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Norwich museum's treasured friends celebrate ninetieth brithday

PUBLISHED: 10:14 07 November 2011

Friends of Norwich Museums event - David Capp playing lute at the Castle Museum.; Photo: Bill Smith

Friends of Norwich Museums event - David Capp playing lute at the Castle Museum.; Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2011

A Norwich group pivotal to the prosperity of the Castle Museum celebrated their 90th birthday on Saturday.

The Friends of Norwich Castle (FNC) have been providing funding and support to the museum since 1921, helping them acquire some of their most prized artefacts.

They celebrated the anniversary with a public day event at the museum, with talks from experts in archeology, history and more.

The highlight was a talk by chief curator of the museum, Dr John Davies, on what the Chairman of FNC, Richard Gurney, described as “an incredibly exciting find”, a 2,000 year old gold Roman ‘torc’.

Discovered by a farmer when he stepped on it, this rigid metal neck ring was a sign of high status and is a rare find.

Mr Gurney said: “One of the reasons the castle is thriving is that we have been helping to fund them and acquiring items or donations of items.

“We are people from all walks of life, you just have to be interested in art and Norwich.

“We are a thriving group, quite large and influential. But we have to keep rejuvenating; today we are celebrating and advertising ourselves.”

The 1,100 strong volunteer group give £25,000 to the museum on average annually. With expensive artefacts they often ‘pump-buy’, providing initial funding which aids the castle in bids to the National Art Collection Fund.

They recently put up £6,000 towards two 14th century stained glass roundels - discs depicting religious scenes - worth £60,000.

The Head of Norfolk Museums, Vanessa Trevelyan, said: “They have been a fantastic support and help with a range of things.

“They lift our spirits. When the chips are down - because we all struggle with cuts - they cheer us on and enable us to do a lot of high quality things.”

To join FNC, call 01603 516 180

Do you know an organisation that does a lot for a worthy cause? Email joe.wilkes@archant.co.uk.

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