Breckfest 'bit of a damp squib' - report

It was planned to be a three week extravaganza of sport and cultural events to celebrate the Olympics coming to England. Mid Norfolk was to see a raft of 'high quality, diverse and inspirational cultural and sporting activity' to 'put Breckland Council ahead of many authorities in the UK'.

It was planned to be a three-week extravaganza of sport and cultural events to celebrate the Olympics coming to England.

Mid Norfolk was to see £50,000 spent on Breckfest - a raft of events from beach volleyball and boxing to a Brecks Factor event, a Thetford to Dereham marathon, inter district softball and more.

All of which would end in a big closing event, all under the banner of celebrating the Olympics coming to London.

Instead most of these events never happened and nearly £90,000 was mostly spent on staging a 1970s concert for which, of 5,000 tickets available 1,800 were sold, according to a report.

The only other events listed as being staged in the report to councillors were an arts event called Crossing the Line, which saw music workshops and a performance in Dereham Leisure Centre's swimming pool, a Dereham swimming gala sponsored by the council, and a rural summer holiday programme - which is held annually.

A boxing event was also cancelled.

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Breckland Council has said the event was a success.

But Robin Goreham, Labour leader on the Tory-led Breckland Council, said: “What started out as a well-meaning extravaganza for Breckland turned out to be something of a damp squib.

“The intention was honourable but the result has been disappointing considering the amount of cash spent.”

A report to the council's policy and development review panel 2 admitted it was the first time the council had attempted such a large event.

Figures released by the council state that of £87,600 spent on Breckfest, £74,735 was spent on equipment and £9,175 on events organising.

Breckland paid £50,000 towards Breckfest and the rest was made back through £27,000 in ticket sales, £1,800 from vendors at the concert event and £8,250 in sponsorship.

A spokesman said the £50,000 was from an “area-based grant to focus on community cohesion, aiming at attracting people from all aspects of life”.

“It was extremely successful in terms of enabling people to work together, achieving a high level of interaction both prior to the event and among the many volunteers on the day,” she said.

“Local people are already asking what the council is aiming to deliver next year.”

She said lost ticket sales were blamed on an advertisement stating tickets would not be available on the gate.