Special cake to mark tour guide’s 80th birthday

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A special 80th anniversary cake was cut by the Society’s honorary life vice-president Richard Barham on the season’s final Norfolk Church Tour.

The fruit cake was decorated with the date of his birthday, July 17 1942. A number of “badges” in blue icing recorded that a pint of beer cost 1p (about tuppence-ha’penny; a pint of mild would have been 2d or tuppence during the second world war) and a loaf of bread was also the same price, 1p. In that year, Winston Churchill was Prime Minister.

Mr Barham was also given an ultra large birthday card, which had been signed by all those visiting the four churches – Southburgh, Woodrising, Cranworth and Shipdham.

He was especially pleased to be at Cranworth on the latest tour, which had been postponed from 2020 because of the covid-19 epidemic.

In his research into his ancestors, he had traced his family’s origins back to before 1800. A great-great grandparent John Barham had been baptised at St Mary in 1793, he said.

As he told members of the tour party with his description of the interior of the church. An ancestor had been baptised in the very font – complete with its lead basin – in 1793.

Mr Barham, who was the Society’s long-serving treasurer until 2017, when he stood down and was subsequently elected an honorary life vice president.

For more two decades, he has shared the task with the secretary ‘Lyn Stilgoe, of giving guided tours to members of the Society and also for the Norfolk Church Tours.

His wife, Pauline had brought the rich fruit cake for the tea, which had been steeped in spirits and was very tasty indeed.