Crowds turn out to celebrate first ever Dereham Day

Would-be policemen, Alijah Washtell, five, left, and his cousin Arthur John Washtell, four, at the D

Would-be policemen, Alijah Washtell, five, left, and his cousin Arthur John Washtell, four, at the Dereham Day event. - Credit: Archant 2022

Sunny skies and smiling faces met families heading to the first ever Dereham Day this weekend.

Excitement has been building in the months ahead of the event, which was aimed at celebrating all that is great about the market town.

The Memorial Hall and adjacent Fleece Meadow were at the centre of proceedings on Saturday (May 14) as more than 50 local groups showcased their skills and services after a difficult couple of years. 

Julie Wolfenden (left) and Julie Mann enjoying Dereham Day 

Julie Wolfenden (left) and Julie Mann enjoying Dereham Day - Credit: Archant

George Freeman, MP for Mid Norfolk, officially launched Dereham Day at 10am, before a packed programme of demonstrations, activities and entertainment got under way. 

Julie Wolfenden and her friend Julie Mann were among those enjoying the festivities in the Fleece Meadow on a beautiful sunny day. 

Would-be policemen, Alijah Washtell, five, left, and his cousin Arthur John Washtell, four, try out

Would-be policemen, Alijah Washtell, five, left, and his cousin Arthur John Washtell, four, try out the helmets with PC Ed Arbuthnot, at the Dereham Day event. - Credit: Archant 2022

"It's been absolutely tremendous," said Mrs Wolfenden. "There are so many things to see and do. 

"We've missed things like this for the last two years."

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Mrs Mann added: "It's really good get back together after two years of nothing. 

Mark Welfare with his partner Esther (second from right) and family at Dereham Day

Mark Welfare with his partner Esther (second from right) and family at Dereham Day - Credit: Archant

"The good weather helps, of course, but I think the community has already been drawn together because of the amazing support Dereham has had for Ukraine."

Dereham couple Mark and Esther Welfare came along to Dereham Day with their daughter, Amy, who was most excited for the petting farm being offered outside by Wycomb Pastures.

Verity-Rose Laskey, eight, tries her hand at bell ringing, at the Dereham Day event.

Verity-Rose Laskey, eight, tries her hand at bell ringing, at the Dereham Day event. - Credit: Archant 2022

"It was all about the animal petting for Amy," said Mrs Welfare.

"I'm all up for supporting and encouraging these kinds of events which bring the community together, and it's so good to see such a good turnout. 

"We've been really excited to come and have a look around, and there is such variety on offer."

Stuart Green, 27, the new mayor of Dereham, and the youngest they have ever had. Picture: DENISE BRA

Stuart Green, mayor of Dereham - Credit: Archant

Town folk Tom Stearman and Lynsey Daynes were also keen to show support and saw Dereham Day as something for their children to enjoy. 

"It's good because it's something that gets people out, and I'd definitely like to see them do it again," said Mr Stearman. 

Freddie Norris, three, and his mum, Sarah Dacvey, feed the sheep at the mobile petting farm, Wycomb

Freddie Norris, three, and his mum, Sarah Dacvey, feed the sheep at the mobile petting farm, Wycomb Pastures, at the Dereham Day event. - Credit: Archant 2022

"Hopefully over the years it will continue to grow - that would be marvellous."

Dereham mayor Stuart Green added: "After Covid, groups are desperate for people to get involved and see what's available to them in Dereham. 

Dereham Runners ready for the off at the Dereham Day event. From left, Mandie Thorpe, Jacquie Wood,

Dereham Runners ready for the off at the Dereham Day event. From left, Mandie Thorpe, Jacquie Wood, Terry Brunton, Matthew Freezer, and Neil Rivers. - Credit: Archant 2022

"It's been really great and maybe this could be done at least every year from now on."

Poppy Ikins, six, and her mum Holly, take a close look at some bees with their owner, Venetia Rist,

Poppy Ikins, six, and her mum Holly, take a close look at some bees with their owner, Venetia Rist, right, of the Norfolk Beekeepers Association, at the Dereham Day event. - Credit: Archant 2022