Author Archives: Just Regional

Boys in court after chicken shed blaze

Two teenage boys will appear before Norwich Youth Court next week charged with arson after chicken sheds were destroyed by fire.

The charges relate to an incident on Saturday, February 8, where three derelict chicken sheds were set alight in Fengate, near Aylsham.

All three buildings were destroyed.

The boys, both aged 14 and from the Aylsham area, have been charged with arson and are due to appear before Norwich Youth Court on Tuesday, July 28.

Councillors buy washable masks for those on low incomes

With face masks becoming compulsory in many public places from today, two Broadland District Councillors will be using their unwanted allowances to make sure that people on low incomes can have reusable face coverings.

Natasha Harpley, district councillor for Sprowston Central ward said: “I was horrified to learn how expensive disposable ones are (roughly £8 for a pack of five in most supermarkets) and obviously not great for the environment either.

“There will always be the temptation for those who are struggling financially to re-use disposable masks and so I wanted to help prevent that from happening.

“So myself and fellow Sprowston Central councillor Breanne Cook have pooled our unwanted councillor allowances, as we do every month, and created a fund to support those on low incomes to be able to purchase washable cotton ones.”

Natasha and Breanne have teamed up with local business 2SENmums, who will make the masks and deliver them in Sprowston. In addition to this, 10pc of all sales will be donated to domestic abuse charity Leeway.

The fund will help anyone on a low income and will work on an honesty policy.

Natasha added: “We are trusting that only people who genuinely can’t afford to pay will use this fund and that it won’t be abused.”

To let them know you would like a mask, visit to choose your fabric and then message their Facebook page to order, quoting “Labour Masks”. The scheme is limited to those living in Sprowston and is restricted to one mask per family member.

“Your order will be directly with 2SENmums, not us – we will simply fund the cost from a set budget and we won’t even know who you are. We wanted to do it this way so people can have maximum autonomy over their order whilst still maintaining privacy.”

The pair have also bought 20 masks from another maker, which will be distributed via the Food Hub.

Face coverings are now compulsory in indoor public areas such as shops, supermarkets, shopping centres, banks, post offices, train and bus stations and airports.

Krissie’s cleaned up…

As an early riser, Krissie Stone took her daily exercise just after 6am every morning when lockdown started.

And rather than just walk, she collected – and disposed of – any rubbish she might find along the way. She also polished up the road signs and attended to anything else she spotted that needed cleaning or tidying.

And her efforts have earned her a Broadland District Council community hero award, which she receives tomorrow.

“I love the area and have wanted to find a way to help the community for a long while,” said Krissie, who has lived in Sprowston for 25 years and brought her family up there.

And with the busy Wroxham Road enjoying rare peace and quiet, she decided it was the perfect time to do her bit.

“I am an early riser so I decided as part of my daily exercise I would, in my own way, contribute in tidying up Wroxham Road,” she said.

“Leaving the house soon after 6am most mornings I pick up litter and weed and sweep the pavements and the gutters. I wash and disinfect the bus shelters; I clean road and street signs; and sanitise the press button controls at pedestrian crossings.”

Krissie gives one of the road signs a shine up during one of her walks.

And she and her orange bucket full of cleaning products, a brush and dustpan, paint scraper and other tools soon became well-known.

“I found that once lockdown commenced people started speaking to me, saying hello, and would pass the time of day. It is so nice. Some cars (complete strangers) hoot and give me the thumbs up. Others stop and thank me for my efforts.

“I was approached by a policeman early on in lockdown and I was sure that he was going to tell me that I was contravening lockdown rules, but no – he was pleased with what I was doing and encouraged me to continue. Some of my friends think that I have got a screw loose and take the mickey out of me for this pastime of mine. But it’s all done light heartedly.”

She said she hopes that now normality has returned people will still continue to care for their community and “still find time for a smiley face and a hello or chat with others”.

Broadland District Council invited the public to nominate their Covid Community Heroes, celebrating those who went the extra mile to help others.

Sparhawk’s sparkling event!

Pupils, parents and teachers at Sparhawk Infant and Nursery School really sparkled at the weekend when they took part in the school’s Gem of a Challenge.

Summer term is usually the time when the Sprowston school holds its most successful fundraising events such as fetes and barbecues, but this year they had to think outside the box – and into the jewellery box.

Everyone was invited to choose a gemstone and then complete a challenge, the crazier the better, to raise money for the Friends of Sparhawk School Association.

Each gem corresponded to a number – topaz was four, jade was 12, emerald was 20, coral was 35, ruby was 40, diamond was 60 and sapphire equalled 65 – which indicated how many of your chosen task had to be completed.

Mr Seddon stayed quiet for 65 hours – and shouted it to the rooftops when he finished!

Among the staff, Miss Whitlam completed a 40km bike ride having chosen a ruby challenge; Mrs Benton completed four cartwheels in a row for her topaz challenge; Mrs Goldsworthy baked 65 delicious cupcakes for her sapphire challenge; Mrs Mann completed 60,000 steps; and Mr Seddon kept absolutely silent for 65 hours!

Mrs Munday, Mrs Easlea, Miss Whitlam and Mr Ainley completing their challenges.

Mrs Easlea had 60 (or more…) cups of water thrown over her, and Mrs Munday set herself the challenge of learning 65 words in sign language.

The children came up with even more fun challenges, including Amy, in Diamond class, who played 20 board games for her emerald challenge, and Edith, in Topaz class, who cycled four miles on her pink bicycle.

Ryan made cards to cheer everyone up and Leah changed 20 nappies… this one looks as though it might be a bit smelly!

Ryan decided to share the love by making and delivering 20 cards to family and friends, Dylan used 40 Lego bricks to make a picture and Leah probably chose the most unusual challenge – changing 20 nappies for her sister!

Ted and Holly completed the Bewilderwood Muddle Maze 20 times between them on Ted’s sixth birthday, Casper joined Mr Ainley to complete 20 laps of Sparhawk Park (Mr Ainley notched up 40), Harrison and Ethan made 40 sandcastles at the beach, Charlie made a creation from 60 pieces of Lego, Finn spent 40 minutes blindfolded – including eating his breakfast – and Maggie used 60 Megablocks to make something.

Amy completing all her games for her challenge.

Ethan completed 40 laps of the park on his bike, and Max scooted up and down the street for 20 minutes.

All in all, these challengers and many others, have so far raised £2,406 for FOSSA. Anyone who wants to add to the total can do so by clicking here.

You could own Nelson’s hair

Locks of Admiral Horatio Nelson’s hair will go under the hammer in Aylsham next week – part of an astonishing collection of Nelson-related lots which is exciting interest amongst collectors all over the world.

The extremely rare lot is part of the renowned Nelson collection amassed by the late Ron Fiske of Morningthorpe Hall, in south Norfolk – an inaugural member of the Nelson Society, and its chairman for nine years.

Other Nelson-related items to go under the hammer at Keys Auctioneers and Valuers as part of their two day Summer Fine Sale on July 29 and 30 include medals from campaigns when Nelson led the fleet, rare contemporary porcelain – including a cup and saucer which may have belonged to the admiral – pictures and books.

More than 100 items from the Fiske collection are up for auction at the sale, with extensive interest already being shown by collectors throughout the UK and beyond.

Highlights include:

Two paper packets containing locks of Nelson’s hair, the first packet inscribed in ink ‘The hair of Horatio Lord Nelson, given me by Horatia, 22 May 1818’ and the second ‘The great Lord Nelson hair cut off when he left off tying his hair’.  The pre-sale estimate is £2,000-£3,000.

Locks of Nelson’s hair, which are being auctioned in Aylsham next week.

An important early 19th century English porcelain cup and saucer, probably Coalport, decorated with the arms of Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson, Viscount Nelson of the Nile, KB. A similar example is in the British Museum; it is thought the piece was commissioned for a banquet in Nelson’s honour and may have been presented to him.  The estimate is £2,500-£3,000

The cup and saucer which was designed for a banquet in his honour.

Various naval medals dating from campaigns in which Nelson led the fleet, among the earliest medals issued by the Royal Navy.  Included are a Naval General Service Medal, clasp Copenhagen 1801, to Gunner Henry Harms, HMS Zephyr (estimate £3,000-£3,500); and a Naval General Service Medal, clasp St Vincent, to John Smith (estimate £2,000-£2,500)

“Despite some recent controversy about historical figures, interest in Nelson remains very high,” said David Broom, of Keys.  “He was perhaps Norfolk’s most famous son, so it’s appropriate that these items are going under the hammer in his home county, but we expect interest from throughout the UK and overseas.”

It is especially fitting that the sale is in Aylsham, where Nelson was a visitor at The Black Boys hotel in the Market Place.

The full catalogue is available online and bids can be placed at

Visitor centres reopen

Redwings Horse Sanctuary has set dates for the reopening of its two Norfolk visitor centres and they are looking forward to welcoming visitors once more.

Redwings Aylsham and Redwings Caldecott, near Great Yarmouth, have been closed due to the lockdown since March but Caldecott will be reopening on Monday and Aylsham will open its gates on Sunday, August 8.

Lynn Cutress, Redwings’ chief executive, said: “We’re delighted to be able to announce the reopening of our two centres in Norfolk. Having to close our doors to visitors, while the right thing to do at the time, significantly impacted our ability to fundraise – a devastating blow for a charity that is 100pc funded by donations from the public.

“To ensure the safety of both staff and visitors, and to make sure we’re adhering to the latest government advice, new measures have been put in place and access to some visitor facilities will remain limited for the time being. Our centres, however, still provide a valuable outdoor space to enjoy time with the whole family and offer a great chance to see Redwings’ work in action – as well as our beautiful rescued residents of course – so we’re very excited to able to offer this opportunity again.

“Thank you to everyone for your incredible support and kind wishes over these very challenging months. We, and our four-legged friends, can’t wait to welcome you back!”

The Redwings visitor centre at Aylsham is all set to reopen.

The new measures being put in place at the centres include:

Opening hours will be on Saturdays and Sundays only, between 10.30am and 3pm.

Visitors must book a time slot to ensure the number of people at the centres remains at a safe level at all times.

Tickets can be booked here for Aylsham and here for Caldecott.

Entry remains free but donations would be welcome towards the care of Redwings’ rescued residents.

There will be one-way routes around the centres to help visitors maintain social distancing.

Cafes and play areas will remain closed for now, while there will be phased access to the gift shops and a takeaway drinks and snacks service introduced over the coming weeks.

Visitors are encouraged to visit for the latest news on the available facilities before travelling.

For anyone not able to visit the charity’s Norfolk centres, there are still plenty of ways people can show their support, including donating to Redwings’ coronavirus appeal or sponsoring one of its Adoption Star horses and donkeys.

To support Redwings, call 01508 481000 or visit

Gym is so glad to be opening

Aylsham Community Gym will be opening on Saturday, and the team cannot wait to welcome members to its brand new home.

Annette Marsh said: “The safety of our fitness team, volunteers and members is our number one priority, but while things will look a little different, our gym will continue to provide a really great health and fitness experience.

“We’re striving to still offer a complete gym experience – indoor classes may return – but for now your membership will include our cardio area, our weights area, two online classes and two outdoor classes, there’s sure to be something for you.”

Hand sanitising and hygiene stations have been put in and there will be social distancing and extra cleaning to keep everyone safe and at ease.
Facilities include eight cardio stations, including bikes, treadmills, rowers and cross-trainers; a floor area with free weights; and a well-stocked weight training room.

Online classes will continue, as will some outdoor classes and Annette hopes that indoor classes will soon be back at the County Building soon.

Changing rooms and toilets will not be available for now but there will be a hand washing area and people are asked to turn up changed and ready to exercise.

Come and say goodbye to Jack

After just over four years working in the Aylsham Team of Churches, the Rev Jack Branford is moving on to a new post as Chaplain at Gresham’s School, in Holt.

And he and his family are hoping to say goodbye to as many parishioners as possible at special leaving services at the church on Sunday, August 2.

The first service will be a traditional Holy Communion service at 8am and then there will be an informal outdoor service in the churchyard at 10.15am.

Jack said everyone is welcome to come and join in the fun.

He also pointed out that public health precautions and physical distancing measures will be in place at all services in the churchyard and the building so hugs may have to wait until another day.