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Milestone society

Nigel's passion for milestone restoration began after writing to the local paper to express his dismay over a milestone being damaged by a flail cutter. This resulted in a phone call from Carol Haines, the Milestone Society representative for Norfolk. Not having previously heard of the society, Nigel was quick to join this national society and threw himself into the work of restoring and protecting Norfolk's neglected milestones, involving the local community as much as possible. He is now a Milestone Society committee member.

A milestone removed for safe keeping to a barn presented an ideal opportunity for the safe involvement of a class of children, from Bawburgh Primary School, to paint the stone. This was the first time children painted a milestone and it proved to be a great success. Since then we have kept to small groups of up to four children and many, including those with special needs, have assisted. Hopefully, this will help the younger generation to develop an interest as they will be the future custodians of our heritage.

At the end of 2011 Nigel's brother, Rodney, suggested he restore another 60 milestones in 2012 in celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. This proved to be a challenging project due to the very wet summer and at times Nigel worked for 12 hours a day - so much for retirement! After an article in the local paper, several people offered to help. This resulted in a few dedicated helpers whose assistance is invaluable. The jubilee project brought about the idea for this book, which has taken considerably longer to complete than anticipated!

Of Norfolk's approximately 350 milestones, about 200 are still needing attention. The aim is to gradually restore all of them while avoiding the inevitable mistakes that have been made during the past few years. Wherever possible we will continue to encourage community participation. The greatest challenge will be the upkeep of the milestones in the years to come to ensure they do not become neglected once again.

Jennifer Ford

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