“Not bad for a show in a field”

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Each November and December, the Thursford Christmas Spectacular attracts around 2,000 coaches to a tiny village deep in the heart of rural north Norfolk. Stuart Render met with owner and producer John Cushing, and discovered that his commitment to offering value for money and great entertainment is as important now as it was when the show began 43 years ago

It’s 1977 and the youthful John Cushing is wondering how to draw attention to a steam engine and organ museum that has been set up by his father on the family farm.

Had the museum been in a town or city it probably would have been fairly easy to attract visitors. But the Cushing family farm is in Thursford, a small north Norfolk village that sits just eight miles from the coast, 15 miles from Sheringham, 23 miles from Sandringham House and Hunstanton, and around 25 miles from Norwich. It’s close to some of the UK’s most popular seaside and visitor attractions. But close isn’t enough, and John Cushing is nothing if not adventurous.

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