Excitement building ahead of first ever Dereham Day

The first ever Dereham Day is set to take place on Saturday, May 14

The first ever Dereham Day is set to take place on Saturday, May 14 - Credit: Archant/Tim Cara

Anticipation is growing ahead of a new event aimed at celebrating all that is great about Dereham.

The first ever Dereham Day is set to take place this Saturday, May 14, with the Memorial Hall and adjacent Fleece Meadow at the centre of proceedings.

The Memorial Hall in Dereham. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Dereham Memorial Hall will be at the centre of proceedings on Dereham Day - Credit: Archant

George Freeman, MP for Mid Norfolk, will launch the festivities from 10am, before a packed programme of demonstrations, activities and entertainment.

Friends of Norfolk Dialect (FOND) will treat audience members to their unique brand of humour at the closing concert from 7.30pm. 

Around 50 local groups are getting involved with Dereham Day to showcase their skills and services after a difficult couple of years. 

Tim Cara, chairman of Friends of Dereham Memorial Hall - which is helping to organise Dereham Day - said the occasion was an opportunity for the town to bounce back from coronavirus. 

Tim Cara, chairman of Friends of Dereham Memorial Hall

Tim Cara, chairman of Friends of Dereham Memorial Hall - Credit: Tim Cara

"We’re aiming to capture the imagination of the whole of Dereham, with a big reopening event to be held indoors and outdoors at the Memorial Hall. 

"Not every local organisation has come through the lockdowns intact, but those who are under way again are full of energy and enthusiasm.

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"They can only grow stronger, and events like Dereham Day are a great way for them to reconnect."

Dereham Day is not the first event of its kind to be held in the town. 

A similar extravaganza, called Dereham Fringe Festival, took place back in September 2017 and was subsequently hailed as a huge success.  

It is also hoped Dereham Day will go some way towards filling the void of Dereham Carnival, which was a huge success story in the 2010s before being indefinitely cancelled in 2019 for financial reasons. 

Railway Tavern landlord Paul Sandford, who is part of the organising team, added: "This is not a carnival, but it is a chance for Dereham to show that the town is coming alive again as a community.

Paul Sandford, landlord of the Railway Tavern, is providing transport for anyone wishing to attend R

Paul Sandford, landlord of the Railway Tavern in Dereham - Credit: Archant

"We can all feel proud to belong to Dereham. There should be something for everyone to enjoy or engage with."

While much of the Dereham Day offering will be free, net proceeds will go towards the local effort supporting Ukraine. 

To buy tickets (£12 each) for the FOND show, visit ticketsource.co.uk/whats-on/dereham or call 01362 696900.

In celebration of Dereham Day, this week's Dereham Times will have special offers giving each reader free chips at the Railway Tavern, and a family hour of bowling at Strikes for just £22.95. 

Pick up a copy of the Times in your local shop or from our stand on Saturday.