Q&A: Richard Batson, former North Norfolk News editor.
In our latest Q&A with a well-known Cromer character, we speak to Richard Batson, former North Norfolk News editor.
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1) How would you best describe what you do in Cromer?
Less than I used to! After 40 years as a journalist with the EDP and 23 running its Cromer office and editing North Norfolk News I have switched to a PR role elsewhere and just enjoy visiting the town and keeping in touch with the people.
2) Where is home?
Southrepps, where I have lived since 1992. But I am Norwich boy by birth (and accent), and “half Geordie” with most of my family all from North of the Tyne. But it means following the Canaries and Magpies can make the football season a stressful time.
3) What’s your earliest Cromer memory?
Visiting as a lad on train trips from Norwich (my parents didn’t have a car) and running through the seafront sunken gardens thinking the little stream was brilliant and the size of the Zambezi. Later as a gangling student I was pictured next to Henry Blogg’s statue overlooking the sea. Dodgy longish Paul Weller style hair. Me not Henry.
4) What is your favourite Cromer pub?
The Red Lion Hotel. Great beer. Fab food. Sea views. Buzzy atmosphere. It has been the venue for many an EDP staff ‘leaving do’ and now reunions.
5) Which shops do you rely on?
Randalls electrical, where knowledgeable staff can sort out your needs. And I used to be a regular at Dudley’s bakery in Tucker Street, purveyors of fine breads and pies. Absence has made the heart grow stronger but the waist grow thinner.
6) What’s the best meal you’ve had in Cromer?
Many a crab a salad close to where the delicacy came ashore. But there’s no better start to the day than the poached egg and mushroom on toast at the Rocket House café, with its stunning sea views as the side dish to also be savoured.
7) If you could buy any building in Cromer, what would it be?
Any of the quaint little Victorian cottages on the Gangway leading down to the sea - or the pier (venue for some of my most memorable times In the town) providing I didn’t have to pick up the maintenance bill.
8) What would you do if you were mayor for the day?
Sort out the traffic system and parking which used to be the bane of my life, especially in the summer when you are trying to get in and out to work.
9) Who’s your hero?
Clichéd, but it has to be legendary lifeboatman Henry Blogg and his contemporaries, who had to row out to sea before even setting about their rescue. Men of steel.
10) What do you most love about Cromer?
Its vibe as an unpretentious, honest, seaside resort steeped in tradition, exemplified by the pier and its unique variety show. The town has not yet been (and hopefully never will be) tainted by the gentrification sweeping some parts of north Norfolk.