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Happisburgh’s coastal erosion fight could swing national TV competition

Happisburgh, nominated as Village of the Year. Happisburgh Lighthouse. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Happisburgh, nominated as Village of the Year. Happisburgh Lighthouse. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

Its plucky residents have been doggedly fighting coastal erosion for years.

Happisburgh, nominated as Village of the Year. Resident Denise Burke who nominated the village.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYHappisburgh, nominated as Village of the Year. Resident Denise Burke who nominated the village. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

And people’s determination in Happisburgh to carry on against the odds was one of the reasons why it was shortlisted in Channel 4’s Village of the Year TV series.

Clive Stockton, landlord at the Hill House pub, said: “Rather than give up because of the coastal erosion problem, people are closer because of it. We all suffer the same problem, and we make the best of things while we’ve got them.”

The series takes place over four weeks with villages divided into geographical areas for daily heats with Happisburgh featuring in the south-east region, which will be shown at 3pm on Monday, January 22.

Each week concludes with a semi-final on the Saturday and TV star Penelope Keith will crown the winner on Saturday, February 10 on Channel 4 at 8pm.

Happisburgh, nominated as Village of the Year. Happisburgh Church.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYHappisburgh, nominated as Village of the Year. Happisburgh Church. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

More than 400 British villages were originally long-listed by the series and Happisburgh is one of 80 villages to reach the heats.

The north-east Norfolk village was nominated by resident and parish councillor Denise Burke, who said: “For a small village we have so much to see and do: from climbing the lighthouse and church tower to walking the beaches searching for ancient finds, plus an annual beer festival and a quirky beach burger bar.

“And people are so friendly with a good community spirit. It’s about the community getting on with life against all the odds.”

The series’ expert judge Alex Langlands visited Happisburgh last summer.

Mrs Burke added: “We mocked up a Norfolk mardle for him. He also climbed the lighthouse and went down on the beach, where he found an ancient axehead, which he got so excited by. He was sending photos down to his colleagues at the British Museum.

Ellen Wetherall, 81, who has lived in the village for 39 years, said: “We’ve got everything we need here, and there’s always someone you can call, if you need help.”

The rector at St Mary’s Church, Revd Catherine Dobson, said the people made Happisburgh special. “They’ve always got time for each other,” she added.

See also //www.villageoftheyear.co.uk/


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