How to get involved with Beccles Charter Weekend

Groups gather at the official launch of the Beccles Charter Weekend 2016. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Groups gather at the official launch of the Beccles Charter Weekend 2016. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Excitement is building in Beccles ahead of Charter Weekend, which will celebrate the town and showcase its past, present and future.

Taking place on July 2 and 3, chosen as it is the closest weekend to the date of the original granting of the charter by Queen Elizabeth I, the weekend will include live music, waterside and waterborne events, exhibitions, open gardens and ‘secret spaces’ as well as an opportunity to travel between events along the river or on a horse drawn coach.

Beccles mayor Hugh Taylor said: “Charter Weekend 2016 is intended to build on Charter Weekends 2014 and 2015, despite the atrocious weather on the Sunday last year which included the memorable sight of 10 bagpipers and drummers parading in the pouring rain along the river, and offers the opportunity to any interested individuals or groups to showcase their interests.

“Based on the three ‘hubs’ at Hipperson’s Yard, St Michael’s and the museum, Charter Weekend will offer something for everyone and a chance to celebrate and enjoy just some of the sight and experience which Beccles can offer its residents and visitors alike.”

Hippersons Boatyard on Gillingham Dam will host the riverside events, with events for all the family, including a close up look at a Second World War Torpedo boat, the Waveney Stardust II trip boat for the less able, a restored Norfolk Wherry, a steam-powered launch and a restored beach-launched lifeboat. Anyone interested in being part of the riverside aspects of Charter Weekend should email

There will also be live music at each venue to showcase local musicians and singers of all ages, as well as refreshments.

St Michael’s Church will host a youth music showcase on July 2 from 1pm to 4pm, with local buskers appearing at a family-friendly event at Hipperson’s Boatyard.

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Anyone interested in performing should email All donations raised through live music will be given to local charities and voluntary groups.

The church will also host a smocking exhibition, held by the smocking branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild, a selection of prints by members of Beccles Camera Club and a display of postcards celebrating the reign of the Queen to mark her 90th birthday year.

Beccles Museum will be open from 11am until 4.30pm on both days with a special temporary exhibition commemorating the First World War, focussing on Beccles and the war effort in 1916. Entry is free but donations are appreciated.

The museum will also be the main sales office for Beccles Open Gardens over the Charter Weekend. From 11am to 5pm on both days about 25 gardens will be open to the public, with the chance to view some of the smaller, secret gardens in historic Beccles.

Tickets for the garden trail, which cost £5 per adult and are valid for the whole weekend with accompanied under 16s free, can be bought from the museum on both days between 11am and 4pm and can also be requested in advance. Proceeds will be donated to the Beccles branch of the NSPCC.

Secretary of the Beccles Open Gardens Terry O’Brien said: “We’ve got competition and quizzes to encourage people to visit as many of the gardens as they can.

“And if anyone else is interested in opening their gardens we would be delighted to hear from them.”

Anyone who would like to take part and open their garden should email