Meeting Report April 2013

With exciting finds at the Castle Station Dig and events to plan for, it is never a dull moment for this busy group. But first, a big welcome to our youngest and cutest member Jack; who was born earlier this month and many congratulations to his proud parents Howard and Lindsay.

Station Visit
A number of members had been able to take up the kind invitation by WNDC to visit the excavation site in the short-stay carpark at Castle Station. All agree that the visit had been fascinating and were amazed at the quality of the finds especially the late Anglo-Saxon brooch and Stamford Ware glazed earthenware. Many thanks were extended to Tim Upton-Smith, NCC Archaeology, for guiding us round the site and also to Iain from WNDC who arranged the visit and so carefully ensured our safety on the site. The excavation site will be extended as work progresses to encompass the footprint of the new station. It was pleasing to see the high profile that the local media in particularly the local press had given the Dig; and also the reported comments that the finds would be displayed in the new station building when completed.

Jon has put together an informative PowerPoint presentation for use when delivering talks, about Northampton Castle and the work and aims of FONC, to various groups. Indeed, just before Easter, he had given such a talk to an audience of over two hundred members belonging to the University of the Third Age.

This information package will also be the basis for talks, tours and displays at the numerous events FONC is involved in this spring/summer (see below under Events Diary for details and dates). Therefore at the start of this meeting, to refresh members’ memories ahead of the forthcoming events as to why they are keen members of FONC and to provide additional information, Jon gave a truncated version of his talk. He patiently endured the lively interruptions from members giving comments and answered their questions throughout the talk. At the end he was thanked, by all those present, for all his hard work in putting together such a wealth of information.

Events Diary 2013

  • Delapre Abbey Bank holiday weekend 25th, 26th & 27th May
  • Spring Boroughs Residents Association Saturday 15th June
  • Big Dig Introduction Day: Saturday 13th July, Finds Days: Saturday 3rd & 10th August

Umbrella Fair Weekend 17th/ 18th August
Member volunteers to help man these events are still needed, ‘many hands, less work’, and help with transportation of display boards and possibly tables and chairs to some events is needed. The actual times of the events will be given when available.

Delapre Abbey Event
Julia agreed to coordinate this event. She will liaise with Friends of Delapre Abbey (FoDA) and those members of FONC who have volunteered to help; and also Jon who is producing promotional display material. It would be necessary to ascertain the size and facilities allocated for the FONC pitch plus other details before finalising the style and amount of material on display. Marie would pass on to Julia the contact details for FoDA.

Big Dig
John will be meeting with an official in the Borough Council very soon to discuss gaining permission to dig on communal land during the Big Dig period.

2014 Events
Paul and Marie had attended the 2014 Celebration steering group meeting last month. They reported that the Becket anniversary is viewed as being the major event. Paul further reported that with dates set for the Masque Theatre to perform the Anouilh play, Becket for a five day run during the actual week in October 2014 that marks the 850th anniversary of the trial at Northampton Castle, the finer details such as tickets and costing were now being considered. It was agreed that Paul and Marie would continue to liaise on FONC’s behalf with the steering group and associated parties organising events next year.

Marie reported that she had been invited for consultation on a proposed 2014 year long display to mark the events in the foyer of the Central Museum. FONC had previously hosted a month long display on the Castle in the People’s Gallery of the museum in May 2012. She suggested that Paul and Julia should also attend the meeting if they were available on the date to be arranged.

George Row Business Club
Marie & John and Elaine & Paul kindly paid to attend a ticketed dinner at the Town & County Club on George Row, Northampton to network and drum up potential sponsorship for the Becket celebrations. Although no firm offers of support on the night, they raised awareness of FONC’s aims and with a talk to be delivered when a date has been arranged hopefully laid seeds for future support.

STOP PRESS! Marie has been booked to speak on 23/05/2013 at the George Row Business Club about the Castle and the Heritage Gateway.  The event runs from 5.30 till 7.00 and includes a “light bite” for a £10 fee.  The organisers are contactable at or 01604 212258 – if anyone wants to attend.  The organisers have suggested we might want to run a raffle for our own funds and we will consider this when we have an idea of numbers.  

Heritage Gateway Proposal
Although Marie could not report on the outcome following completion of the feasibility study to the meeting, due to an embargo until details have been finalised, she is very optimistic and excited. However, before there is any public announcement the County Council elections will take place on Thursday 2nd May. Therefore, members are encouraged to contact their County Councillor and prospective candidates to seek their support for the Heritage Gateway.

Joe proposed a show of thanks to Marie for all her endeavours in lobbying for the Heritage Gateway Proposal; which was duly given by all present.

Promotional and ID Material
As agreed at the last meeting, identity lanyards and clothing had been purchased for members to wear at events. Members, who had placed an order, were given their FONC logo clothing at the meeting. Spare clothing in a range of sizes is available (polo-shirts; sweat-shirts; and T-shirts) for members yet to place an order. One item will be free of charge for members who volunteer for an active role at events; the cost will be paid for out of FONC funds. All other members will be charged the purchase price of each item chosen. Members are requested to contact Julia with style and size required. Members present at the meeting were also given a FONC lanyard. Joe will distribute membership ID to be attached to the lanyard in due course.

The group was also shown the FONC logo balloons which will be given out at events and the children’s ‘Big Dig 2013’. T-shirts which will be available to buy during events this summer. It was generally agreed that the products were eye-catching and that the supplier, Braunston Printing, had produced work of a high standard.

Joe reported that finances were good. Most of the remaining Community First Funding had now been spent following the recent purchases (see above). He had membership subs and also payments for members clothing to pay into the bank account.
Jon gave Joe a cheque payable to FONC that he had received for his talk to the University of the Third Age.

Date and Venue of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held at 6pm on Friday 10th May at Castle Hill United Reform Church, Doddridge Street, Northampton.

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