Hilary Franzen | On The Broads

It was a pleasure to visit Hilary during the lovely summer of 2019 – sitting by the Broads, talking about her colourful life on the Broads.

Hilary Franzen Works and plays in the Broads
Hilary, who is Great Yarmouth born and bred, lives, works and plays in the Broads.
A former Great Yarmouth Mercury reporter, she first fell in love with the Broads at the age of seven, when her parents, Sybil and George Blowers, bought a historic Broads yacht, Martlet, built in 1907. Every November the family would sail past the village of Stokesby to a boatyard at Great Yarmouth for Martlet’s winter maintenance and Hilary would admire the pretty riverside cottages which lined the banks.
After 26 years her parents sold Martlet and despite dinghy sailing and horse riding there came to be a gap in her life which widened as the years passed.
Sixteen years later the year 2000 proved to be a turning point for Hilary. She managed to track down Martlet and bought her back and now races her regularly with an all-female crew. The same year she landed her dream job as press officer with the Broads Authority and in 2007 she bought her dream home – one of those riverside cottages at Stokesby she had fallen in love with as a child. It was the first time it had come up for sale since 1932!
Her historic riverside shed, aka The Slip Inn, is also a magnet for parties and weekly get togethers.
Now semi-retired, Hilary is visited regularly by a pair of swans and their ten cygnets who queue up regularly at her front door to be fed –and sometimes walk in – as well as resident geese and ducks.
“It’s been amazing watching them hatch and grow from close quarters,” she said. “They allow us to hand feed them, and we have built up a special relationship with them.”

About Julian Claxton

My passion for photography is supported by experiences gained on exciting travel adventures and through working for fantastic photographers. In 2006, I made the exciting step of realising my dream of becoming a freelance photographer. Since this pivotal moment, I have held numerous exhibitions, been featured nationally & internationally in print and won numerous awards, including being a finalist in the National Geographic Photographic competition in 2013 with one of my documentary images from the Sudan. From an early age I began to enjoy taking pictures of my daily life, basking in the thrill of sending the film to the printers and eagerly awaiting the pocket sized prints. My first foray into the world developing and printing strangely began at school when I was asked to produce a descriptive photo for the school newspaper. A front page shot later and I was destined to start the long arduous journey of becoming a photographer. In between exciting travel adventures and working for fantastic photographers, I graduated from college and at a crossroads in my journey to becoming a pro photographer, I embarked on a career working as a medical photographer. Learning new skills and dabbling in video production as well as progressing design skills, I yearned for the challenge and freedom of becoming a freelance. I have been fortunate enough to work on some amazing assignments which have included shooting a documentary assignment with an air ambulance, gaining full access to a British Pro cycling team during an international UCI tour, cycling to Rwanda and creating a photographic documentary of my journey. The experiences continue to grow, meeting wonderful people to photograph and telling the story of their journey. The list of events and striking moments that have played out through my viewfinder continue to grow and provide me with ever increasing snapshots of life to capture. One of the highlights of my career thus far has been staying in rural Uganda, teaching photography to the kids from the region, in a project I set up in late 2014, entitled ‘Give a child a camera’. The basis of the project is to supply 35mm cameras and film to the rural schools in this region of East Africa, teaching the children how to shoot photographs. After a week of taking photos of their life, an exhibition is held at the school and the children leave with their very own album, camera and film. One of the images I shot at Eden school in rural Uganda, during morning chapel won the 2015 Travel Media Tourism and Photography award. A great honour and one that I wouldn’t have picked up had it not been for the wonderful children of East Africa. For further information please visit www.julianclaxtonphotography.com
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