Working with The Great British Banjo Company is a true pleasure and I was excited to receive a press release from its MD on April 1st all about the Banjo of the East, a new 50m tall statue that would dominate the Norwich skyline. I knew instantly that it was an April Fools joke and quite a clever one at that.

I never expected anyone to pick it up. We hoped a few journalists would titter over it and move on. I have to admit, I did post it on Love Norfolk on April Fools Day. Everyone got the joke, it was great fun.

I even had the Eastern Daily Press (EDP) contact me – as the press contact for The Great British Banjo Company – to ask if it was I joke. I told them it was.

Eight days later and the EDP runs the story…

Banjo of the East2

Both myself and Simon Middleton, Managing Director of The Great British Banjo Company, were a little baffled. He spoke to Hold the Front Page about the whole thing and the story that he thought was “so absurd” that it’d never get picked up.

Simon joked: “We’ve hardly got room to make banjos, let alone a 50 metre tall statue.”

He also said: “Maybe one hand did not know what the other was doing. I’m sorry if  the release has caused any problems – I feel a bit mean now – but we’ll certainly be sending out a spoof next year. I bet it’s not used, though.”

Personally, I think a 50m tall banjo would be front page news.

The press release was clearly marked with April 1st. Simon said: “I sent it by midday on  April 1 and heard nothing, so I assumed it was not being printed. I’ve got an internet alert for’ banjo’ which ‘pinged’ eight days later and when I clicked through, the link didn’t work.

“Apparently the EDP had removed the story, but it still went into print.

“You’d have thought they would have asked how Anish Kapoor or Anthony Gormley had come to be involved. And what about planning permission? It’s amazing really.

“The press release concludes with a line ‘we hope that this fabulous erection will be unveiled later this summer.’ I thought that would have given it away.”

Just to clarify I did confirm that this was a joke with the EDP. We’re sorry if any inconvenience has been caused! I’m actually a little disappointed that there won’t be a giant banjo popping up in the Norwich skyline.

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