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Alan Winton, Bishop of Thetford, shares his favourite Norfolk things

19th February
ALAN WINTON diocese of norwich

The Bishop of Thetford, the Rt Rev Alan Winton (Image: Diocese of Norwich)

The Bishop of Thetford, the Rt Rev Alan Winton, who will retire in April, reflects on what he loves best about Norfolk


As a child we came up from London for several family holidays on the Broads hiring a motor cruiser. We had a few scrapes and adventures but thoroughly enjoyed our visits. Every time I’ve driven by Potter Heigham Bridge I’ve been reminded of the time we went under the bridge and knocked off the little flag on our boat. I can’t imagine we were the only amateurs to make that mistake. I’ve also inherited my mother’s little coffee table with a wonderful pattern of feathers underneath a glass top. It was bought somewhere near Wroxham, I believe, on one of those holidays back in the 60s and is something I treasure  


I’ve driven across the Acle Straight in all weathers and always have a sense of anticipation as the Minster Tower in Great Yarmouth comes into view. I’ve made many visits to what is, arguably, the largest parish church in England and will always cherish memories of my visits there and the warmth of the welcome I received

That would be Winterton where we’ve often visited to walk our dog Belle. We used to love the fact there was a car park and café there, but sadly, the café has gone with the effects of coastal erosion, a real problem for many of our communities along that bit of the coastline


That’s like asking a parent which is their favourite child. I think I need to exercise my right to say ‘no comment’. I should say though that I’ve met some wonderful people on my visits to the churches and schools and communities across the county

Place to eat 

We’ve had some lovely meals in restaurants and pubs and cafes around the county, wonderful dinners in various friends’ houses, and some memorable refreshments in the churches, but I have to say, even though it may sound rather corny, that my favourite place to eat is at home, anything cooked by my wife, Pippa, who is a fabulous cook

Attraction or day out 

So hard to choose but I think it’s got to be Thetford Forest

Something that happens every year  

This has got to be the beach service at Eccles-on-Sea which I’ve had the privilege of leading on a few occasions. It takes place on the site of the old church that’s now buried under the sand. There are stories and photos of those times when storms have washed the sand away and parts of the church have been revealed


It’s a dead heat between Kett’s Bookshop in Wymondham, run by the wonderful volunteers, and the unique Book Hive in Norwich where there is such an unusual collection of books and always one I find myself wanting to read


This is also a tough one but it has to be Norfolk’s own Alan Partridge. It’s the sign of a good comedy when you find yourself frequently wiping away the tears as I’ve done on many occasions when watching the shows and films. Although, I do have a bone to pick with Mr Coogan for turning my Christian name into such a go-to comedy name!  
this article first appeared on the Great Yarmouth Mercury website


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