This time yesterday it was perhaps best known nationally as the setting for classic TV series Dad's Army.

But Thetford now has a new claim to fame as the base of incoming prime minister Liz Truss.

So how do people in her constituency's largest town feel about its rapid rise in profile, and do they expect her new role will lead to any local changes?

Thetford & Brandon Times: Jennifer BullockJennifer Bullock (Image: George Thompson)


Jennifer Bullock, 77, a former Labour councillor and mayor, said: "It could give people another reason to come here.

"The town is not just Dad’s Army, there’s more than that. We’ve got Thomas Paine [the political thinker who helped inspire the American Revolution], we’ve got Charles Burrell [the pioneering steam engine firm] - there’s a lot here for people to see.

"Her offices are here so she could help attract more tourists and showcase it."

Despite their different political outlooks, Ms Bullock said it was important to give Ms Truss a chance.

“We are in difficult times, people need support, she might surprise me.

“It’s been a long time since we had a Norfolk PM and while she doesn’t come across well when she talks to people she might do the job properly.”

Thetford & Brandon Times: Sophie WillisSophie Willis (Image: George Thompson)


Sophie Willis said she hoped that Ms Truss might bring foreign dignitaries to visit the area, as Tony Blair once took George W Bush on a tour of his Sedgefield constituency.

“I would love to see Joe Biden come down here," she said.

“It would be really interesting to have those kinds of important people from overseas come here. It will bring more attention to Norfolk as a place to visit.

“We haven’t had a PM from Norfolk in a long time so it’s a big deal for people."

The national and international interest in the town has seen television reporters and foreign journalists spending time in the area, trying to find out more about Ms Truss' Norfolk background.

In another sign of the town's growing political prominence, Ms Willis was in the centre to take part in a protest, organised by the Every Minute Counts campaign group, calling for Ms Truss to do more to tackle global issues like infectious diseases, including AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

“We have been out knocking on doors and it has been a mixed bag whether people think she has been representing her constituency.”

Thetford & Brandon Times: Adam BrownAdam Brown (Image: George Thompson)


Certainly, Adam Brown, 46, is so far unconvinced.

“I don’t know how much she cares about Thetford.”

He said the town was in need of serious investment, having suffered from shop closures and issues like graffiti.

He hoped that having a PM who represented a medium-sized town in a rural area might help to address wider issues that affected such communities.

“If you look and around Thetford and other towns in the UK, they’re all the same - it’s Greggs and charity shops. There doesn’t seem to be enough support for small businesses.

“It would be brilliant to see her doing something for the town. Thetford has so many wonderful people in it, it just needs an injection of luck.

“The high street is just all boarded up shops, it needs to be known for more than just Dad’s Army."

Thetford & Brandon Times: Mike BealsMike Beals (Image: George Thompson)


Mike Beals, 69, is a lorry driver and former owner of a Thetford milk business. He said: “To be honest I don’t know much about her. I never saw her until it was election time.”

“She should help put the town on the map but as soon as people get into Westminster they forget where they have come from.”

Mr Beals said he wanted to see more support for local people and businesses, especially measures which might help the local market which has dwindled in recent years.

Thetford & Brandon Times: Chris DonisthorpeChris Donisthorpe (Image: George Thompson)


Chris Donisthorpe, 69, said: “Liz Truss came to Thetford several years ago when she was not well known and she had plenty of time to speak to me.

“I think lately she has said the same, she wants to listen to people. I’m pleased to see that she has got in.

“It would be nice if she could bring some more shops to Thetford there’s quite a few closed down and it would be nice to see them reopen.

“But I have been here for 21 years so it can’t be that bad.”