Author Archives: Gay Webster

Rare edition of Black Beauty being auctioned for Redwings

A limited 1915 edition of Black Beauty is being auctioned to raise funds for Redwings Horse Sanctuary in honour of the classic novel’s 140th birthday.

The rare copy, complete with beautiful colour illustrations by famed equestrian painter Lucy Kemp-Welch, was donated to the charity by a supporter who asked that the book be sold to help care for horses in need.

Anyone wishing to become the proud owner of this beautiful piece of history can view the book at the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell until November 25 as part of a special exhibition celebrating Black Beauty’s landmark anniversary. Silent bids are welcomed up until this date and bidding slips can be obtained and submitted at the Museum or by contacting Redwings on 01508 481000 or

Redwings, which has a visitor centres at Aylsham, rescues more than 150 equines every year from abandonment and neglect, and currently cares for more than 1,500 horses, ponies, donkeys and mules every day across the country.

The money raised from the auction will help care for the animals now safe in the sanctuary, and support Redwings’ rescue, welfare and education work nationwide.

The silent auction is just one of the ways Redwings and the museum, along with a number of organisations in and around Norwich, have partnered with Visit Norwich to celebrate Black Beauty’s special birthday this summer.

Redwings is also providing fun talks and activities at the museum for families on horse welfare during the school holidays, and has donated an eye-catching life-sized model of a black horse for its exhibition.

Everyone is also invited to meet and enjoy a cuddle with the charity’s very own Black Beauty – a stunning Friesian horse called Maya – at its Redwings Aylsham Visitor Centre, which is open every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, 10am to 4pm, and entry is free.

Maya, who was rescued from terrible neglect in 2010, is available to sponsor for just £12.50 per year which goes towards caring for Maya and her friends, providing another way for Black Beauty fans to honour their favourite book and help horses in need.

To find out more about Redwings, visit

Fly tipper prosecuted with help of landowner

A fly tipper was caught and prosecuted for two offences thanks to the combined efforts of a landowner and North Norfolk District Council.

The North Norfolk man was one of two individuals who drove to an area close to Northrepps Cottage, near Cromer, in July  last year.

They fly tipped a wardrobe and threw the wooden panels around the woodland. A CCTV camera installed by landowner Simon Gurney was triggered by the vehicle movement.

In August, one of the men returned to the same area after receiving a letter from the council asking him to come in for an interview under caution and covered the area with toilet roll.

Mr Gurney, who since 2007 has been managing a landscape restoration scheme in the area where the fly tipping happened, reinstating the Humphry Repton landscape of 1790, had put in the cameras due to a history of fly tipping on his land.

Annie Claussen-Reynolds, cabinet member for waste and environmental services, said: “Fly tipping on private land is a big issue and is a selfish act which can damage the environment. The council is determined to tackle the problem and is hoping to work more closely with landowners on projects in hot spot fly tipping areas.

“We would encourage landowners to contact us if they have fly tipping issues on their land and we can work with them to find a solution.”

Mr Gurney said: “Many landowners are suffering at the hands of fly tippers. “As well as being unsightly, this crime can cost landowners lots of money in clear up costs. If fly tipped waste isn’t cleared up, landowners can be prosecuted under illegal storage of waste legislation – which is obviously massively unfair.

“By working with the local authority in this case we managed to get a positive result which shows fly tipping will not be tolerated in North Norfolk.”

The man who was prosecuted pleaded guilty to both offences when he appeared before magistrates in Norwich on August 16. He was fined £120 for each offence, plus a victim surcharge of £30 and prosecution costs of £200 – a total of £470.

Hellesdon High’s A-level results success

A spokesman for Hellesdon High said the Wensum Trust school’s A-level results showed that students had made excellent progress in the sixth form, across a range of challenging academic and vocational subjects. Many students exceeded their target grades and achieved outstanding results. Overall, the year group achieved 76pc A*-C grades, with a 100% pass rate. Richard Taylor, director of sixth form, said: “We are really pleased again this year with the results students have achieved. There have been some excellent individual results and the students I spoke to this morning have gained places at their first choice universities, which is fantastic news. “My thanks go to all my colleagues and parents who worked hard to support the students in achieving these grades. To the students themselves – my very best wishes as you embark on university, apprenticeships or employment.”


A-level successes at City of Norwich School

CNS sixth formers have achieved an excellent set of results this year in A-levels.
A dozen students have achieved straight A and A* grades with three achieving three or more A*grades. Five students have successfully been offered places at Oxbridge or to study medical and veterinary sciences. The average points score has also improved overall from last year’s results. The percentage of A*-C grades is 71pc.
“We are pleased to have another great set of results that reflects the dedication and commitment of our students and everyone at home and at CNS who has supported them. Our vibrant, dynamic and large sixth form contributes greatly to school life, I will miss them all but am confident that they will do well in whatever path they choose,”  said  Jim Nixon, headteacher at CNS, an Ormiston Academy.
Girls continue to excel at CNS in the STEMM subjects of science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine. Three girls achieved A and A* grades in maths and physics.
Emma Cartner achieved A* in biology, A in chemistry and A in maths. She is going to Sheffield to study medicine.
Kara Kordtoimiekel achieved Bs in biology, chemistry and maths and is going to Nottingham University to study veterinary sciences.
She said: “I’m so excited, it’s all I have ever wanted to do, to be a vet.”
Lucy Rodd achieved A in biology, A in chemistry, A in maths and an A in her extended project qualification (EPQ). She is going to Birmingham to study biochemistry.
Kimberley Shone has also excelled in STEMM subjects. She is the title holder for the OAT Einstein Award and was chosen from 32,000 students across the OAT network to receive it. Kimberley will study mechanical engineering at Loughborough University after achieving two A*s in maths and physics and an A in product design.
CNS sixth form has a dedicated programme to help students apply for places within Oxbridge and Russell Group universities.
Mikey Matthews achieved four A*s in computer science, maths, further maths and physics. He is going to study computer sciences at Cambridge University.
Emma Wilson Kemsley achieved A*s in biology, computer sciences and physics and A in maths. She is going to Oxford to study biomedical sciences.
Edmund Jones achieved As in geography, economics and maths and will study economics and management at Oxford University.
James Whyman, 18, who was head boy at sixth form is delighted with his results. James will study natural sciences at Durham University after achieving four A*s in chemistry, maths, physics and his EPQ.
Student Rachel Brooker achieved fantastic results against the odds. Rachel studied hard for her A-levels during a time when she also needed to care for her mum who had a long-term illness. During Rachel’s studies, her mum sadly died from cancer. Rachel achieved an A* in philosophy and ethics, and As in politics, history and an EPQ. She is now going to Kings College in London to study history and international relations.
“I’m so happy, and I’m really proud. My dad cried on the phone when I told him. I’m thinking about becoming a political journalist after my degree.”
Karen Treby, sixth-form coordinator, said: “We’re so proud of Rachel, she is incredibly focused and organised and is an inspiration to her peers.”
Pictured, from left: Oxbridge students with Matt Sprake, deputy headteacher. From left: Mikey Matthews, (off to Cambridge University) Edmund Jones, and Emma Wilson Kemsley (off to Oxford University). Photo: ORMISTON ACADEMIES TRUST



Friends’ SOS to help North Walsham’s hospital

A Friends group supporting a North Norfolk community hospital has put out a rallying call for new key officials to carry on its vital work.
Since it launched in 1949, the North Walsham War Memorial Hospital League of Friends has provided buildings, medical equipment, improvements and extras worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.
It also played a key campaigning role in saving the unit during a community hospitals shake-up nearly a decade ago.
But its chairman for the past 36 years, Brian Elliott, fears its proud record could come to an end unless new members come forward to take on leading roles.
“Without the Friends, there might not be a hospital, and we have provided a lot of facilities that would not have otherwise have been funded. But the committee is getting old and we need younger people to take over otherwise we will have to fold.”
The Friends are keen to recruit a new chairman, treasurer and secretary ahead of an extraordinary general meeting being called for August 25 to discuss the crisis.
Mr Elliott, 82, aims to step down this year along with secretary and treasurer Brian Blackburn, 78, who has served for 31 years.
During the past 10 years the Friends have given more than £370,000, buying everything from a suite of training rooms – thanks to a big legacy gift from Charles Dewing – to televisions, specialist mattresses and a wild flower meadow.
The revamped hospital now has 24 beds for post-operative, geriatrics and palliative patients, along with physiotherapy and social services.
Hospital chiefs have praised the work of the friends, with Gary Wiltshire, fundraising manager for the Norfolk Community Health and Care Charitable Fund, saying: “It would be hard to over-estimate the benefits that the Friends have brought to the hospital and its patients, families and the wider community over the years.
“Not only is there the donations that have provided many important improvements in care and facilities, but the Friends provide a vital and supportive personal link between the hospital’s staff and the local community.”
To help the friends contact Mr Elliott on 01692 405105 or email

That’s what Friends are for

Some of items the Friends have bought in recent years include:
2009: Epidot scanner, armchairs, mattress covers
2010: hoist, chairs
2011: hoist slings, camera
2012: TVs for new hospital, mattresses and crash mats
2013: chairs, stools, exercise steps, restoration of war memorial, bike shed, garden furniture
2014: gait analysis software, powered recliner chair, summer house repairs, bench for war memorial
2015: manual recliner
2016: Dewing Suite, wild flower meadow
2017: Dewing Suite equipment
They also fund Christmas decorations and goodies for patients every year.

Brian Elliott (left) and Brian Blackburn are pictured at the hospital. Photo: RICHARD BATSON

Drayton family’s amazing tale of giving life

A Drayton family is celebrating a second chance at life, thanks to the determination to go to the other side of the world to make miracles happen – and a selfless woman who just wanted to keep her sister and nephew alive.

When David and Patsy Blyth’s son, Nathan, was 19, he was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease – a condition in which cysts form on the kidneys and can lead to kidney failure.

Ten years later, in 2007, Patsy was also diagnosed with the same disease – and was told she would need a transplant within five years.

“This knocked us for six,” said David.

With two members of the family suffering from the condition, the whole family was tested and they were all given the all-clear – and Patsy’s sister, Tracey Harwood, immediately offered to donate one of her kidneys.

“I didn’t even really think about it,” she said. “I just said I’d do it.”

Tests proved that although she was not a perfect match, Tracey was able to donate, and work began to prepare the sisters for the operation, which was pencilled in for the summer of 2012.

Tracey needed to lose weight before the operation and while she stuck religiously to her task, Patsy was put on the deceased donor list – and in July, David received the call from Addenbrooke’s Hospital that a possible kidney had been found.

“I called her on her mobile to tell her the news. I was in tears, she was in tears… I called Tracey to tell her and to see if she was OK with this after all the hard work she had gone through to give Patsy a new lease of life. I think I remember her crying, too,” said David.

Tracey and her husband, Gary, raced to their house from their home in Taverham and they all drove to the hospital together.

“Patsy received her kidney in the early hours of July 25, 2012 – a date we will never forget,” said David. “She is now leading a normal healthy life and Tracey was able to keep both her kidneys.”

Meanwhile, Nathan had moved to Australia to start a new life, was in a relationship and had two young children. But his kidneys were failing, he was told he needed an operation on his spine, his relationship had collapsed and he was told that, like his mum before him, he would need a transplant.

While he was waiting, he met a new partner, Cheryl, who, David says, played an enormous part in helping Nathan through his treatment and recovery, which included taking part in pioneering dialysis trials and treatment at home.

Back in England, David underwent tests at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital to see if he was a suitable donor, but learned that although he was the perfect match, his own kidneys were not in a good enough condition to transplant to his son.

“Once again, in steps Tracey,” said David. “She was determined to get rid of one of her kidneys!”

Although now a grandmother, Tracey said the decision was immediately obvious.

“I just felt there was a chance of a better life for Nathan if he had this operation, and if I could help I would. It turned out I was a better match for Nathan than I was for Patsy.”

David said everyone cried when the tests revealed the operation was possible – but there were still hurdles to clear.

“How on earth were we going to be able to pull this off?” he said. “Nathan was in Australia and was too ill to travel, and Tracey and all of us were here in England – 12,000 miles apart.”

So the family swung into action – David, Patsy, Tracey, Gary and their daughter Abbie planning flights and time off work and liaising between the “fantastic” renal team at the N&N – who David says played a vital role in bringing the whole project together – and the hospital in Melbourne.

“This trip was going to last three months providing everything went to plan,” said David. “All their employers were brilliant.”

On arrival in Melbourne there were more tests for Tracey, and the transplant was carried out on February 13 this year.

Tracey was discharged after four days and Nathan soon began to recover – so much so that he was able to fly back to Norwich last month to visit his grandfather, Wally, in hospital before he died.

“Without this fantastic gift of a new kidney he would not have been able to do this,” said David, who hopes his family’s story will raise awareness of the disease and also of altruistic kidney donation.

David says he is grateful every day for those who helped his wife and son get this second chance, and Tracey says she feels even closer to her nephew now than she did before.

“We were always close but it does feel strange being in the same room, thinking my kidney is inside him,” she said.

Pictured: Family group which includes: David (far left), Patsy (second left), Tracey (denim skirt)  Cheryl (blue dress) and Nathan (jeans).



Clarkes Aylsham up for auction

After five years standing empty in Aylsham Market Place, the historic Clarke’s Ironmongers is to be auctioned with a guide price of £450,000-£500,000.

The public auction by Horners will be held at Aylsham Town Hall on Wednesday, September 27, at noon, being sold as a freehold with vacant possession.

The detached building is mainly 18th century and is Grade II listed. Repairs and improvements are needed to be carried out by any potential new business.

There will be open house viewings on Saturdays, August 26, September 2, 9 and 16, 10am-3pm or by special appointment through sole agents Cockertons on 01692 500839 or 01263 711167 or through Horners on 0800 975 4416.