'I'd cap second homes' - Q&A with Callum Ringer from Bodham

Bodham parish councillor Callum Ringer, who is hoping to open a community shop run by a mix of paid

Callum Ringer. - Credit: Archant

People in our community are offering us a window into their lives and love of north Norfolk. This week we chat to Callum Ringer, from Bodham. 

1. How would you best describe your job or role in the community?

I am the chair of Bodham and Beckham Community Shop Project, vice chair of Bodham Parish Council and secretary and founder of the Rock Bodham charity music festival.

Rock Bodham music festival which has been timed to coincide with Norfolk Day.Picture: KAREN BETHELL

A group of friends enjoying a previous Rock Bodham event. - Credit: Archant

2. How long have you lived there?

I’ve lived in Bodham since I was nine months old.

3. What would you do if you were mayor of your town or village for a day?

Bodham doesn’t have a mayor, but if there was one thing I could do for north Norfolk right now (and no mayor has this power) it would be to put a statutory cap on the number of second homes in the district.

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It is a real struggle for young people to get on the housing ladder round here, and even finding anything for private rental is a mission with so many flats now being used for holiday lets.

4. What is your favourite landmark?

Baconsthorpe Castle is close to my heart, we used to play about there as children as it was close to Bodham.

I like to stop off at John’s Water on the Bure near Itteringham - a real hidden gem - for a picnic or to dip my toe in the river.

Baconsthorpe Castle. Pictured is the Inner Gatehouse. Picture: Ian Burt

Baconsthorpe castle. - Credit: Ian Burt

5. What is your favourite pub?

This is a tough one because I visit quite a few and have worked in several over the years as well - most recently The Crown, Sheringham.

The Crown in Sheringham. Picture: Archant Library

The Crown in Sheringham.   - Credit: Colin Finch

My local is Bodham Red Hart, it has gone above and beyond during the pandemic, serving takeaways, delivering to vulnerable people and shielding members of the community.

They were recently rewarded by being designated as an Asset of Community Value and I was proud to have submitted the paperwork to make that so.

6. Which shops do you rely on?

Growing up we relied on Bodham Shop and Post Office. It sadly (and unjustly in my view) closed in 2014.

We relied on it not just for what is sold, but my parents both worked there over the years, and my uncle in the post office (I delivered the Sunday papers).

I am determined to get it back, to serve our village and surrounding area once again, run and owned by the community – for the community.

7. What is your favourite place to eat out?

In the last couple of weeks I have had fish and chips in Wells and a crab sandwich freshly made sat on Blakeney Quay. On a nice summer day there is nothing better.


Blakeney Quay. - Credit: Archant

8. What is a perfect day in north Norfolk for you?

My favourite day of the year is Sheringham Carnival. The High Street is reclaimed, and even if it rains people make the best of it.

Rock Bodham put on some daytime live music at one of the town pubs, which gets the day going and I have in the last few years ended up dressing up in some sort of costume for Starling’s Toy Shop for the parade.

The Lee Vasey band at the end of the day at The Crown is tradition, as is the hangover the next day. Let’s hope it is back next year (not the hangover!). Well done to Stuart and all the volunteers who deserve a shout out for putting it together.

9. Which places in north Norfolk would you recommend to visitors?

North Norfolk’s coastline is renowned and I think most people who visit here come for that.

So when I get the opportunity I do often suggest to people to head inland. It is quieter, away from the coastal towns and villages, but I think just as nice.

Baconsthorpe Castle, Binham Priory, every village has a story to tell. Get on your bike or put on your walking boots and explore – you will not be disappointed.

10. Who is your north Norfolk hero?

This is a tough one, and I am going to choose two. The first is my great-grandfather, Teddy Craske.

He was a lifelong fisherman in Sheringham and served on the lifeboats without missing a shout for 40-plus years.

The bravery of those who work in those conditions, both in the fishing industry and then giving voluntary time as lifeboat crew deserves recognition.

The lifeboats back then relied on sails and oars in the roughest of seas. Their wives and children deserve a mention too, not knowing if their husbands and fathers would return.

Teddy Craske by the Sheringham lifeboat in 1941. Picture: Archant Library

Teddy Craske by the Sheringham lifeboat in 1941. Picture: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library

Teddy was the last surviving member of the Henry Ramey Upcher lifeboat, still proudly on display in the town, and although he died when I was young I still have fond memories of him.

The second is George Edwards. George was born into poverty in 1850, and having spent some time in the workhouse started working as a crow-scarer aged five, common for the time.

He didn’t read or write until he was in his 20s but was determined to better the conditions of the agricultural working class here in North Norfolk. He pushed for Norfolk’s first rural council houses to be built, and in 1906 founded the National Union of agricultural and rural workers.

As general secretary he ran it from his cottage in Gresham for the first few years.

George Edwards, MP for South Norfolk (right) and his agent, Edwin Gooch, in Wymondham after the 1920

George Edwards, MP for South Norfolk (right) and his agent, Edwin Gooch, in Wymondham after the 1920 by-election victory. Pictrure: Gooch family archive - Credit: Gooch family archive

He cycled 6,000 miles in the union's first year setting up meetings and building the union – by this point he was well into his 50s.

He became Labour MP for South Norfolk in 1920 and was knighted before his death in 1933. You would be hard pushed to find anyone in history who has done more for the people of Norfolk.

11. What do you most love about north Norfolk?

I am a geographer, fascinated with how Norfolk has come to be how it is.

I love the social history, exploring the little known tales of each village and town. Each pub, each village shop, each church; they all have a unique story to tell you