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Thetford v Cambridge in battle to be 'punting capital of the world'

PUBLISHED: 11:49 01 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:11 01 November 2019

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

Joe Cunnell

A Norfolk town has hopes of competing with Cambridge to become the "punting capital of the world".

One of Thetford's new punts which should be out on the water by spring. Photo: Photo: Joe CunnelOne of Thetford's new punts which should be out on the water by spring. Photo: Photo: Joe Cunnel

Thetford is now the home of two punts, which are large flat-bottomed boats propelled with a long pole, and they will be ferrying the community, and visitors to the town, around its river as of spring.

Paul Norris, aka Chuck, founder of Bush Adventures and Roy Brame, Thetford Town Councillor, have been instrumental in this project and saw the arrival of the boats on Wednesday, October 30 - which they say will be a great addition to the town.

Mr Brame said: "Thetford's river is a lifeline running through the town which we need to utilise.

"Over the last year Bush Adventures have introduced paddle boarding and canoes and now I would like to see Thetford and Cambridge become the punting capitals of the world.

(From left to right) Karen Brame, 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) Karen Brame, 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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"The boats need some work, but they should be out on the water by spring. It's a lovely stretch of river and I have big dreams for it."

Both of the punts seat 12 people, and there are also plans to build a landing stage jetty which will help to facilitate those with disabilities.

Chuck said: "Everyone should be outdoors to improve their mental health. There are a lot of people who are socially isolated, including the elderly and vulnerable adults and 40% of Thetford don't have a car. It gives everyone the opportunity to see Thetford from a different view.

"It's a stunning location and we need to have more adventures and outdoor activities. Three years ago the river had zero use but now we are really starting to utilise it."

The town is currently looking for volunteers to train to use the boats, so they can keep costs to a minimum and make it an affordable activity for everyone.

Mr Brame added: "We are looking for volunteers who would like to learn how to punt as a way to cut cost so we don't have to charge a lot to use them, and we would like it to be free for those who are disabled.

"I have already put my name down to learn so I can also do some volunteering. I have had many lovely afternoons in Cambridge on the river and I hope we can do the same in Thetford."

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