'A perfect day starts with a swim' Q&A with Helen Cardani

Performers in the Thursford Christmas Spectacular and, inset, Helen Cardani.

Performers in the Thursford Christmas Spectacular and, inset, Helen Cardani. - Credit: Thursford / Helen Cardani

Each week we ask someone from the community about their life in north Norfolk. This week we're featuring Helen Cardani, 71, from Trimingham.

How would you best describe your job in the community?
Since my retirement from school duties in Milan, Italy, I have been happy to take on the role of group Scout leader at West Runton Group Scouts. Working with other adult volunteers and the young members is rewarding and fulfilling, seeing young people learn life-long skills.

How long have you lived in your village?
After living in Cromer and Sheringham for a few years I now live in the coastal village of Trimingham.

What would you do if you were mayor for the day?
Being a mayor gives one very little real power to change as all goes through the council. But I would push strongly the council to set aside all works scheduled for a year and give all local residents free council tax instead in thanks for the great work the community do to make our coastal towns and villages attractive for visitors and for having to endure all the extra traffic during holiday times causing long queues and more noise.

I would also push for cycling lanes to be introduced to make it safer for the ever increasing cyclists who take to our narrow lanes and roads in this part of the country.

What is your favourite landmark?
My favourite landmark is the Cromer Anglican parish church of St Peter and St Paul, and its church tower, on the top of which you can enjoy wonderful panoramic views for miles around.

What is your favourite pub?
I am not a pub lover but I have had a drink or two at the West Runton Village Inn and homemade food served.

The West Runton Village Inn.

The West Runton Village Inn. - Credit: Archant

Which shop do you rely on?
Morrisons the supermarket - a most friendly place to shop with almost all I need. But I do also rely on Waitrose In North Walsham for its international foods.

What is your favourite place to eat out in north Norfolk?
My favourite place to eat out is The Pepperpot in West Runton though since Covid it is has now become a takeaway restaurant. The French chef Antoine is so creative and produces such a variety of delicious dishes both seasonal and at special times of the year to celebrate all occasions.  

What is a perfect day in north Norfolk for you?
The perfect day for me is an early morning swim at the Woodlands Leisure and Holiday Park in Trimingham, then a walk along the coastal path from the lighthouse in Cromer down to Cromer beach and the famous Victorian pier.

Which places in north Norfolk would you recommend to visitors?
Many: the culture and history of the city of Norwich, the blue flag seaside at Cromer and the quieter sand and shingle beach at Trimingham, museums including the grand castle in Norwich, the Fisherman’s Cottage in Cromer, and all the many walks along the coastal paths from Mundesley to the windmill in Weybourne.

Lighthouse, CromerGV of the Light House in CromerFor:Edp StandaloneCopy:EdpArchant © 2007(

Cromer Lighthouse. - Credit: Archant


Also the steam Poppy Line railway from Sheringham to Holt, the deep history and heritage coast, the Christmas Spectacular variety show at Thursford Museum, the end-of-pier show in Cromer plus its festivals and carnivals. Add the stately homes of Felbrigg and Blickling steeped in history with lovely gardens and lakes can only add the icing on the attractions cake.

Thursford Christmas Spectacular is back after the pandemic cancelled its 2020 show and halted all th

Performers in the Thursford Christmas Spectacular. - Credit: Thursford Collection

Who is your north Norfolk hero?
The famous coxswain of the Cromer lifeboat Henry Blogg who was the most decorated RNLI lifeboatsman and saved over 873 lives at sea. His statue stands high on the cliff overlooking the part of Cromer beach where the crab and lobster boats stand side by side with the view of the pier a few metres to the left.

Duncan Abel, left, and Charlie Hodson with the Henry Blogg statue in Cromer.

Duncan Abel, left, and Charlie Hodson with the Henry Blogg statue in Cromer. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

What do you most love about north Norfolk?
I love the open skies, the undulating agricultural countryside sitting side by side along the coast and most of all I love the peace and quiet it affords after the hustle and bustle of town life on the outskirts of Milan.