Successful start for recycling scheme

Broadland residents have played a role in the early success of a new kerbside recycling scheme.
In the first week alone, Broadland District Council collected more than 2,000kg of textiles, five large wheelie bins of batteries and enough small electrical items to fill 110 240-litre sized bins.
Councillor Judy Leggett, Broadland’s portfolio holder for Environmental Excellence, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the amazing response.
“Our residents rightly care about the impact they have on the environment and they are the best recyclers in the county.
“The new service has made it easier for them to recycle even more and divert waste, which is fantastic for our residents and the county!”
The new weekly collection service launched on April 4, allowing residents to leave out small electrical items alongside their rubbish and recycling bins.
People are asked to group the items and tie them up in separate carrier bags to be put next to the bin and left out by 6.30am on collection day.
Only items in standard plastic bags (not black sacks) will be collected. For larger items, the council offers a household bulky waste collection service for £28.80 for up to three items and £9.60 per additional item.
Broadland has also announced the launch of its new contract for all waste collection services, including street cleaning, with Veolia. The 10-year contract started last month and has an option for an extension of up to a further 10 years.
Cllr Leggett said: “We’re very pleased to be continuing our very successful working relationship with Veolia through the award of this major new contract.
“The contract brings together an excellent service for residents with innovative new approaches, which will help to make our waste and recycling services more effective and even more environmentally friendly.”
Every vehicle in the fleet is fully powered by Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), a bio-based liquid fuel made from vegetable oils and animal fats.
For more information about Broadland’s waste collection services, see

GREEN MACHINE: Cllr Judy Leggett with one of the new vehicles fully powered by HVO.

Variety show will remember Becky

Aylsham Players are staging fundraising variety evenings in memory of a legend of the local theatre scene.
The production, titled Another Blinkin’ Variety Show, is a tribute to the Players’ Lifetime President Becky Hilton, who died at the age of 63 in October 2020.
The shows, on May 13 and 14, will feature extracts and excerpts from scripts and skits written by Becky during her 20 years with the group.

Becky Hilton

The ensemble will present Becky’s original one-act play The Pageant, a contemporary comedy about a beauty competition on the Norfolk Broads.

Audiences will also be treated to never-before-seen literary work, including an exclusive reading from Becky’s unfinished novel Read The Label.
The show will also include nods to the artists across comedy, music and drama that influenced her style, such as ABBA, Eva Cassidy, and Victoria Wood.

Becky was renowned for her ability to develop local talent and the next generation of young performers will be featured throughout the evening, with a special appearance from Sutton School of Dancing.

Becky’s son Max Hilton said: “Although we were able to pay our respects after her passing, like many, we were limited by covid restrictions in place at the time and have often talked about planning a bigger event to celebrate Becky’s life and her work. We are delighted that the Aylsham Players have chosen this moment to present a special show full of joy, love and laughter.”

Hosted by Norfolk-based performance poet Lewis Buxton, the society hopes that the variety evening will showcase the full breadth and depth of her genius.

All proceeds from this intimate event will go towards securing the future of the Aylsham Players, a group close to her heart and one of many local theatre companies affected by the pandemic.
Angela Arscott, Aylsham Players’ member said: “Becky had such a great way of getting the best from people and encouraging them without making them feeling stupid. She gave me the confidence to start directing and helped me when I started writing.”

Sue Smith, Aylsham Players’ President, added: “Becky was talented in so many ways, not only as a writer and performer, but outside in the wider community as well. If ever we had concerns in rehearsals, Becky was a shining light and when she walked in the door, she made you feel like everything would be ok.”

Callum Adkins, a young actor, said: “Simply put, Becky is the reason I act and write. She was the first person to show me how to be funny and that I was good at it.”

Becky Hilton as The Witch in Robin Hood 2015

Aylsham Players: Another Blinkin’ Variety Show will be performed at Aylsham Town Hall on Friday, May 13 (7.30pm) and Saturday, May 14 (2pm & 7:30pm). Tickets cost £12 and can be purchased from Barnwell’s Newsagents and Creative Lincs in Aylsham.
For more information about the production, please email Max Hilton at

Dances from the movies

Dancers from across north Norfolk, including Aylsham and Wroxham, will be taking part in a stage show featuring routines from famous movies.
The Movie Magic show, being staged by the Broadland School of Dance, will be held at Norwich Theatre Royal on Sunday, May 1.
Students from across north Norfolk attend the school and more than 200 will take part in the Theatre Royal production.
They will perform routines from a selection of iconic films including Encanto, Pirates of the Caribbean, Shrek and many more.
Performances will take place at 2.30pm and 7pm. See for ticket details.

Huby clocks up 1000th game

Forty-eight years ago, Stephen ‘Huby’ Hagon made his football debut in the North East Norfolk League.
Now, nearly half a century on, Stephen has just clocked up his 1000th appearance in the league – at the age of 64.
But Stephen’s amazing longevity in the game doesn’t end there as, in fact, he’s played more than 1,700 games in total due to his added involvement in Sunday veterans’ football.
Stephen, who lived in Aylsham before moving to Oulton Street, was given the VIP treatment and made captain for the day as he turned out for Erpingham Reserves against Hemsby on April 16.
“It was fantastic and quite an emotional day,” said Stephen, who currently plays at full-back. “There were a lot of people watching and it was a beautiful sunny day.”
Father-of-two Stephen was presented with a special commemorative shirt, with the words Huby 1,000 written on the back, and he received an ovation when he was substituted after an hour. Erpingham lost the game 9-2 but Stephen still loves playing the beautiful game whatever the scoreline.

“Sometimes I can’t believe it,” added Stephen, whose nickname comes from his father Hubert.  
“I don’t know where the years have gone. As long as I can run up and down the pitch and don’t make myself look too stupid, I will carry on.

“I’m playing against kids whose fathers I used to play against and they turn up and say ‘Huby, are you still playing?’”
Stephen made his debut in the North East Norfolk League for Marsham on March 9, 1974. He came on as a winger in the game away to Trunch, which Marsham lost 6-0.
As well as Marsham and two spells at current club Erpingham, Stephen has turned out for Aldborough, Corpusty, Aylsham Wanderers’ A, Gimmingham, Happisburgh and Buxton. On Sundays he plays for Erpingham Veterans and Cromer Crab Veterans.

He has a career total of 57 goals and he has been sent off just once.
Stephen, who was a gardener for the National Trust at Blickling Hall for 47 years, added: “I enjoy every game I play. I just love my football and it’s not always the winning that matters – it’s the taking part.”

SPECIAL DAY: Stephen ‘Huby’ Hagon made his 1,000th appearance in the North East Norfolk League. PHOTO: SUSAN LEDGER

Aylsham FC clinch promotion

Aylsham footballers shot themselves into the history books when they clinched promotion to the Anglian Combination Premier Division for the first time ever.

Three cracking goals at promotion rivals Sprowston on Tuesday night sent them to the top of the first division – and two points ahead of title hopefuls East Harling with one game to go.

Players and coaching staff cheered and hugged at the final whistle, having won a game they only needed to draw.

But the champagne is on ice until Saturday’s home tie with Bungay, which could see them crowned champions.

No-one was happier than the scorer of the opening goal, midfielder Mark “Gasky” Gaskin, whose vital strike after some brilliant wing work by Bradley Butler, came just hours after he welcomed baby daughter Daisy into the world.

He hit the daddy of all shots to set his team on the way, with a 20-yard screamer into the top corner of the net after Aylsham survived an early Sprowston onslaught in the opening half an hour.

Mark Gaskin _ New dad and opening goalscorer

Aylsham turned the screw in the second half with Phil Read driving home from the edge of the box, and top scorer Jamie George rounding things off with a brilliant piece of control and sweet left foot shot.

The victory – their seventh on the spin – means that Aylsham, so often the bridesmaids in recent seasons, can now take their place in the top league, for the first time since they were formed, in their previous guise as Aylsham Wanderers back in 1947.

After the final whistle club chairman Ian Potter said:  “It’s a dream come true. It’s what we have been towards working towards for years.

“It is an outstanding team effort by the players, coaches & everyone involved in the club to get us to the premier league.

“We should do well. We have a terrific club and ground and 70pc of our squad are Aylsham boys. However, we are focused on winning the league title on Saturday.”

THE HISTORY BOYS: Aylsham teammates celebrate after clinching promotion.

Estate to host Jubilee party

The Blickling Estate is to stage Broadland’s Party in the Park event to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Booking for the free event, on Saturday, June 4, opens soon and Broadland residents are being invited to attend and help celebrate the momentous occasion.
“We are excited to bring together our communities in celebration of The Queen’s amazing reign and service to our country,” said Broadland District Council’s deputy leader Trudy Mancini-Boyle. “Blickling Hall provides the perfect setting for such an historic event, and we’re delighted to organise what promises to be an enjoyable outdoor event for all members of the family.”
The event will start at 5pm and guests will be able to enjoy the live-streaming of the BBC’s coverage of the Party in the Palace on the big screen.
There will be a range of food vendors and bars on site, and picnics available to purchase from the National Trust.
Guests are also welcome to bring their own picnics and advised to bring their own chairs and blankets.
The Council’s Tots2Teens crew will be there in the early evening providing crafts and activities for children aged five to 12 years old.
The event is accessible for all and limited tickets will be available.

The hall from the lake at Blickling Estate, Norfolk. Blickling is a turreted red-brick Jacobean mansion, sitting within beautiful gardens and parkland.

For more information visit and keep a close eye on Broadland District Council’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
Aylsham Town Council is also hosting a range of Jubilee events and there will be a full round-up in the next edition of Just Aylsham. Also see the council’s website at

Donations make all the difference

Donation points have been set up locally to help collect goods and money to help people in Ukraine and those who have fled the country.

Bakers and Larners, in Holt, Budgens and Budgens of Aylsham have all set up areas where donations can be left after being approached by Norfolk Support Ukraine UK.

Jess Read, of Bakers and Larners, said: “We are collecting essential items such as first aid and toiletries. We have been overwhelmed with the kind donations given by the local community, and we have sent 12 cages full of goods since our collections started on March 8.

“We also had a school minibus full of donations dropped off by St Andrew’s school in Aylmerton.”

Volunteer Andy Homer has been clocking up the miles, filling a trailer twice a week and taking clothes, food and medical necessities from Holt to the group’s sorting hub in Norwich, and Jess said the enterprise would not have been possible without him.

Andy’s Trailer

So far more than 300 packs of nappies, more than 2,500 packs of paracetamol and more than 1,000 bandages have been gathered along with clothes, books, toys and other items. Jess said Holt’s donations have added up to 28,838 items in total and were still ongoing.

Some will go help those still in Ukraine and some to those settling here.

“These people could be us”

When Darren Ward saw what was happening in Ukraine following the Russian invasion he knew he wanted to do something to help.

But initially he didn’t envisage that he would be driving to Poland with more than three tonnes of aid and replacing it with Ukrainian families fleeing the country to live somewhere safe.

“We were on holiday and saw the news that Russia had invaded,” he said. “We thought we had to do something to help these kids and women. We couldn’t just sit and do nothing.”

An appeal was started around the area, with clothes, toys, medical items and toiletries and sanitary goods flooding in. Darren took a week off work at 24-7 Taxis and, together with his friend Adam, set off in a van and a minibus bound for Medyka, a town on the border between Poland and Ukraine where thousands of families have ended up.

“We got there and there were all these people. Droves and droves of people,” said Darren. “An old guy and his wife had walked 67 miles with just a handbag. He looked me straight in the eye and asked if we could take them. We already had mums, kids, dogs… that was the worst bit, the look on that guy’s face.”

The two men did manage to take several families away and on to Krakow or to railway stations, where they made sure they got safely on the train. He said they were also constantly reassuring them that they were not like the people traffickers and other “shady” men with vans he saw at the aid centre

“The kids were on their phones to their dads and we were telling them that they were safe, that they were OK,” said Darren. “It’s a real hot mess out there. They came out with nothing – one young mum and her kids came with just a Trunki and a rucksack.”

The following day they went back to take more families from Medyka. “I hadn’t driven all that way just to get two people out,” said Darren, who has accused the UK government of not doing enough to get more of the displaced families back here or sending more aid where it is needed.

“There’s so much space there – they could easily land a helicopter with loads of aid.”

And with flights from Krakow to Luton costing “about £12” he said more people could be helped if visas were easier to get.

But in the meantime he plans to do more. He flew back, leaving Adam and the vehicles there to help others, but with diesel for the one-way trip alone costing £2,000, he is turning his attention to helping people when they arrive here.

“We have appealed for things which they need when they arrive. They have left with nothing and need all sorts of things. Anything unwanted can be sold to raise money to buy what is needed.”

He has not ruled out another trip – this time with more people.

And to make this possible he is hoping to get sponsorship from local businesses and hear from others who would like to join him.

“I’d like to have two teams of a bloke and a woman, which is more reassuring,” he said. “You can’t see it or smell it or feel it here in Norfolk and we can’t keep turning on the news and doing nothing. These people were going to work, having a coffee, living their lives one day, and the next they had nothing. They are just like us. It could BE us.”

To offer to help Darren, or to see what donations are needed, email or call 07916 247247. There is also a GoFundMe page – https://gofundme/3ee09901 – where you can donate and find out more about how local people are helping.