Author Archives: Gay Webster

Eaton’s woodland wonder workers

It began with a hugely-successful community effort to reclaim a neglected ancient hedge.

Six years later, it’s led to the formation of a Friends group which is nurturing a much-loved woodland.

And the hard work of the Friends of Danby Wood was recognised when the group was awarded a silver gilt certificate and hand-turned wooden trophy for Best Woodland in the Anglia in Bloom competition, announced this autumn.

Although the Friends group was only formed last year, its 30-odd volunteers have already carried out a lot of clearance work and litter-picking in the wood, as well as planting hundreds of native trees, thousands of bluebells, putting up bat boxes and improving access with two sets of steps.

And on Saturday November 25, at 10am, everyone is invited to meet in the Marston Lane car park and join other volunteers planting 450 more young trees in the 4.5ha wood.

The Friends are guided by Matt Davies, project officer with Norwich Fringe, which manages the wood on behalf of its owner, Norwich City Council.

Kathleen Rowlands, a committee member of Eaton Rise Residents’ Association (ERRA) and co-ordinator of the Friends of Danby Wood, said the project had brought the community together. Volunteers aged from 10 to people in their 80s, worked side by side, with jobs allocated according to abilities. Clearance work usually ended with a big bonfire and a tea break with homemade flapjacks.

ERRA and Kathleen were the driving forces behind the earlier Ipswich Road Ancient Hedge project which saw volunteers improve the soil, and plant fruit-bearing trees along part of the line of the hedge, which had been damaged in a 2003 storm.

The project caught the imagination of local people and thousands of pounds were donated to a Hedge Fund. Supporters also managed to get grants, donations of trees and other help from businesses, the city council and charities.

Kathleen said the soil was now vastly improved and the trees bore berries which attracted birds, butterflies and other insects.

She added: “As with the hedge we aim to improve the biodiversity of the wood and create a peaceful environment for wildlife and visitor alike. “

Travel agents launch fifth annual gift appeal in aid of Break charity

Hays Travel, in Aylsham and Sheringham, has launched its fifth annual Santa’s Sleigh appeal to spread cheer and change the lives of vulnerable children and young people this Christmas.

The team is asking people to pop into either branch and donate new, unwrapped items such as toys, gift sets, toiletries, household goods, stationery items or books in aid of the children and families that Norfolk-based charity Break supports throughout East Anglia.

Break supports young people in care, children with disabilities and families who need support, helping them through difficult times and securing a brighter future.

Branch manager of Hays Travel Aylsham (former CAS Travel) and initiator of the appeal Jo Dobbie said: “I like to be involved with the local community and there is nothing better than supporting a local charity especially in the festive season. I absolutely love Break’s ethos and this is a great opportunity for us to show support.

“I initially started Santa’s Sleigh at the Aylsham branch, and then got Sheringham on board with it too. It created bigger awareness for ourselves and for the appeal and we’re pleased to say they will be joining us again this year.”

Danielle Gravestock, senior fundraising officer for Break, said: “We can’t thank Hays Travel enough for the support they give us each year by organising their Santa’s Sleigh appeal.  We are very grateful to all their staff for organising the appeal and everyone who is contributing goods to support it. These gifts really do make a difference to the children and young people we support.”

Santa’s Sleigh started on Saturday and will run for four consecutive weeks until December 9.

Pictured are branch manager Jo Dobbie, Sam Antoniades-Cork, Mark Heffer and Karen Ashford.

 

Police charge pair with Sprowston burglary

A man and woman have been charged in connection with a burglary in Sprowston.  

Perry Goodall, 37, and Michelle Price, 34, both from Watling Road, were charged with a burglary on the afternoon of Wednesday  November 1 on Linacre Avenue. Goodall was also charged with a second burglary on Branksome Road which took place on October 21.

Both appeared at Norwich Magistrates’ Court on Saturday November  4. Perry Goodall was remanded in custody and Michelle Price was released with bail conditions.

Both are due to appear at Norwich Crown Court on Friday December 1.

PC Andy Mason, engagement officer for Broadland, said “Entry has been forced on both occasions and an elderly female occupant was present during the burglary on Linacre Avenue where the offenders were disturbed before they made their escape. An officer has been round to conduct a reassurance visit and the lady appreciated the support of her neighbours but this was still an understandably shocking experience for her. I would encourage residents to report any suspicious activity directly to the police on 101. It is also worth considering forming a Neighbourhood Watch to share information to both your neighbours as well as other residents.”

If you were a witness to either of these crimes or can provide any further information please contact DC Steve Gladwin at Bethel Street CID on 101 or contact CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


 

Vote for Hellesdon’s Inca as top PAT dog

 

A Hellesdon woman’s gentle, much-loved pet has made it to the finals of a national competition to find the nation’s top therapy dog – and needs your vote to win the crown.

Eight-year-old Inca and her owner Sheena Scrimgeor have been making a positive difference to the lives of scores of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust  patients from across both counties for the past six years.

Inca, a Labrador-Staffie cross, is a Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog, visiting people in hospitals, and is in the final six of the charity’s PAT Dog of the Year contest.

She and Sheena beat hundreds of other entrants from across the country – including 70 from the eastern region alone – to make the shortlist and now need the public’s support to help them lift the title.

The pair will find out whether they have won on live TV at next year’s Crufts Dog Show, which takes place at the NEC Birmingham in March. Sheena said she was “blown away” to find out Inca had been shortlisted.

“I’m very pleased for the patients as they made a great effort to write lovely statements to support Inca’s entry in the competition,” she added. “The only sad thing is that my mother won’t be able to watch. She thought the world of Inca and loved Crufts and watched it every year, but died in March at the grand old age of 101.

“She would have loved to see Inca up on stage in the arena in front of crowds of people being recognised for the work she does. “If Inca wins, I will dedicate the award to her. I’m sure she would have been proud of us both.”

Staff and patients have been sending messages of support for Sheena and Inca. They include this, from Veronica Rackham, of Thurne Ward, Hellesdon Hospital: “Inca is a beautiful dog with a lovely calming nature. She is gentle and loving and will happily sit and be stroked by everyone. I believed she has a very positive impact on all she meets and I know that her visits are very eagerly awaited and enjoyed by many.”

Sheena and Inca visit Hellesdon Hospital every Monday, The Julian Hospital on Tuesdays and the Norvic Clinic on Fridays, as well as fitting in regular visits to Hellesdon High School, a prison and the University of East Anglia. * Vote for Inca by filling in the form in the current edition of Yours magazine or by visiting www.yours.co.uk/PATDogs. Voting closes on December 31.

 

Multi-million pound investment in sport for North Norfolk

A £12.6 million investment in state-of-the-art sporting facilities in North Norfolk will go before councillors next week.

The multi-million pound investment would see a £10 million new leisure centre with a swimming pool at the Splash site in Sheringham and a £2.6 million indoor tennis centre with gym at a new North Norfolk Community Sports Hub in Cromer, with satellite tennis facilities across the district at Fakenham, Wells and North Walsham.

The proposals will be considered at the council’s overview and scrutiny meeting next Wednesday. The reports will then go to Cabinet on December 4. If the proposals are supported they will go to full council on December 19 for the funding to be agreed.

Tom FitzPatrick, leader of North Norfolk District Council, said: “We know that keeping fit and active is important for residents. These ambitious plans would see a £12.6 million investment in sport and active leisure; that’s a wise investment for the Council as well as good news for the community who will benefit from better sports facilities.”

The North Norfolk Community Sports Hub would be created in partnership with Cromer Academy and part-grant funded by the Lawn Tennis association (LTA) and should be built by mid-2019 if councillors approve the proposals.

The new facility will include:

  • Three indoor tennis courts
  • Changing rooms
  • Toilets
  • Reception area
  • New bar/lounge and viewing gallery
  • 20 station-gym with an area for free weights and fitness
  • Studio space for fitness classes

In addition, a grant from the Lawn Tennis Association will provide for improved tennis facilities across the district, to drive up participation.

Building costs are estimated to be £2.6m for a ‘framed fabric’ indoor tennis facility or nearly £4 million for a traditional built facility.

Nick Amis, chairman of Cromer Lawn Tennis and Squash Association, said: “It has always been my aim to increase the sporting facilities at our club and we have been fortunate to have received support for very many years from NNDC in various forms. This project will enable us to increase our already well established coaching programme for 140+ juniors. We will be able to accommodate all ages and abilities in the new facility, bringing in other local clubs to use the new indoor courts and keeping fitness levels up, which is a key part of the NNDC plan for healthy living.”

Cromer Academy principal Dr Geoff Baker said: “These are fantastic and creative proposals that will make a lasting difference both to our pupils and the wider community.

“Sport is already a really important part of life at Cromer Academy and this investment will give our young people even more opportunities to take part both as individual players and in teams, and develop key social and leadership skills.”

The feasibility study for the replacement of the Splash Leisure and Fitness Centre in Sheringham considered three options: refurbishment of the existing site; a new build and a new build plus a health spa facility.  The new build option was by far the best value and will be taken forward if the proposal is approved by councillors.

It is recommending that a new leisure centre with a swimming pool is built on the site, partly funded by the sale of land for a hotel development.

The new build option, without the health spa, would see:

  • A £10 million investment in a new leisure and fitness centre
  • A 25m six lane pool
  • A learner pool
  • A splash pad/ fun water
  • A 50 station gym health and fitness suite
  • One large dividable studio
  • A spin studio
  • Two treatment rooms
  • A café

The study estimates that the new leisure centre will take around two years to complete and be open to the public from October 2020. Splash will continue to be open as usual to customers and members while future investment plans are considered by the authority.

PICTURE: CHRIS TAYLOR PHOTO

REVIEW: Farndale at Sheringham

The first night of the Cromer and Sheringham Operatic and Dramatic Society (CSODS) production of We Found Love and an Exquisite Set of Porcelain Figurines Aboard the SS Farndale avenue showed off the company’s great talent.

To deliberately act badly requires a great skill which the members of CSODS managed to pull off well, although there was now and again times where the acting seemed to lose direction.

The play, by David McGillivray and Walter Zerlin Jn, is one of a series of comedy-farce plays featuring the exploits of a group of members of an amateur dramatic society and their ventures into the world of the thirties musical comedy.

The three ladies of the Farnsdale Townswomens Guild Dramatic Society, played by CSODS members Chrissie Robertson, Nona Gray, Kerry Davis and also including the very funny Nick Bird, attempt to bring the elegance, glamour and enchantment of a thirties musical to the stage.

This is a riot of a performance – collapsing scenery, a man cast as a woman, a woman cast as a man, romantic interludes between unlikely couples, a sea captain with a full beard wearing a skirt and heels, a very questionable underwater sequence and shipwreck on a tropical island. The ladies of the Farndale Avenue Dramatic Society certainly carry on regardless and rise above the terrible acting and dubious scenery to bring the thirties back to the stage.

Once again a good performance by CSODS at Sheringham Little Theatre.

Kevin and Sandra Stone

Eaton dementia marketplace event a big success

Visitors to a Marketplace event organised by Eaton Dementia Friends were able to take part in exercise sessions, bowling, enjoy free tea and cakes, and browse a large number of information stalls on a huge range of topics.

One outcome of the event is the launch this month of CAMEO, an initiative to organise social activities for people living with dementia, and their carers.

Councillor Caroline Ackroyd, the driving force behind the Marketplace, said: “It was brilliant to watch so many conversations going on and to see people bowling with Sportspark and exercising with Tracey from Extend – I believe that the oldest participant was 96!”

She thanked everyone who had helped make the event a success, including stallholders and the church, which provided the venue for free.

Another marketplace is planned for the spring.

CAMEO (Come and Meet Everyone), a programme of get-togethers events for those who are lonely, isolated or getting increasingly forgetful, has launched in Eaton this month.

Committee members of the Eaton Village Residents’ Association (EVRA), in collaboration with St Andrew’s Church, Eaton, have worked hard over the summer to organise the project.

“We know that keeping our social contacts alive, getting out and learning something new, are all ways to keep mentally fit into old age,” said spokesman Naomi Godding.

“There has been immense goodwill shown to this project already, with contributions of time, expertise and resources from individuals and organisations such as Reality estate agents who have kindly paid for our advert in this month’s Just Eaton and Cringleford.

“We shall be seeking enough funds to ensure that, once the project gets off the ground, it remains airborne.”

  • The Eaton CAMEO project held its first session in St Andrew’s Church Hall, Eaton, on October 25 and the next will be on November 22, from 2.30pm to 4pm, and then on the fourth Wednesday of the month from January 24 2018. Contact the organisers at EatonCAMEO@e-c-a.ac.uk Tel: 01603 464937  

 

 

Sprowston dancers in Peter Pan show

Sprowston dancers will be among scores taking to the stage in November to perform a version of Peter Pan.

The show is the first from the Perfect Performers School of Dance, launched two years ago by Blake sisters Lara, 27, and Amie, 24, who teach ballet, modern, tap, jazz, and acro.

They hold lessons at Sprowston High School, as well as in Old Catton and Barford.

From Norfolk to Neverland will feature 140 dancers, ranging in age from three to 54-year-old Teresa, the sisters’ mum, who will be taking part in a tap-dancing routine.

Lara and Amie have been dancing since they were three. They learned their craft at the Busybodies Stage School, Dereham, where they later became assistants for the younger children’s lessons and learned to love teaching.

They then went on to study and qualify as dance teachers at the Masters Performing Arts College in Raleigh, Essex.

  • From Norfolk to Neverland can be seen at the Walter Roy Theatre, the Hewett School, Cecil Road, Norwich, on November 18 at 2pm and 6.30pm. Tickets cost £8 for children, £10 adults. http://perfectperformers.wixsite.com