HOW IT STARTED
It started as a sheet of A4 paper cranked out on a Gestetner printer in Clover Hill Village Hall in 1977. The first residents of the new Bowthorpe were beginning to move in, and three live-wires decided to produce a monthly newsletter to help put some heart into the fledgling community. Jim Butcher, together with Graham the Newsagent started it, and Jim’s Butcheresque jokes are still a byword. They soon asked Rev. Ray Simpson, Bowthorpe’s founding church minister, to become editor. It was to be a community magazine.
More and more people moved in, and every home received a free copy of ‘Clover Hill News’ as it was then called. Costs were covered by advertisers keen to make themselves known to this burgeoning population. A retired headmaster, Robert Bourke, became treasurer. Another new resident, one whose previous home had been the Norwich Night Shelter, took on the printing. An unsung hero, he doggedly rotated the handle of the Gestetner hour upon hour to roll out the copies, coping with ink problems, tedium and deadlines.
As the ‘Letter’ turned into a bunch of sheets, a team of volunteers met in The Open Door and in the Village Hall to collate and staple them together, and to bundle them up for delivery in each road. People offered to deliver in their own streets.
By the early 1980’s Clover Hill housed around 4,000 people, and Bowthorpe’s second village of Chapel Break was underway. ‘Clover Hill Newsletter’ was turning into an A5 booklet called ‘Clover Hill and Chapel Break News’ – often just known as ’The Magazine’. Additional teams of volunteers met in Chapel Break Village Hall to oversee delivery in their village. By now the printing was being done by Tony Lyon, a retired printer, in his garden shed in East Tilney.
By the new millennium Bowthorpe’s third village was being developed: Three Score. The Magazine became ‘Bowthorpe News’. The Editor was provided with a laptop computer by the Bowthorpe Community Partnership, and the presentation of the mag. took a step forward. A Three Score Team began to grow.
Ten years later, in 2010, the circulation of Bowthorpe News had risen to 3,650, over 120 residents were volunteering their help each month, and Pride Press had become well established as the Printers. A donation from Roys of Bowthorpe through their Making-a-Difference-Locally scheme helped provide a new laptop. Norwich City Council’s Participatory Budgeting project financed the IT equipment and other expenses of setting up a website. The first electronic copy of Bowthorpe News was ready for the September 2010 issue, and by December 2010 editions could be viewed online. The delivery of a hard copy to each home will continue.
BOWTHORPE NEWS – WHAT IT’S FOR
- To foster community spirit
- To inform local people about local events, facilities, clubs, groups
- To report on matters of interest or concern
- To build people’s confidence and creativity by giving them a voice
- To provide food for thought