Memoirs of historic Suffolk town provide funding boost for museum

96-year-old Margaret Taylor being interviewed by Paul Heiney of her memories of Orford for a DVD bei

96-year-old Margaret Taylor being interviewed by Paul Heiney of her memories of Orford for a DVD being made for the Orford Museum. - Credit: Archant

An east Suffolk museum is to get a funding boost thanks to the efforts of one resident who has captured her memoirs of Orford on DVD.

Orford Girl sees 96-year-old Margaret Taylor, who now lives in Wickham Market, sharing her stories of growing up in the town, covering its many businesses to the characters - including town cryer Sam Smy, proprietor of the Jolly Sailors Steve Harper, Dr Baron and tailor Lou Anderson - that made it such a wonderful place to live.

Brought up in Orford from the age of one, Mrs Taylor lived with her mother and father, who ran a string of retail stores in the village with her uncle and her brother, Geoffery Pike.

BBC broadcaster Paul Heiney conducted an interview on which to base the DVD from Mrs Taylor’s home in August after being approached by her son, Peter Taylor.

The production was filmed and edited by family friend Mike Brookes.

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“Because Paul and Mike gave their time completely free, we can give all of the profit to Orford Museum,” said Mr Taylor. “Mike has done extraordinarily well. He has incorporated most, if not all, of the photos of my mum back in the ‘20s.

“We were able to do this as my mother has got such a crystal clear memory of what everything was like back then.

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“Orford is a pretty unique place, that’s the beauty of it.

“It’s important that people in places like Orford are aware of the extraordinary wealth of history that they have, and they should not be afraid to come forward to tell it.”

Speaking from Wickham Market in August, Mr Heiney said: “It’s important that peoples’ stories are preserved, they are incredibly valuable.

“What Mrs Taylor has said in 15 years’ time is going to be like gold to researchers.

“She has memories of Orford that no-one else will have.”

Chairwoman of the Orford Museum, Elizabeth Spinney, said the funds would be invaluable to the museum.

“We are most grateful to Peter and Margaret,” she said. “We are totally voluntary, we have no government funding, so everything is done by our fundraising and people giving us donations. We are so grateful.”

Orford Girl is available from the Orford Museum Trust for £10, or from Browsers Bookshop, Woodbridge, for £10.99. All profits will be donated to the museum.

Mr Taylor has since revealed plans to write a book with his mother to raise further funds for the museum.

To reserve a copy of Orford Girl, call Mrs Spinney on (01394) 450622.

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