Thursday, February 13, 2014
A shadowy figure prowling the streets of Norwich on Valentine’s Eve can mean only one thing: Jack’s back!
The mythical Jack Valentine was celebrated at a series of events in the city last night, at the culmination of Norwich Lanes’ bid to revive the tradition in which the elusive enigma delivers gifts for young and old alike.
More than 20 different businesses took part, each offering their own twist or offer on the theme – from lovers’ cocktails to heart-shaped chips – with the man himself dropping in to make an appearance at many of them.
Jack said: “I’ve been kept rather busy with delivering all these presents, but at least I’ve had plenty of practice - around 150 years.
“I disappeared for a while, but that was purely because people stopped believing in me - and if you don’t believe, you don’t see.
“Believing in sprites and beings such as me is important, because we give flavour to what could otherwise be a very mundane existence.”
The campaign to ‘Bring Jack Back’ was started by Norwich Lanes with the support of Norwich Business Improvement District, as a way of reigniting interest in the tradition.
People were also able to record their Valentine’s memories with BBC Voices at the Bridewell Museum, where visitors had the chance to examine historical Valentine’s gifts and listen to stories of Jack Valentine.
Norwich Lanes committee member Jade Heaviside said: “It’s been fascinating to hear everyone’s different memories of Jack. All ages are interested in him and social media has been going crazy with sightings of him today.
“Some people have said they remember waiting for Jack Valentine was more exciting than Father Christmas, and the great thing is it’s not just for couples, it’s for everyone.”