post offices. To me this is inevitable simply because we live, as we always have done, in an ever changing world; we may not welcome that change but it will always be with us.

I had all of this in mind when I recently paid a visit to Boughton. I can't remember the last time I was there but what a change had taken place. I looked for the two pubs, the post office, the chapel, the village shop, and the village school; none were to be seen. My first reaction was to concede that the very heart of the village had been taken out and yet on reflection I also had to concede that only recently I believe Boughton had won a best kept village award so the changes hadn't prevented that award.

Change, welcome or not, as I have said will always be with us. Therefore we should anticipate that fact and plan for the future; yesterday has gone. In accepting that change is inevitable we must acknowledge it and incorporate that change and we may well have to make decisions, that to many, could be more than painful.

I see the day, however regretfully, when parish councils in nearly every village will be a thing of the past. In the past just as we have seen so many Methodist Chapels sold off to the domestic market we must also face up to the reality that many of our Churches will, in the future, be unsustainable due to the enormous costs involved. In sport, in the past almost every village had it's own football and cricket team, but not today. Again, those days are over - never to return. I hold the view, however, that it is not all gloom and despondency. I believe we live in a very exciting world with limitless opportunities awaiting us if only we can see them.

At Methwold High School, and surely that only came in to existence when others closed, the day is not far off when everyone of our young people will be educated to at least 18 years of age. I left school when I was 14, but that was in the past.

I'm supportive of our Village Pump in that it incorporates some six villages not just one, and the way forward is to increase the circulation area because you have no other choice. You can't stand still; it's either forward or backward eventually, because again change is inevitable like it or not;

Just two examples, Methwold High School and our Village Pump, and the word that comes to my mind is Centralisation; that is the road we are travelling down. If we accept that then stop to consider the future of say religion and sport, just another two other examples which must in my view go down the same road.

It is with all of that in mind that I look to the future with optimism because if you throw that out with the bath water, then what indeed have you got left?

Les Lawrence

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