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24 September 2014

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Boats setting sail from King's Lynn
Setting sail from King's Lynn

Northenders: A voyage of discovery

The history of the North End of King's Lynn has been remembered in a film thanks to the help of local children. Featuring recreations of the town's traditional days, the project proved an eye-opener for everyone involved.

The North End, in King's Lynn, had a number of well-known fishing families, among them the Buntings.

As a youngster Rob Bunting loved going out fishing with his father and uncle.

Rob is one of the people who now helps to run the North Lynn Discovery Centre. When he decided to get involved with a film-making project he enlisted the help of local children.

Broaden horizons

The North Lynn Discovery Centre on Columbia Way is only a few hundred yards from Lynn's North End fishing community.

As well as the sports hall, café and meeting space, the centre has a sound and recording studio.

The aim of the centre is to broaden the experience of youngsters.

Robert was keen to investigate the history of fishing and the North End, and engage a new generation of Lynn youngsters with their past.

North Ender

Rob Bunting
Rob Bunting enjoyed the experience

"As long as I can remember I have been in contact with the King's Lynn fisher fleet and the North End people," said Rob

"I am a Bunting, part of the North End fisher folk. Like them I am fiercely proud of my heritage, always proud to say 'I'm a Northender not a North Lynner'," he added.

Rob was asked to lead the Northenders history project which was an idea thought up by Jimmy Yallop. It wasn't long before he started to reminisce about his childhood.

"I remembered going down below with my dad and my uncle Chuck on the Shamrock. The smell down in the hold was almost suffocating, and the noise of the engine deafening," he said.

"I remembered old Jack Garford, who used to swing me around in circles over the stage and threaten to throw a pail of water over me.

"I used to spend hours in North End yard at my granddad's. His nickname was Farve but his real name was Wilfred or Bill. He too was a fisherman as was his dad and his before him.

"I made notes of it all, my memories and the tales I had heard growing up," he added.

Help from locals

Rob discussed the ideas for the film with Simon Elliot from Sub-Urban music. Simon is in charge of the sound studio at the Discovery Centre and is Rob's fellow project leader.

Rob's daughter Poppy
Poppy eventually agreed to take part

Rob and Simon had lots of help from locals with the film. The scripts were written by the children taking part, with assistance from Rob.

The job of tracking down the clothing fell to Rob's daughter Poppy and his wife Tina. Rick Pearman was responsible for prop making and general help.

Rob's daughter Poppy also helped with the scripts and read the links in the film.

"I was interested in the fishing bit because it's our family history but I didn't really want a major part," she said.

"I have always been really proud of being connected to the fishing community and so I got a lot out of the project.

"It was really good learning more about the Northenders and gaining an insight into my ancestors' lives. It was also great to be learning with my dad," she said.

Fond memories

Amber played one of the children in the film.

"One day I came to the Discovery Centre and was asked if I wanted to take part in a film about the local fishing community.

Amber took part in the film
Amber was filmed eating dinner

"I learnt about what the fishermen did and also about how their families lived. I enjoyed it all, especially the question and answers part," she said.

The film was completed in 10 weeks and Rob is really pleased with it.

"It has been well received by all who have watched it," said Rob.

"The children who took part had great fun dressing up and acting. They gained an insight into their local social history and they learnt a lot that could not be found in books.

"As for me, it was a chance to rekindle fond memories, a chance to bond with my daughter Poppy and explore our family history together.

"Most importantly it was a chance to offer this generation of youngsters a glimpse into what was, and still is, an important part of King's Lynn history," he added.

last updated: 25/05/07
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