Author Archives: Just Regional

New children’s sensory room at NUUH with thanks to the Lions

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital is delighted to have opened a new therapeutic sensory room, which will provide a relaxing environment to young patients undergoing intensive treatment.

The facility has been made possible by a £8,750 donation from the Lions club, who this year, will be celebrating 100 years of voluntary service. Lions groups from across Norfolk have come together to raise the money and mark their anniversary milestone in an extra special way.

The equipment in the room includes an LED projector which casts colour onto the walls, floor and ceiling, and a fibre optic light which shines beautiful colours around the ceiling, and special floor cubes.

The room also has a sensory music system playing soothing sounds, a number of stimulating and reflective toys and padded safety mats. In addition, the Lions have funded a special Sensory Wagon which is portable and can come to a patient’s bed side.

Nigel Howes, President of Taverham & District Lions said: “Lions Clubs International are celebrating 100 years’ service to their local communities, and as part of this celebration, all clubs across the UK have been encouraged to do something special to mark this momentous occasion. We decided this project would be perfect as it will help support children from birth up to 19 years of age, while they undergo treatment during their stay at NNUH.”

Nigel added: “The presentation on Wednesday 24th May was an opportunity to formally hand over all the sensory equipment which had been requested by NNUH Play Specialist, Steven Nicholls, and we are immensely proud to support this work to help and support young children and teenagers.”

Lucy Weavers, NNUH Divisional Nursing Director for Women and Children’s Division said: “The environment that has been created gives children and young people, many with different sensory needs, the opportunity to relax and escape from some of the worries and anxieties which can come from a stay in hospital. We hope we can bring a little joy to those children whilst they are undergoing treatment.”

Lucy added: “For so many Lions clubs to join together to celebrate their special birthday year in this way is truly inspirational. Our Jenny Lind Children’s Hospital has been providing care to the children of Norfolk for over 150 years and this room will enable us to enhance the environment and the care we give.”

Special thanks go to the Lions clubs including: Attleborough 2013, Norwich North Alpha, Great Yarmouth, West Norwich, Hethersett & District, Sheringham & Cromer, Long Stratton, Taverham & District, City of Norwich, Wroxham & Hoveton and Wymondham.

Louise Cook, NNUH Fundraising Manager said: “We are so privileged to have the support from the Lions. This is not the first time a Lion’s Club has supported our hospital, and I would like to say a massive thank you to all those who have enabled us to create such a fantastic space for our younger patients.”

• From left to right: Steve Nicholls- NNUH Play Specialist, Nigel Howes- Lion President Taverham & District Lions Club, Erica Dernedde- NNUH Sister, David Booth- Consultant Neonatologist and Chief of Division for Women’s and Children’s at NNUH

Young talent needed to bring killer plant alive on stage

A horror comedy musical about a killer plant is looking to recruit budding young talent to join its cast.

The Little Shop of Horrors is the autumn youth production being staged by Sheringham Little Theatre.

And the hunt is on for actors and singers aged 14 to 25 to take chorus and lead roles – including the voice of the flowering killer which has come from outer space and got a taste for human blood.

Theatre director Debbie Thompson said: “The youngsters have been keen to do this for a while – and it is a fun show that will challenge on the props and scenery front as well as showcasing local performance talent.”

The show, which was a stage musical and a movie, is set in a run-down American flower shop owned by Mr Mushnik and manned by timid Seymour and his love interest Audrey. In a dark comedy laced with 1960s style pop music including Motown , the wilting alien plant, Audrey 2, thrives when it is fed human beings.

It is being directed by Harry Williams, 22, from North Walsham who has been performing with the theatre for 10 years, and Jess Chamberlin, from Thorpe Market, who was assistant director for the spring youth musical, Oliver. Charlie Randall from Brampton is helping with production.

Mrs Thompson said the whole production, including choreography and musical direction, was being run by young people, who had a “cunning plan” to bring the plant alive.

Auditions are being held on Sunday May 28 at 10am for cast wanting to take part in the show that runs from September 27-29 – with rehearsals during the summer.

Chorus hopefuls, and those aiming to be street urchins, should arrive read to sing Little Shop of Horrors.
Lead roles should be prepared to read scenes and sing one of the characters’ songs:

• Seymour Krelborn – Grow for Me
• Audrey – Somewhere That’s Green
• Mr Mushnik – solo part of Ya Never Know from beginning to “rake in the bucks for me hand over first
• Voice of Audrey 2 (the plant) – Feed Me (Git it)
• Orin Scrivello – Dentist!

For more information about the show and auditions call the theatre on 01263 822347or email

Help! Co-director Harry Williams fights off a man-eating plant to plea for young cast members for Little Shop of Horror, Picture: Matt Coomber

Bringing the Bard to the people of North Walsham – by bike

A pedal-powered theatre company is bringing a novel production of a Shakespeare comedy to a Norfolk college – by bicycle.

The Handlebards touring drama group has taken the classic plays of England’s most famous writer to two countries and three continents since it was set up on a shoestring four years ago.

A four-strong female cast will perform As You Like It in the grounds of Paston Sixth Form College (Lawns site) at North Walsham on Friday June 9 – in a picnic-style show organised by the Sheringham Little Theatre.

The plays are billed as energetic, chaotic, full of laughter, and featuring lots of costume changes and cross-dressing for the single sex cast.

Hand-crafted Pashley bikes are used in the show, and – with trailers – to provide sustainable transport for the show’s set, props and costumes as well as cast.

The Handlebards aim to take Shakespeare to communities in a eco-friendly, accessible way. They have also promoted British culture on tour in Africa and Asia.

As You Like It will tell the story of lovers Rosalind and Orlando who have been forced into exile in the Forest of Arden and find themselves entangled in a game of love, lust and mistaken identity.

Little Theatre director Debbie Thompson said: “Our theatre has close links with Paston College, especially its drama department, and we are delighted to be able to link up with the college again to stage this novel outdoor Shakespeare production, which should be fun for students and local families alike.”

Doors open at 6pm, with audience members encouraged to pack a picnic and chairs – but to bring ponchos and raincoats, not umbrellas, in case the weather is wet. The show runs from 7pm to 9pm.

For tickets (£12, students £6) and more information contact the Little Theatre box office on 01263 822347 or visit

The HandleBards taking Shakespeare on tour – with pedal power. Picture: Rah Petherbridge

Norfolk Police urge people to stay alert

Norfolk’s chief police officer has urged people to go about their daily business, while being alert to suspicious activity.

It comes as police respond to the national terror threat level being raised to critical.

Armed officers have been deployed to key locations in both counties, in particular crowded areas with high footfall such as the city centre, to provide visible reassurance.

It comes after the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre raised the threat level last night – meaning an attack not only remains highly likely but a further attack may be imminent.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey said: “The public would expect us to respond appropriately to this raised threat level and the deployment of armed officers is our primary response to this.

“Norfolk is a safe county and this additional policing is about providing a visible reassurance to the public.

“I would encourage anyone who sees those officers carrying out patrols to approach them, speak to them and support them because when incidents happen like those witnessed in Manchester and in Westminster, it’s those officers who rush to the scene to help, at a time when everyone else is trying to get away. I know they would appreciate the support.”

Military personnel are not currently being deployed in joint patrols with police officers in crowded places – but the threat assessment is continuously under review.

Officers are also reviewing security plans for a number of events in the coming weeks.

Mr Bailey added: “I would urge people to go about their daily business as usual, but be extra vigilant and report anything you think looks out of place.”

Members of the public are asked to remain calm but alert – if you see anything which causes you concern, then call the police immediately. Look out for anything that seems out of place.

Latest guidance on recognising the terrorist threat and remaining vigilant can be accessed via
To report any suspicious activity or behaviour call 0800 789 321 or in an emergency dial 999.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey

Aylsham beer festival back this weekend

It will soon be time to raise a glass to the 12th Aylsham Round Table beer festival.

The event which seems to go from strength to strength will open its doors at 6pm this Friday (12th May).

A total of 35 ales and 15 ciders will be on offer this year and as always it will be held at County, also known as the Youth Club on Cawston Road.

Opening times are:
Friday 12th – 6pm – 11pm
Saturday 13th – 11am-11pm
Sunday 14th – 11am – 3pm.

Bronze £10 includes 2 pints
Silver £15 includes 4 pints
Gold £20 includes 6 pints

Food will be available all weekend and there will be live music on the Friday and Saturday.

Splash swimming pool could be demolished and rebuilt in new plan

Sheringham Splash could be knocked down and rebuilt as part of an ambitious project to improve leisure provision in the district.

North Norfolk District Council is looking at how to improve the facitlies, with the preferred option to demolish the ageing building and construct an improved swimming pool, gym and associated facilities.

The council has taken an imaginative approach to the project in consultation with strategic property partners Gleeds. The proposed plan, which is in early discussion stages, could see an £8m facility built by using a combination of long term loans, Sport England funding and income from additional development on land next to Splash. This development could include a hotel and/or retail/commercial units.

Initial details of the proposed plan are being made public this week in papers to the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which will meet on May 17. The papers will also discuss the early stages of the procurement process for the Council’s leisure contract which is due for renewal by March 31, 2019, covering Fakenham Sports and Fitness, Splash Leisure and Fitness in Sheringham, and Victory Swim and Fitness Centre in North Walsham. The three Council-owned leisure centres are all very successful, with visits in 2016/17 totalling 462,000 and this has continually risen over the past four years.

Among the recommendations, which will then be put to the Council’s Cabinet in June, will be that a feasibility study around the property and leisure issues is now progressed with a further report coming to Cabinet later in 2017, to then approve the business case for construction of a new facility at the Splash site in Sheringham.

Other options include a full refurbishment of the current Splash building, although the papers make it clear that demolition and rebuild would be more cost effective because of the need to completely modernise the council’s sport and leisure offer at the Sheringham site. This would not be achieved in the current building, which is environmentally inefficient, and would prevent the opportunity for the new leisure contract to provide the necessary savings to help fund the new facility.

The plans have been designed to guarantee ongoing provision of the popular skateboard, football and cricket facilities on the current and adjacent sites.

Judy Oliver, North Norfolk District Council’s Cabinet Member for Property, said: “This is a highly imaginative and inspirational plan which has the potential to secure a long term future for Splash.
“We have great aspirations for leisure services across North Norfolk and the opportunity to build a modern, efficient and fit for purpose facility in one of our premier coastal towns is very exciting.
“I welcome this plan wholeheartedly and welcome the input we have had from Sport England.”

Maggie Prior, North Norfolk District Council’s Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, said: “The range of leisure opportunities across North Norfolk makes a significant contribution to improving the health and wellbeing of our residents.
“We want to improve Splash and give it a long term, viable future. It already attracts 160,000 visits a year and I believe that an improved facility would see this number increase, benefiting both our residents and the tourism economy, which is so crucial to this part of the world.”

Doug Smith, North Norfolk District Council member for Sheringham North, said: “This plan will be a huge win win for Sheringham’s residents and visitors, we will work hard to make this a real success.”

The Splash leisure pool and fitness centre.
Picture: Chris Taylor Photo

Man jailed for 10 years following North Walsham hit and run

A man has been jailed after a hit and run in North Walsham last year which left the victim with serious leg injuries.

Darren Blackmore, aged 43 and of Laburnum Close in Wymondham, pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm with intent at an earlier hearing and was sentenced to 10 years in prison at Norwich Crown Court today (Friday 5 May).

Blackmore was driving a Peugeot 307 when he deliberately drove at a 30-year-old man as he was walking with two male friends through the Vicarage Car Park at 12.55am on Saturday 23 July 2016.

CCTV footage released by detectives following the incident showed the victim being knocked into the air and up to 15 feet from point of contact. The vehicle was then driven around the car park before a second attempt is made to drive towards the victim.

The court heard how Blackmore had travelled to North Walsham earlier that evening after being called by a friend who told him that they had been mugged.

Blackmore wrongly identified three men who he believed to have committed the alleged crime as they walked through the Vicarage Car Park and it was at that point that Blackmore drove at speed into the car park and straight at the victim, knocking him into the air.

The victim suffered a broken pelvis and serious leg injuries.

Detective Inspector Matt Dyson said: “This was a shocking crime which has had a significant impact on the victim and could have had potentially fatal consequences.

“The very serious deliberate act was most likely due to a relatively minor matter earlier the evening before, a matter that the victim and his friends had no part in. We thank the press and public for the positive response in relation to the initial press release and we hope that the sentencing provides some comfort for the victim.”

CCTV images released following Sprowston theft

Police are appealing for help to identify a man and woman following an incident of theft which happened in Sprowston last month.

It occurred around 7.40pm on Monday 27 March 2017 where a 24 inch television has been stolen from the Co-op on Cannerby Lane.

Officers would like to speak with the man and woman captured in the CCTV images in connection with the incident.
Anyone who may recognise the man or woman, or anyone with information, should contact PC Sam Hales at Sprowston Police Station on 101.

Alternatively contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via their anonymous online form at