September 23 2014 Latest news:
By alex hurrell
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Delighted historians in North Walsham have successfully harnessed Facebook to ignite the interest of a younger age group in their local heritage.
A North Walsham and District Archive Facebook group was set up in December which already has nearly 2,000 members.
New local photos are shared on the site daily and contributors swap memories of places, events and local characters.
Now archive group members are hoping that many of the Facebookers will visit an audio-visual presentation and photographic exhibition at The Atrium, next to North Walsham High School, this Saturday, March 8.
It has been organised by archive group member Brian Hedge who owns some 35,000 local photographs. Hundreds will be on display from 2pm and others will form part of two audio-visual shows, at 4pm and 7pm.
Mr Hedge is hoping people will bring memories to be recorded and photos to be scanned, and that some visitors will join the archive group, which meets monthly.
“We couldn’t believe the response to the Facebook group. Most of us are in our 70s and 80s and if the group is going to carry on we need younger members so we’re hoping this will work,” said Mr Hedge.
The Facebook group was set up by the archive group’s youngest member, Wayne Beauchamp, 43, a website developer.
Mr Beauchamp has been putting together North Walsham’s official guide for the town council for more than 20 years. This led him to set up a North Walsham Guide website several years ago.
A musician with local bands, he thought his Mohican-style haircut and leather jacket had probably alarmed archive group members at first but he was pleased that his knowledge of the power of social media had proved useful.
“I’m born, raised, live and work in North Walsham,” he said. “The lovely thing is that you hear a lot of negative stuff about the town but on Facebook a huge amount of people are sending in photos and showing pride in their heritage."
■ The exhibition is free. Audio-visual show tickets cost £3 from The Showcase Gallery, Market Place, or The Atrium.
Photos of Knapton over the past 100 years, and its famous folk-singing son Walter Pardon, will also be on display.