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Young and old keep Lowestoft fishing heritage alive

PUBLISHED: 18:07 08 July 2011

Archant

THE once-mighty Lowestoft fishing fleet may have all but gone.

But the town’s proud seafaring heritage will be spelled out to a new generation of young people, thanks to a pioneering project designed to teach today’s schoolchildren about its rich maritime history.

Last Friday, the cutting of the ceremonial cake marked the official launch of a new interactive website designed by the Young Learners Fishing Heritage Project with the help of lottery funding.

More than 50 guests, including Waveney MP Peter Aldous, attended the special celebratory event at The Aspire Centre at Denes High School, where the youngsters who formed the project’s steering group showcased more than a year’s work involving people aged between seven and 95 from across the Lowestoft area.

The Journal reported on the project in April last year when young people from local schools first joined forces with the aim of compiling a project on Lowestoft’s maritime past. The pupils, guided by Enterprise Lowestoft, successfully secured a Heritage Lottery Young Roots award to produce an interactive programme detailing the story of the fishing industry between the 1920s and 1940s.

“When we first started the project we thought it would be a DVD that could be sent out to local primary schools to be used by them, but as the project progressed we came up with the idea of a website that could be viewed by anybody,” senior steering group member Kacey Baker, 18, told The Journal.

Josh Williamson 16, another senior steering group member, added: “It was a much bigger project than we thought it would ever be.”

The original idea to create an educational DVD came about after the successful Back to the Future Project, which discovered that many local people feared that the town’s heritage was being lost to young people.

In an effort to counter this, the steering group decided it was important to keep the town’s fishing history alive by making it easily accessible to pupils in local primary schools.

After carrying out research, a multi-media package was produced, and then the decision was made to set up the website. This led to video re-enactments being made, and interviews being carried out with local people who had personal memories of the Beach Village or had experienced living and working in Lowestoft during the 1920s to 1940s.

A special card game – The Fish Family – was also devised by eight-year-old Maisie Phillips from Elm Tree Primary School – and copies are being prepared so that local schools will get a free pack. Admitting he was “delighted” with how the project had turned out, its co-ordinator Mike Holroyd, of Enterprise Lowestoft, said: “This has been the ultimate community heritage project – the age range is phenomenal.

“These kids have been brilliant and they’ve all worked really hard putting a lot of time into the project. Kacey and Josh had the opportunity to showcase their work today, from the original ideas to the completion of all their hard work culminating with the interactive website for Primary School Young Learners to work with.”

He added: “I thought it was a great meeting of a lovely mix of old and young to celebrate ‘heritage’ in the way it ought to be celebrated, and to have our youngest pupils involved in the project, Sam and Erin, with the eldest Edie and Wilf, together with Waveney MP Peter Aldous, Josh and Kacey, symbolised the giving of information from the young to old.”

Mr Holroyd said the success of this project had now given rise to hopes for a new one. “We are putting together a Your Heritage bid to try and encourage young people to come forward to become ‘custodians’ of our local heritage – and we need young people to come forward,” he said.

You can view the new fishing heritage website at www.fishingheritage.co.uk/

To find out more about the new project, e-mail lowquest@aol.com”

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