Sunday, 8 July 2012

Celebrating in Norwich

This week has been such a great, no, truly special, week in Norwich. It started after work on Wednesday with the Olympic Torch reaching the City Centre. We went with a few Friends and stood in between The Forum and St Peter Mancroft Church. Boy was it busy! The city was completely heaving and there was such a good joyous atmosphere. We were really fortunate to be at the front, by the railings with a good view. It was a glorious evening with brilliant blue skies - not a rain cloud in sight!

The Torch Bearer that we saw was Simon Stokes. The London 2012 website says the following about him;

"Simon is a local church minister and is blind. Over the past few years he has done several amazing things to raise money for Bowthorpe Community Trust Workshop - a charitable organisation which works with trainees with learning and other difficulties to help them acquire work skills and gain a feeling of self worth. Simon was sponsored to do a parachute jump a couple of years ago and more recently ran the Beachy Head Marathon accompanied by his guide dog Tigger. Simon has been an inspiration to the community of Bowthorpe over the past five years, not only in his work with the Workshops but also in his work with the local Youth and Community Centre, local schools, the Bowthorpe Forum, amongst other things - in addition to his work with our church."

After was saw the Torch and nearly being bowled over by one local TV Reporter, Mike Liggins, we had a wander around the city and got to see quite a few more Torch Bearers all posing for photographs as well as Chickens on Stilts (I kid you not!). We then headed back to our friends house for fish and chips and a Movie in their Garden Cinema - simply perfect.

Then on Thursday night, we headed back into the City at half ten to see the 3D Projection on the Castle. It's a six ish minute animation to celebrate Norwich's culture and heritage. It was nice to see so many people out  and enjoying the show. I took a video, which will hopefully work!

It was completely amazing, that we stayed and watch it again and then went again on Friday night! It was just so clever and I loved the fact that everyone clapped at the end. Proper community spirit.

On Saturday, we were fortunate enough to be involved in the Lord Mayors Procession. We were at the very end by the Wig and Pen Pub collecting the money from those who walked the route all in aid of Future Projects. Here is a little about them from their website;

"Future Projects was created by two volunteers in 2000 in response to large groups of young people congregating in the NR5 area causing anti social behaviour. Today we employ c30 full time and part time staff and cater for a much wider client base to overcome social exclusion and enrich people’s lives. The Project works with hard-to-reach groups and empowers individuals to reach their full potential through a range of long and short term projects including; Community Radio station, Community based professional recording studios, bespoke short skills and training courses, Key Stage 4 school for children with SEN or those having difficulties in mainstream education, youth engagement projects and post 16 support advice and guidance. Situated in the NELM area; an area marked by significant disadvantage in learning, skills, employment, health and crime indicators Future is increasingly becoming a driving force for social change in the area. The project is now based in a purpose built studio and education block which houses our state of the art radio, media and music suite and education facilities".

Not only did we get to help out a truly wonderful charity, but we also got the best view ever of the parade.

There were a few surprises whilst we collected the money - there were plenty of rubber bands, glow sticks and bottle caps donated. Quite unexpected! I loved how happy the paraders were despite the long walk, in the surprisingly warm evening, they had just completed, especially the dancers who were still merrily dancing away! I just quite simply love the Lord Mayor Procession and it was made even better this year by being involved. I just hope there was lots and lots of money collected for the Charity.

After the Procession finished we thought we'd escape the heaving city so went for drinks at the rather lovely Fat Cat Pub.  We pretty much all had soft drinks as we were so thirsty, despite the amazing Cherry Beer that they serve. By this time it was nearly nine and we were all hungry - a cheeky takeaway was just the ticket. After we polished off our food, we headed up to Mousehold Heath to watch the Fireworks at the Castle. I love watching the Fireworks from here as it seems like the city is on fire. There's always quite a crowd too which adds to the atmosphere. Here's a snippet of the Fireworks towards the end...

It really has been an amazing few days in Norwich - I've enjoyed it all and I feel so fortunate to live in such a great City. The City Council really do an amazing job; their events team are brilliant. I have had a ball!

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