Author Archives: Just Regional

Full STEAM ahead for £19 million Dyson building at Gresham’s School

Sir James Dyson, Founder of Dyson and Gresham’s alumnus, has donated £18.75 million to Gresham’s School in Holt, Norfolk to enable a new centre for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) education.

The Dyson Building will be designed by Dyson’s architects Wilkinson Eyre, the first practice to achieve two consecutive wins of both the Lubetkin Prize and the Stirling Prize. It will be located at the heart of Gresham’s Senior School, and will be completed by September 2021.

Douglas Robb, Gresham’s Headmaster, said: “This is by far the largest donation the school has ever received and the new spaces will have an immense impact on the quality of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics education that our students receive, now and for decades to come. We are hugely grateful to Sir James and are excited that our partnership will be a long lasting one. We look forward to working with the James Dyson Foundation to develop new and inventive approaches to teaching and with The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology to explore exciting long-term opportunities for our students to pursue careers in engineering.”

The building will enable new approaches to teaching, encouraging project work and collaboration. Spaces will be equipped with the latest technology to ensure the highest levels of teaching; from robotics and programming, to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning. The building will also provide greatly improved opportunities for the outreach programme which Gresham’s runs with local schools.

Sir James Dyson said, “Engineering and science are the most fulfilling of careers, they are also vitally important to our society and economy. To prime a pipeline of young people who want to study engineering, we must inspire them at the earliest possible stage – I hope this building will do just that. For 20 years, my Foundation has supported science and engineering education. I’ve observed that from the age of around six, children are very engaged; they are inventive, dreaming up ideas, and curious, wanting to know how they can be made. But these traits get stamped out of them, partly by the system and partly because the teaching of these subjects in schools has not kept up with the pace of technological change. By creating state of the art spaces I hope that we can foster, inspire and educate more brilliant young minds. I am so pleased Gresham’s will be leading the charge.”

Father’s 250-mile challenge for NICU which saved his son

A father of a six-year-old boy is taking on a formidable challenge to raise money for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where his son spent the first week of his life.

Henry Hume was born at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in March 2013 following what had been a routine pregnancy for mum, Justina and dad Tom as they waited for the birth of their first child.       

However, things quickly took an unexpected turn for the worse and baby Henry was rushed to NICU with persistent pulmonary hypertension which is a failure of the normal circulatory transition that occurs after birth.

Now, Tom, who is a vet and director at Westover Veterinary Centre, and his business partner Toby, an experienced triathlete, plan to run, cycle, swim and canoe about 250 miles starting on July 11 to raise money for NICU as a thank you to the staff on the unit for caring for Henry who is now a happy and healthy six year old.

Tom explained how joy quickly turned to fear following the birth of his son: “In layman’s terms, Henry’s lungs hadn’t inflated so his blood kept choosing the easy route, through the hole in the heart that all babies are born with, but in the process it was bypassing the lungs and circulating around his body without being re-oxygenated.

Being a vet I had some limited understanding of the numbers on the intensive care monitors. The figure that I will never forget is the level of his oxygen saturation. In animals, anything less than 98% is abnormal and below 90% we would be pretty worried. I am fairly sure the numbers are similar in human medicine and I was watching as Henry’s number fell and fell, eventually bottoming out at 45%.

The NICU team were incredible, there were five of them crowded around this tiny baby. He was too small to get intravenous access via his arms so they had to cannulate his umbilical vessels to establish IV access.

He was then anaesthetised and placed in a coma to allow them to mechanically ventilate and inflate his lungs. Henry was in the coma for a week, but slowly the support machines were withdrawn and he went from strength to strength.”

Tom added: “We will both be eternally grateful for the lifesaving care in the first six hours after his arrival and then ongoing during that week.

“Ever since that day I have wanted to raise money for NICU to show my appreciation for such an incredible service and also to try and help their resources and enable them to help others.”

Tom and Toby will take on some huge challenges after setting off on July 11:

Day 1 – set off from North Walsham, run seven miles to Aylsham before swimming eight miles of the River Bure to Coltishall where they will camp for the night.

Day 2 – canoe 35 miles from Coltishall to Yarmouth.

Day 3 – cycle of 130 miles to Hunstanton.

Day 4 – run 30 miles from Hunstanton to Stiffkey.

Day 5 – run 30 miles back to North Walsham.

Tom said: “The biggest challenge in training has been getting enough time to get the miles in. I have come to the conclusion that it will be ‘alright on the night’ and that my memories of Henry’s battle to survive will be all the motivation I need to keep my moving.”

In the past, money raised for NICU has helped to pay for incubators, kangaroo chairs for parents and babies, enabled us to enhance the environment and also provided specialist training for staff.” If you would like to sponsor Tom and Toby and support NICU, visit

Henry and Tom Hume

Sam’s first Young Sportsman

Aylsham’s Sam Blair has been named Young Norfolk Sportsman of the Year, in the inaugural annual Young Norfolk Sports Academy Awards.

The trophy is presented to YNSA athletes who have showcased excellence in their sport, recognising performance but also commitment, dedication and passion.

This award caps an impressive season for the 16-year-old Norwich City goalkeeper, which saw him make his debut in the Youth FA Cup, play U16s and U18s football and travel several times with the U23 squad. He was rewarded with a two-year scholarship at the premier league club, which commences on July 1st on completion of his GCSEs.

Sam said “I’d like to thank the YNSA for this award. I have really enjoyed meeting and working alongside talented athletes from across Norfolk in so many different sports. It’s very helpful to learn from them and the experts the YNSA put in front of us, on topics ranging from fitness and training regimes, nutrition, recovery, coping with pressure and lots of other important topics that will prepare us for full-time sport. I’m very grateful to my coaches at Norwich City and my school for pushing me every day and making me a better athlete. I’m really excited about the next couple of years and will work hard to try and secure a professional contract.”

Sam, who at 16 already stands 6ft 2ins tall, follows in the bootsteps of an impressive list of Norfolk-born Norwich City academy shot stoppers – with Angus Gunn, Jed Steer, Aston Oxborough, Remi Matthews and Declan Rudd all plying their trade in the Championship and Premier League. Another City goalkeeper alumnus, former England international Rob Green, hung up his boots at the end of last season.

Sam Blair with his award
Sam in action for Norwich City youth  over the past few years.

Deserved honour for play fundraiser

North Walsham fundraiser Matthew Smith has had his work for the community recognised with the award of the MBE in the Queens 2019 Birthday Honours List.

The honour is for his work as business manager for Sheringham Woodfields School and founder and trustee of North Walsham Play, for services to children with special education needs and disabilities.

He said: “The letter arrived in early May so keeping it a secret has been a real challenge but it’s great to finally have this out in the open. I feel so humble to have been nominated and chosen. I have only ever done what I feel is right/best with the time and skills I have been given.”

He thanks the person or people who nominated him and added: “I must also say a massive thank you to my very understanding wife, two children and parents for all their support, advice and patience!”

He started his campaign to improve play provision in 2015 when his first son was a year old and he and his wife realised there was very little that their child would be able to grow up and enjoy within the town’s open spaces.

“North Walsham is the largest market town in North Norfolk and the play provision was very poor given this fact. But instead of moaning about it, or taking to Facebook to bash the council, I decided to see this as an opportuntiy and hence the registered charity North Walsham Play was formed in early 2016. Our aim has been to create accessible, fun and inclusive play parks for all.”

With a positive working relationship with North Walsham Town Council, the group has which has been able to do “amazing things”.

To date, in excess of £200,000 has been secured to allow for three new parks to be installed. The first was a small play park at Woodville within one of the town’s housing estates. “This small yet perfectly formed park was the first in the town to include equipment accessible to children in wheelchairs,” said Matthew.

The second project was a large £94,000 play park within the Memorial Park. “This large themed play park has amazing facilities that have been welcomed and enjoyed by many hundreds of families. The feedback has been amazing. Again, the park includes equipment accessible for children and adults in wheelchairs. All items are within the same park, there is no segregation or fencing off of certain items of equipment,” said Matthew.

The third park, to be installed in mid-July will see a state-of-the-art, 13-piece outside gym installed at the Memorial  Park. Four pieces of equipment will enable users to generate energy as they exercise allowing them to charge devices whilst exercising.

This plan has been supported by a large grant from Sheringham Shoal Fund (administered by the Norfolk Community Foundation) plus a grant from the Postcode Lottery Trust.

But he said: “We’re not stopping there. We are now focusing our efforts on a new skate park to replace the much-loved facility at Trackside. The current skate park has served us very well but its now time to look to the future. We have a consultation on Friday, July 12, 6pm at Costa Coffee for all who want to come and support (free food and drinks).”

And he added: “North Walsham Play has a brilliant and perfectly-assembled committee of dedicated volunteers. We might not be the biggest committee, but I think our track record speaks for itself. I couldn’t have done this on my own, so even though the award was given to me, there are many people who have helped make this possible.”

Beer festival opens tonight!

It’s time to raise a glass to the 14th Aylsham Round Table Beer Festival.

The event which seems to go from strength to strength will open its doors at 6pm this Friday (17th May).

A total of 35 ales, 15 ciders and a selection of gin 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

There will be live music on the Friday and Saturday and food available,

Pop idols and driverless tractors – meet Aylsham Show’s 2019 president

From interviewing Elton John to developing the Aylsham Show’s Food Hall – Clare Buxton’s story is diverse and fascinating.

Sheringham-born Clare, this year’s show president, left her native county as a little girl, had a successful early career writing for teen magazines, and then returned to Norfolk. She and her husband Andrew have been tenants on the Salle Park Estate, just outside Reepham, for over 20 years, running their sugar beet and grain haulage business.

And as a long-standing member of the Aylsham Show Council, Clare has rolled up her sleeves to help run the show for many years.

Seated in a traditional harvest wagon, with Andrew alongside, she will be presiding over the Grand Parade at this year’s 73rd show, on Bank Holiday Monday August 26, when some 15,000-17,000 visitors are expected to flock to the wonderful parkland of the National Trust’s Blickling Estate to enjoy an affordable family day celebrating the countryside, farming, and food.

The success of the 2018 show resulted in 46 good causes, mostly local, sharing Aylsham Show handouts totalling more than £31,000.

Clare will also sit in a driverless Ben Burgess tractor while it finds its way around the Main Ring controlled by GPS.

She grew up on the west coast of Scotland where her father ran a boatyard and later trained as a journalist in Dundee with publishers DC Thomson – perhaps best known for the Beano comic – writing about pop for best-selling teen magazine Jackie.

“I used to spend my days with people like the Bay City Rollers. I remember flying down to London with them on a private jet,” said Clare.

“I interviewed Elton John – himself wearing a quilted, banana-yellow jumpsuit – and David Essex, a really sweet guy and very, very kind, even when I had to ask silly questions like ‘What’s your favourite colour?’”

Clare moved to publishers IPC in London to help set up what became a best-selling teen magazine, My Guy, running its problem page and quizzes. Young wannabe actors and pop stars featuring in its pioneering photo-strip love stories included Hugh Grant and George Michael.

Keen to return north, Clare secured a place at Stirling University, achieving a first-class honours degree in English with Art History. Nowadays she works in the fine art auctions business, advising on pictures at mid-Suffolk auctioneers Bishop & Miller.

It was while working for Simon Gough, antiquarian bookseller in Holt, that she met her future husband, Andrew, one of four Buxton brothers then farming with their father at Heydon. Clare and Andrew, who have three sons, sold their haulage business about three years ago to concentrate on Norfolk Shepherd Huts, making and restoring traditional East Anglian huts.

Customers have included the late actor Sir John Hurt who ordered his after seeing a hut on display in the Craft Area at the Aylsham Show.

When Clare first became involved with the show, around 17 years ago, there was no Food Hall. “We started with a flapping tent and about six stalls, Swannington Farm to Fork were in that first effort and it is so pleasing to see the fantastic success of that business now,” she said.

“We grew with the help of a government grant and a very dynamic committee, full of energy and commitment: Jonathan Deane (president 2007), Tony Bambridge (president 2015), and Matt Miller from Aylsham’s Black Boys pub all played key roles in developing the Food and Farming area – I just did the paperwork!”

Nowadays thousands flock to buy local food and drink, watch cookery demonstrations, and applaud the crowning of Norfolk’s food heroes, nominated earlier in the year by the public. And visitors can also find out where our food comes from, with hands-on demonstrations.

“Thanks to the irreplaceable and irrepressible Corfield family we have run some terrific competitions.

It’s what the show is all about – promoting agriculture and the countryside, encouraging the public to be part of it and having fun!” said Clare.

“I feel hugely honoured and privileged to be this year’s president. I’m just a worker bee who has worked her way up so it is a truly great accolade; and it also means it could happen to anyone involved with the show.”

A long-time supporter of conservation charity the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, the farm animals are definitely a show highlight for Clare.

She said: “I’m really excited that I’ll get the chance to walk the livestock lines and see the cattle and sheep properly – it is such a privilege to see them. So much hard work and effort goes into bringing them to the show.

“It’s a lovely show to be involved with and the Blickling park setting is unsurpassed,” said Clare.

“I’d urge everyone to come to see the animals. They are such an immediate connection with the countryside.”
For more information visit the show website:  Facebook: @theaylshamshow Twitter: @aylshamshow  Admission is £15 for adults, under 16s and parking is free.

Clare Buxton

Flying the (Blue) Flags for North Norfolk’s fabulous beaches

It’s official: North Norfolk continues to have some of the best beaches in the country.

The beaches in Cromer, East Runton, Mundesley, Sea Palling, Sheringham and West Runton have all been awarded prestigious Blue Flags for another year – and that means the 45-mile North Norfolk coastline is home to half of all the Blue Flag beaches in the east of England.

The awards are given out only to those beaches that have the highest quality of water, facilities, environmental education and management, with superb levels of cleanliness and safety. It means the hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors who visit North Norfolk’s beaches each year can be sure they are enjoying top-notch destinations.

North Norfolk is the only district in the county that has been awarded any Blue Flags this year.

As well as the Blue Flags, the beach at Wells, which is owned by the Holkham Estate but jointly managed by NNDC and the RNLI, has won a Seaside Award, which guarantees visitors a clean, safe, attractive and well-managed coastal stretch.

Cllr Sarah Butikofer, Leader of North Norfolk District Council, said: “This is fantastic news and highlights once again what fantastic beaches we have in North Norfolk.

“It is testament to all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes all year round to keep our beaches in tip-top condition and guarantee their safety and cleanliness.”

Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, which runs the Blue Flags scheme, said: “The success of the beaches in reaching the very high standards demanded by both awards is testament to all those who have worked so hard to protect and improve our beaches – from beach managers and volunteers to local people and businesses.

“When you enjoy a trip to a beach flying an international Blue Flag or Seaside Award, you know you are on one of the safest, cleanest and very best in the country.”

There is evidence that the awards attract more visitors, with the number of people visiting the district’s beaches rising from 100,000 a year to 400,000 since they started being awarded Blue Flags.

Reader’s massive donation to Harry Deeba cancer appeal

A Just Drayton and Taverham reader has donated £25,000 to the Harry Deeba appeal, which smashed its target today.

The retired farmer, who wishes to remain anonymous, contacted us after reading about the £239,000 appeal for the two-year-old Taverham tot in April’s edition, and we put him in touch with Harry’s mum, Carly Howes.

“It was really lovely of him. He wanted to give us more but we felt we couldn’t accept more,” said Carly.

“It’s really helped us. We didn’t know him but he wanted to help someone local. It was so generous of him to donate a huge amount like that – it’s heartwarming.

“All the money for Harry’s appeal has come from normal local people who just care and want to help – it’s fantastic.”

Solving Kids’ Cancer, the charity administering donations to Harry’s appeal, recorded this morning that the latest total stands at £255,557 – all raised since January through scores of mini and major fundraisers and donations.

Harry has spent a year of gruelling treatments to rid him of the cancer, high-risk neuroblastoma, which has a relapse rate of nearly 50pc. Of those who do relapse, nine out of 10 die.

His parents launched the appeal to send Harry for pioneering vaccine treatment in New York which it is hoped will cut the likelihood of relapse.

Harry has had extensive scans and other procedures following the end of his NHS treatment to see whether he is clear of cancer. The family is waiting for New York medics to review the results and say whether or not he will be accepted on the vaccine trial. They hope to hear by the end of the week and could possibly leave for America by the end of the month.

Carly thanked “Harry’s Heroes” and everyone who had helped them reach the target which she described as “absolutely brilliant”.

But she urged everyone to keep supporting the appeal because of the continuing uncertainty of Harry’s condition, with relapse possible at any time, which could mean he would need fast, potentially-expensive treatments.

For more information on the appeal visit:

Harry Deeba who has achieved his fundraising target. PICTURE: Richard Jermy Photography.