PUBLISHED in HICKLING HERALD
Jack Valentine in Hickling - Teri Ellis
The simple fun of Jack Valentine is a Norfolk tradition, which is still sometimes continued by local families.
Jack Valentine is a mischievous character, who arrives on 14 February leaving small treats and gifts on the doorstep, anonymously, giving small children the same sense of delight as the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus.
Not being a local, this tradition was new to me, but I was pleased to continue it with my own children. To enter into the spirit of the fun and surprises, a little assistance is needed by family or friend.
A small wrapped gift is left on the doorstep, followed by loud banging on the door. Children are encouraged to run to the door to find a mysterious parcel on the doorstep. To add to the general air of excitement, gifts left at more than one door can have excited youngsters running from one side of the house to another.
There is also the trick of tying a long string around a gift. An older person hidden outside pulls the gift away as the door opens (snatch gift). Sometimes there is no gift in the parcel …. all adding to the mystery and anticipation as to what might be on the doorstep at the next loud bang.
Inky Baker, Megan Butcher and Pauline Brooks have left their childhood memories of Jack Valentine on the Voices of Hickling website.