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Weekend of Olympic fun across Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 08:00 26 July 2010 | UPDATED: 21:58 01 August 2010

Deema Al-Naimi, 6, has a go on an Ergo kayak simulator at the Chapelfield Olympic Weekend

Deema Al-Naimi, 6, has a go on an Ergo kayak simulator at the Chapelfield Olympic Weekend

David Bale

Communities across the region started the two-year countdown to the Olympics with a feast of events.

The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad campaign 'Discovering Places' was also launched in the east of England to encourage communities to explore the hidden gems on their doorstep.

Communities across the region started the two-year countdown to the Olympics with a feast of events.

The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad campaign 'Discovering Places' was also launched in the east of England to encourage communities to explore the hidden gems on their doorstep.

Events had started in Hethersett, near Norwich, after Sir Keith Mills, the deputy chairman of the London 2012 organising committee, singled it out as the launch pad for the region's weekend of activities because the village had organised more public events per head of its population then anywhere else in the UK.

And across Norfolk and north Suffolk the weekend was packed with ideas and activities to encourage people to get involved in sport before 2012.

In Norwich activities included everything from kayaking, rowing and triathlon to hula hooping and belly dancing. Visitors could also take part in the Norwich 12 Challenge and follow clues to discover 1,000 years of city history while also getting some exercise.

Claire Gulliver, Norfolk County Council 2012 officer, said 26 events took place in the county over the weekend.

She said: “Clubs, groups and organisations were encouraged to hold their own events, with each set-ting people challenges to overcome.

“The aim is to get more people involved in sport and culture before the Olympics, and to tell people that it's not just London that is going to benefit, but other areas as well. It's also about getting people to try new things so that the legacy of the Olympics lasts after the games.”

Other events in Norwich included Barbershopera II, at the Playhouse, and at Norwich Castle Museum there was an Olympiad 'artathon' where participants could join the queue to help make the longest bus ticket.

The weekend also saw a range of events at the Norwich Big Screen at Chapelfield Plain, while two action-packed days of skateboarding and BMX were held at the new Norwich Skate Park.

Norwich Puppet Theatre also hosted the first public performance of the Chalk Giants, ahead of its international premiere at the Edinburgh Festival, and would-be artists in the city created a graffiti wall at the Millennium Library.

North Walsham, Sheringham and Harleston libraries hosted Space Hop, a summer reading game for children, with families in Harleston challenged to build the biggest and best spaceship out of newspaper.

There was a four-sport challenge at Whitlingham Outdoor Education Centre, near Norwich, and a drop-in ses-sion where visitors could create their own ocean scene and find out about what lives under the Wash, at the Green Quay in King's Lynn.

Breckland Council joined Creative Arts East to offer the chance to watch memorable theatre across the district. Voluntary promoting groups will host regional and national theatre companies, performing shows for all ages.

A Holkham beach clean and recycled-art event was held in north Norfolk, and there was fun and games on Lowestoft seafront, with a main arena showcasing events headlined by the Waveney Gymastics Club, and a side arena featuring a dog show and other stalls and attractions.

Events also included a cycle ride run by Beccles Cycle Strategy for families to find clues, discover facts and win a prize and the Broads Authority's Picnic in the Park, where people celebrated the special landscape and wildlife of the Broads.

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