King's Lynn family facing prejudice as they prepare to move

King's Lynn family facing prejudice as they prepare to move

Published by Local Democracy Reporter David Hannant
2:55pm 3rd September 2019. (Updated at 3:03pm 3rd September 2019)

Robert and Keely Edwards are no different to any married couple.

They work hard to provide for their children and live together as a family.

The Edwards currently live in King's Lynn but have bought a plot of land in Narborough to move to.

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Robert and Keeley are travelling showmen. and dedicate their lives to providing entertainment at fairs, carnivals and other events across the country.

Robert told KLFM that being a travelling showman is a heritage:

"It's passed down. I'm 7th generation and my wife's 6th generation.

"It's something that can't be taught in schools, it's something you're bred into. It is quite a different career to most people but it's something we're born and bred to do. "

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The family spend around 10 months of the year travelling all over the land, providing fairground rides to events such as the Cromer Carnival – including a helter skelter which has been in his family for half a century.

But with this, the couple juggles making sure their three children, Indi, 12, Ocean, five, and 20-month-old Bobby receive the education they need and have somewhere to live when they are not on the road.

Currently, they live with family in King’s Lynn, but as their small family has grown the site has felt smaller, leaving them needing to hunt for a new base.

Robert has bought a plot of land in Narborough since then, Breckland council have received complaints from residents.

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The lifestyle calls for a very specific type of home, which has to fit with a criteria set by The Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain requiring them to be close to education facilities and other amenities, without imposing on existing settlements.

There, the family had hoped to build a life and a home together, where they can base themselves in a static caravan and store the two rides they own while they are not in use.

Mr Edwards, 47, said:

“I've lived in King's Lynn for 20 years and my wife and children have lived in King's Lynn all their lives so we're already local people and have been for some time. 

“The reason I picked Narborough is that it is the perfect location for us, we still have family in both Swaffham and King’s Lynn so we’d be an ideal distance between the two.”

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Mrs Edwards said having a permanent base would allow her and the children to return home during the weeks, even when the family are on the road, to get Ocean, who attends conventional school, as much time in school as possible.

But their proposal has proved contentious in the village, with a number of neighbours already objecting to the scheme.

And Mr Edwards said that copies of the planning notice had been placed elsewhere around the village calling on others to object as well.

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He said:

“I have read some of the comments people have been making and it honestly makes me feel like we are a family of aliens.

"They've stated my fairground vehicles are too big for this small village yet they have no problem with us driving through their village when we attend the Narborough Village fair and the adjoining village of Marham, we also attend their fun day and the people have no problem when their children are being entertained on our fun fair rides

"We're just one family that want to come and live in the village just the same as anyone moving house there."

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The family can't understand why people are suddenly fearing them as they're local people. 12-year-old Indi said:

"I don't understand why they're making these comments because they don't know who we are and they're just scared of the unknown."

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