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Thetford estate’s first born celebrates his 50th birthday

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A Thetford man who was the first baby born on one of its estates is celebrating his 50th birthday today.

Colin Lee was born on the Abbey Estate on August 31, 1969, at seven pounds four ounces and was delivered by Meryl Barnes – Thetford’s longest-serving midwife at the time.

Talking to Colin in St Albans Way where he grew up, he said: “I just remember playing football on this street with my mates, not many children do that these days.

Colin Lee, who grew up in St Albans Way, Thetford, is celebrating his 50th birthday
Colin Lee, who grew up in St Albans Way, Thetford, is celebrating his 50th birthday

“I think the estate has been given a bad reputation over the years, but it is still a great place to me.”

Colin’s parents, John and Jean Lee, moved to the estate, in November, 1968, from Tottenham, as part of the town’s participation in the Town Expansion Scheme, which brought industry and workers from the capital into the town, with the Abbey Estate opening in June, 1968.

He said: “Mum says when we moved here there were two roads built, St Albans and Ripon Way,

Colin in St Albans Way, Thetford, in 1972.
Colin in St Albans Way, Thetford, in 1972.

“But I remember growing up and watching Monksgate (another estate street) being built –streets went up pretty quickly around here.”

Colin remembers the community spirit too, not only on the estate also but in the town.

He said: “I think it was the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 and we had a big party on the back green and when we moved here in 1968, my parents had neighbours two doors down who were from Tottenham too, every one had a connection.”

Colin said he appreciated Thetford and thought it was a nice place, even if it had a bad name that it did not deserve.

He said: “I think as the town is getting bigger we just need to look at the town centre, it needs improving because not many people use it and that is a big problem.”

Colin, who now lives in Fairfields in the town, went on holiday to Cyprus with his wife Karen to celebrate his birthday, but will be going to the coast this weekend with his wife, his three children – Tina, James and Jordan – son-in-law Mike and grandsons Oliver and Benjamin.