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Paddle boarding and punting could be introduced on town’s river this summer

PUBLISHED: 08:38 15 May 2020 | UPDATED: 09:46 21 May 2020

Paul 'Chuck' Norris, of Bush Adventures Uk, paddle boarding on the river in Thetford with our reporter Emily Thomson Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Paul 'Chuck' Norris, of Bush Adventures Uk, paddle boarding on the river in Thetford with our reporter Emily Thomson Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Paddle boarding, canoeing and punting is still set to be launched on a town’s river this summer, as organisers say getting people outdoors will be “crucial for mental health” following the coronavirus pandemic.

Millie enjoying paddle boarding with her owner, Paul 'Chuck' Norris, of Bush Adventures Uk, on the river in Thetford. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYMillie enjoying paddle boarding with her owner, Paul 'Chuck' Norris, of Bush Adventures Uk, on the river in Thetford. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Keystone Development Trust have lodged plans with Breckland Council for the build of a water sports storage unit, changing area and teaching space, as part of plans to utilise Thetford’s river.

The boathouse, funded by The Brecks Fen Edge and River Landscape Partnership Scheme, will be located in the garden of the Riversdale Centre, owned by the Keystone Community Trust.

And plans for a landing jetty, to help those less abled or with disabilities get onto the water, is set to follow.

In the planning documents it states: “Few pastimes restore the body and soul like spending time in nature.

(From left to right) Roz Barnett, deputy town clerk, Paul Norris aka Chuck from Bush Adventures, and Roy Brame, Thetford Town Councillor with the town's new punt. Photo: Joe Cunnell(From left to right) Roz Barnett, deputy town clerk, Paul Norris aka Chuck from Bush Adventures, and Roy Brame, Thetford Town Councillor with the town's new punt. Photo: Joe Cunnell

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“Research has confirmed that being outside does more than just lift your spirits, it also provides a boost for your physical and mental well-being.

“The objective is to bring back some of the previously important focus of Thetford’s relationship with the river, bringing back the “Thetford as a Spa Town” with specific objectives of increasing the physical and mental well-being of residents in the town by a multitude of river based activities.

“The wider community and visitors to Thetford will be able to access water-based activity as a hire centre to generate income and boost the tourism economy of the area.”

Reporter Emily Thomson joins Paul 'Chuck' Norris, centre, of Bush Adventures Uk, and Sean Ready, of the Thetford River Group, paddle boarding and canoeing on the river in Thetford, as Bush Adventures UK aim to get people using the river more.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYReporter Emily Thomson joins Paul 'Chuck' Norris, centre, of Bush Adventures Uk, and Sean Ready, of the Thetford River Group, paddle boarding and canoeing on the river in Thetford, as Bush Adventures UK aim to get people using the river more. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The day-to-day running of the hub will be carried out by Bush Adventures, a community interest company using the outdoors to improve mental well-being, and its founder Paul Norris, aka, Chuck, hopes it will all be up and running by July.

Chuck said: “It’s three years in the making, of hard work and commitment and we are really looking forward to the launch and getting it going because it is something, we truly believe Thetford needs.

“The pandemic has made people realise just how much the outdoors is crucial for mental health and we want to captivate that and support the community once this is over.

“If lockdown allows us to move plans forward, we should be ready to get people out in the water in July.”


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