War Memorial Gary Trouton


July 2010

Report from the West Dereham heritage Group

Congratulations to Cyril Marsters on his recent literary award from the Cambridge Association for Local History. His book " In Harness at Histon" was one picked out of over 200 looked at by the Association for an award in the Local History Book Awards for 2009.

The book details Cyril's daily life working on the Chivers Farms from 1944 to early 1948. Much of his time was spend tending the fruit growing area and working with heavy horses which were still used on most farms at that time.

Cyril has published a previous book which is an account of his life after being born in Kings Lynn to arriving with the family at Wilburton Station where his father was to take up the post of Station Master, entitled "Boy on a Branch". He is also a co-author of an account of the Stoke Ferry - Downham Market Branch Railway.

On the 20th May we were delighted to welcome Keith Skipper, Man of Norfolk, who gave a two hour talk in local dialect on various topics with lots of funny stories and memorable characters he has met during his life in Norfolk. We had a break for refreshments and a raffle, our speaker 'got a bit dry' and Keith mingled with the audience for half an hour and I was able to tell him a Norfolk joke he had not heard before. As soon as I had spoken a few words he interrupted me and asked how long I had 'been this way', I said 35 years, why do you ask, well he said you sound like you're from Yarmouth. Absolutely correct, I was born there and lived in the area till 1960. It just goes to show how keen his ear is, able to detect the slight differences in the Norfolk accent that exists in many towns and villages.

We had a packed village hall that night which included some visitors from the surrounding area.

Keith likes to explore any rivalry that may exist between local villages and makes fun of those little incidents from the past and quoted one that still goes on to this day in that Cromer and Sheringham have this 'thing' about who has the best crabs and lobsters. So our audience was boosted with, as Keith called them, reinforcements from Hilgay, Stoke Ferry and Wereham. Note, names in alphabetical order, not an indication as to numbers attended and many thanks for coming, we enjoyed your company. Keith and his wife arrived in good time but with a fault light showing on his cars dashboard. The AA were called and found the fault and he made note of the fact that now the AA know where West Dereham is. He made mention of his visit in his piece for the Eastern Daily Press Sunday Supplement on the 29th May and that even natives who know most corners of Norfolk do need occasional reminders that there are two Derehams. East Dereham, a growing town in the centre of Norfolk but not to be confused with us rural upstarts here in the West..

Sunday the 23rd of May members of the group took part in the Wretton at War event by kind invitation of the Wretton Historical Organisation. Staged with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund we all had a lovely day, the weather being sunny and warm.

Several of our members went in period dress and we had a display of 1940s publications which included newspapers, recipe books and magazines. Every day items shown included gas masks, steel helmets and identidy cards

It was a fantastic day with a great many people taking part and lots of displays of items from the period which included, for obvious reasons, a large military presence. See our website for pictures taken on the day.

Richard C. French.

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