The Bowthorpe Sentinel

Bowthorpe Sentinel

Hello to ALL,

Driving, or at times walking or jogging along Chapel Break Road Bowthorpe, my attention has been drawn to a huge piece of machinery at the back of Thompson’s Packaging. In autumn and winter when the trees are bare it is most visible and resembles a huge silver and blue robot. I’ve come to think of it as, ‘The Bowthorpe Sentinel,’ a guardian. It often makes me ask (its industrial purpose aside) what, or even who it is, what does it do. It reminds me of Richard Hughes Iron Man, or even Roald Dahl’s BFG. 

It deserves to be written about.       

Bowthorpe Sentinel

As a local Councillor (also as a teacher by profession), we have been discussing a possible writing project, a Covid buster if you like, open to local children. 

The idea is to provide a motivational reason to think and write creatively. You may be familiar with BBC Radio 2 and their 500 words or less children’s writing competition. This is something on a smaller scale and we would like to use your piece of industrial plant. ‘The Bowthorpe Sentinel,’ seems the ideal starting point or stimulus.

We are hoping that through their writing children will be able to say who or what the Sentinel is, what it does… perhaps it is a protector, a guardian for Bowthorpe? What is its name? What adventures does it have? Think in terms of Richard Hughes, ‘The Iron Man,’ or Roald Dahl’s, ‘BFG.’

Our intention is to guage the success of this local event and use it to launch a wider event for children of Norwich (and Norfolk) focused on the City Hall lions or The Mayor’s Hat. Perhaps even make an annual or bi-annual writing event.

Bowthorpe Sentinel

Our writing competition outline is this:

For Children

To children in first, junior and primary schools,

While this is directed to children in Bowthorpe, Earlham and Costessey as many will have passed by The Bowthorpe Sentinel on a number of occasions, but not exclusively so. Wherever you are in the City or County if this captures your imagination then that is the important thing. This is intended to be an activity for fun and enjoyment, with three prizes of equal value in each of the three cohorts.

Are you aware of, ‘The Bowthorpe Sentinel?’ A tall robot like piece of industrial equipment that can be seen from Chapel Break Rd.

“Who or what is, ‘The Bowthorpe Sentinel?’ It appears to be a wonderful robot, a visiting friendly alien space craft, or time machine from 3021? It is in the middle of Bowthorpe. It is there, you can see it! What does it do? Why is it there? What adventures does it have? Does it have a name?

Write and tell us about it:

  • Upper KS2 - upto 500 words
  • Lower KS2 - upto 300 words
  • Reception - KS1 An illustrative piece and or a shorter piece of writing, with appropriate adult help.

Your entry can be handwritten, as neatly as you can, or typed on A4 size paper. Illustrative pieces can be on A4 or A3 size paper.

We are nominating Monday March 1st as a start date with completed entries received by Wednesday 31st of March. We are hoping to put a small display in Roy’s of Bowthorpe including photographs;  and have contacted  Jarrold’s to see if they will sponsor by way of book tokens… Which I’m sure they will.

Note to parents and care givers.

The intention is to make this an activity  to break the Covid ‘gloom’ of ‘lockdown’  breaking activity and to help both parents and schools, which is why we want to launch a writing competition for children. Children attending school or home schooled are welcome to take part.

We ask that parents and care givers attach a dated note attesting that the work has been completed by the named child.

Include the name and age of your child and the cohort in which they submit their work (R-KS1, Lower KS2, Upper KS2) and a contact address.

Entries may be sent direct to Cllrs and Teachers Mike and Sue Sands, 19C The Swale, Norwich NR5 9HE 

Or, to Cllrs Mike and Sue Sands and Sally Button, 

Care of, Norwich City Council, City Hall, St Peter’s Street, Norwich, NR2 1NH.

Mike Sands


Bowthorpe Sentinel

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