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‘We Love Bury St Edmunds’ Facebook group celebrates a year of success

PUBLISHED: 20:29 18 January 2017

The We Love Bury St Edmunds supporters photo bomb the statue of St Edmund celebrating over a year since the group was born - founder James Sheen

The We Love Bury St Edmunds supporters photo bomb the statue of St Edmund celebrating over a year since the group was born - founder James Sheen

Archant

Andy Abbott reports on how Facebook group “We Love Bury St Edmunds” has brought thousands of people together from across the globe.

The We Love Bury St Edmunds supporters photo bomb the statue of St Edmund and locations by the cathedral celebrating over a year since the group was born.The We Love Bury St Edmunds supporters photo bomb the statue of St Edmund and locations by the cathedral celebrating over a year since the group was born.

The group was set up in December 2015 to reconnect lost friends. This has happened through a process called collective community memory. The first 13,000 members are all connected as they are friends of friends already in the group. We have estimated the degrees of separation between these members is about two degrees as opposed to the world view of six. The very fact that we are all friends, and that we have the town of Bury St Edmunds in common massively increases the chances that you will know a lot of the people here.

The group members do not share family photos, but share memories and photos of time past relating to the town. This triggers other people’s memories, and then, as you read through people’s comments, you may see a name you recognise, and this is what triggers the reconnecting.

I have heard many stories of friends reconnecting in this way, and not only reconnecting, but also making new connections and making new friends.

Every two weeks we have a social evening at one of the local pubs, where any of the members are welcome. Invariably people who come find another connection, or if not, they certainly have a lot of fun and make new friends.

The ‘Photo Bomb The King’ was first performed on January 17, 2016, when the group was just 30 days old, yet we had reached 9,000 members. We wanted to recreate the fun of that day, which we did on Saturday and the pictures from that event are featured today. We even had our Mayor Julia Wakelam taking part, who is an ardent follower of the group.

The group continues to grow and also brings together people who have moved away from Bury St Edmunds, yet now feel more connected to the town. Members are active in Canada, United States, New Zealand, Australia, and Spain; in fact it’s hard to say which countries do not have a member of our group.

We are very proud to live in such a wonderful town and we know that Bury St Edmunds is a very special place for a lot of people not only here but further afield too. We are also proud to be able to showcase our town Bury St Edmunds, proving that it really is somewhere truly unique and special.

“We Love Bury St Edmunds!” is now also working alongside North Court Care Home, and the revamped West Suffolk Hospital charity WiSH, to bring greater awareness of these charities to the group, and to inspire people in the group to support them.

To visit the group see here

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