Written and photographed by Ken Amery, 23rd - 24th November 2016
The Social Committee getting into the Christmas Mood
Cromer Pier
Wind, What Wind?
Cafe de Paris, Cromer!
Not a Sign you see everywhere even in Cromer
The Cromer Lifeboat
Stained Glass Window in Cromer Lifeboat Station
Polar Bears at Thursford
More Lights - Thursford
Illuminated Steam Engine - Thursford

Thursford Christmas Spectacular

Wednesday 23rd November dawned bright and clear as thirty-nine of us boarded our coach to Norfolk. This was a trouble free journey, firstly to Newmarket, the home of horse racing, where we stopped for lunch. Our venue was the Best Western Heath Court Hotel, where we were warmly welcomed. Our lunch was a Christmas carvery, followed by dessert and coffee. It was an excellent meal, which everybody seemed to enjoy. Before boarding the coach, some of the party managed to have a brief look round the town centre.

We then resumed our journey to Norwich. Our accommodation for the night was the Wensum Valley Hotel, just outside Norwich. After checking in most of us rejoined the coach for a short visit to Norwich itself. By the time we got there it was dusk, so it was just a quick look round, time for some retail therapy and perhaps a coffee before getting back to the hotel for dinner. Our evening meal was excellent and after a good nights sleep we were ready for the main event, the Christmas Spectacular at Thursford.

However, that came later. Our first stop was a mystery visit to the seaside. There were no points for guessing that Cromer was our destination! It was a windy welcome to the Norfolk coast, but that didn’t stop us exploring the town and some of us even ventured along the pier! This is a lovely well maintained pier with the RNLI lifeboat station at the end. A visit to the station to see the lifeboat was a must. This was the closest that most of us would ever want to get to a lifeboat!

It was then onward to the main event. The Thursford Christmas Spectacular takes place in the Thursford Collection, which houses the world’s largest collection of steam engines and organs. The Spectacular is the brainchild of John Cushing who became Managing Director of the Collection in 1976. He started the Spectacular with just a few singers and it is now in its fortieth year attracting 130,000 people each season. You have to say that the word spectacular doesn’t really do this show justice. Held in the museum itself, with steam engines and carousels moved to the sides, the first thing that greets you is the immense stage and the amazing lights. Once the show begins you are overwhelmed by the music, dancing, costumes and lighting.  The show is a combination of old songs, Christmas songs and carols plus amazing dance routines. I dread to think what you would be paying to see a show of this calibre in the West End. No wonder, so many people come every year. After three hours of brilliance we boarded our coach for the journey home. Already we are being asked ‘ Can we do it again?’ Who knows, watch this space!

Ken Amery

Oliver Gooch