Q&A with ' friend, neighbour, parish councillor' Val Howson

Val Howson at her shop, North Norfolk Crafts and Gift Shop in Bacton.

Val Howson at her shop, North Norfolk Crafts and Gift Shop in Bacton. - Credit: Supplied by Val Howson

We're featuring people who live and work in our community in a series of Q&As. This week we speak to Val Howson, 58, from Happisburgh.

How would you best describe your job or role in the community?
I'm a resident of Happisburgh and owner of North Norfolk Crafts and Gift Shop in Bacton.

I'm a friend, neighbour, parish councillor who likes to consider everyone’s opinions in our home village.

Val Howson. 

Val Howson. - Credit: Supplied by Val Howson

In Bacton - where our artisan craft and gift shop is - I like to be that friendly face that greets visitors when they pop into the shop, showing off artisan crafts and one-off pieces that can remind them of their visit to our beautiful north Norfolk coast.

I enjoy talking to them about places to visit and things to do locally.

How long have you lived in Happisburgh? 
Eight years.

What would you do if you were mayor for a day?
I would hold a party for the residents and businesses in the village to celebrate their kindness and generosity during such awful times.

I would thank our local businesses for keeping us safe during lockdown and as we came out of it for making our visitors welcome and safe, and thank them for their help with supporting those working in the NHS who needed temporary accommodation to stay in, to keep their families safe  - East Ruston Holiday Cottages in particular.

I would round the day off with champagne on the beach and fireworks - bang free of course don’t want to scare the dogs or any other animals in Happisburgh.

What is your favourite landmark in north Norfolk?
Happisburgh Lighthouse of course, it's stunningly beautiful and has a great band of volunteers who are so knowledgeable and friendly.

Happisburgh's famous lighthouse

Happisburgh's famous lighthouse. - Credit: Nick Butcher

What is your favourite pub?
The Star at Lessingham. It's relaxed and inviting and has fabulous food.

Star Inn, School Road, LessinghamPictures for eatting out featureThis picture shows a GV of the

The Star at Lessingham. - Credit: Archant

Which shops do you rely on?
Our local shops and cafes, Cooke’s of Ingham Farm Shop, Meales Farm Shop, Causeway Butchers.

Cafe Carmel in Bacton the best vegan cafe locally, and I’m not even a vegan!

Anne Richardson who has opened Cafe Carmel, a vegetarian cafe at Bacton, named in memory of her late

Anne Richardson, owner of Cafe Carmel, a vegetarian cafe at Bacton. - Credit: Denis Bradley

What is your favourite place to eat out?
I would have to go back to the Star at Lessingham. From good old fashioned pub grub to something a bit more special for an occasion you can’t do better than the Star.

What is a perfect day in north Norfolk for you?
Entertaining visiting friends with walks on the beach and a picnic from the local farm shops and delis, followed by a good hearty supper made from great local ingredients

Which places locally would you recommend to visitors?
Happisburgh Lighthouse, the seals at Horsey, sailing from Hunter's Yard on the Thurne.

All the seals on Horsey beach having a relaxing day in some sunshine.

Seals on Horsey beach having a relaxing day in some sunshine. - Credit: Martin Sizeland

Who is your north Norfolk hero?
The local shop owners who kept us going through such strange times. This includes everyone from our local post office and convenience stores, Wayside Stores in Happisburgh, who supported lots of us, from having newspapers delivered to people who were shielding to supplying those essentials we couldn’t find elsewhere. 

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Also farm shops like Cooke’s of Ingham and Meales in Stalham, our butchers and lots of local independent shops who kept us going. 

I hope people remember to support them as we return to our new normal.

What do you most love about north Norfolk?
The pace of life, the peacefulness of a beach walk, to clear your head and always make the day that little bit better.

Would you like to be featured in a Q&A? Email stuart.anderson@archant.co.uk for more details.