Meeting Report March 2013

Our small working group’s diary for the spring and summer is filling up. As well as our own Big Dig event, FONC has been invited to take part in a number of events being held around the town. Therefore members, it is all hands on deck; please take note of dates and, if not done so already, notify Marie when you will be available for active duty!

This month it was a brisk ‘belt and braces’ meeting. Apologies were received from Philip.

Events Diary

Marie gave an outline and dates of events that FONC has been invited to participate in; plus the finalised dates for the Big Dig. Notice of actual times has not yet been clarified.

  • 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

Ian Bates from the Umbrella Fair Organisation came along to the meeting and gave a potted history of achievements to date of his group of volunteers whose aim is to generate community co-operation and interest in local environmental issues in and around the Northampton Racecourse area. Their two day annual summer free music and arts festival which is held on the Racecourse attracted over 25,000 visitors last year. This year they planned to have a local history marquee and were in the process of inviting local history groups to exhibit. The view of those present at the meeting was that this was an ideal opportunity for FONC promotion to a wide audience. Ian was thanked for taking the time to personally address the meeting.

Sign Up Now

There then followed a discussion on the logistics of supporting the above events. Marie invited those members present to sign up on a planner which events they would be available for as volunteers. Members who were not present at the meeting are urged to contact Marie as soon as possible to sign up for volunteering.

Transportation of display boards and possibly tables and chairs to some events would be required. Again offers of help as soon as possible by anyone with suitable transport would be most welcome.

Big Dig

The time frame for the Big Dig has now been confirmed; starting with the Introduction Day on July 13th and ending with the two Finds Days 3rd & 10th August.

John will contact the Borough Council to seek permission to dig on communal land.

George Row Business Club

FONC had received an invitation to attend a ticketed dinner to be held on 21 st March at the Town & County Club on George Row, Northampton. Marie & John and Elaine & Paul kindly offered to purchase tickets for the dinner so that they could attend with a view to network and drum up potential sponsorship for the Becket celebrations. The club had also invited FONC to give a talk in the near future.


A number of talks to groups have been arranged. Jon is currently putting together an informative PowerPoint presentation to assist delivery of FONC talks.

Heritage Gateway Proposal

Marie has seen a restricted preview report by the consultants undertaking the feasibility study on the Heritage Gateway Proposal. Five or six options, ranging from ambitious big impact plans to minimalist outlay, will be presented to local leaders for their consideration. It will be their decision on commitment of funds and release of land that would influence the final design. Information should be released by the next meeting.

St. Thomas Becket Anniversary Celebration

Paul reported that the Masque Theatre would perform the Anouilh play, Becket for a five day run commencing 13th October 2014 to mark the 850th anniversary of the trial at Northampton Castle.

Other events, centred on St. Peter’s and around the castle heritage area, are also envisaged to celebrate the anniversary next year.

The next meeting of the 2014 Celebration steering group is to be held on Wednesday 27th March.

Saxon Brooch

It has been confirmed that Network Rail is the legal owner of the Saxon brooch found in the archaeological exploratory trench dug last October in the railway carpark. County Archaeology has the brooch at present. WNDC is happy to negotiate on behalf of FONC to use an image of the brooch for promotional purposes.

Promotional Material

Julia showed samples of designs for lanyards; t-shirts and balloons using the FONC logo. It was decided that identity lanyards and t-shirts would be purchased for members to be worn at events. Members are requested to contact Julia with size required. T-shirts 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 who order a t-shirt will be charged the purchase price. Balloons would be purchased for promotional use. Julia was also directed to obtain costing for children’s ‘Big Dig 2013’ t-shirts for sale during the Big Dig this summer.

Date and Venue of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held at 6pm on Friday 12th April at Castle Hill United Reform Church, Doddridge Street, Northampton.

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