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Winner of Aylsham by-election announced

Liberal Democrat candidate Sue Catchpole (pictured) has won a seat on Broadland District Council to represent Aylsham.

She gained 1,018 votes in yesterday’s (May 24) by-election in the town. Conservative Hal Turkmen came second with 865 votes and Labour’s Peter Harwood was third, with 328 votes.

The turnout was 34.13pc and there were six spoilt votes.

Sue and her husband Richard have lived in Burgh Road, Aylsham, for four years, moving from Hellesdon where she was a parish councillor.

She has two adult sons and used to run a village shop and Post Office servining Bradfield and Antingham. Since then she has started a business in machine manufacturing (Samplex, now Tekpro, in North Walsham).

More recently Sue has had a small tourism business arranging and managing coach tours to France.

She volunteers part-time with a local advice agency.


 

‘Learning to live again’ Tiff Youngs exclusive

Claire Mutimer and Suzy Coulson, of The Backstory podcast, with an exclusive interview with Tiffany Youngs, wife of international rugby star Tom, about her cancer diagnosis, treatment, terminal prognosis, shock remission and the impact it has had on her four-year-old daughter and family.

At the age of 28, Tiff Youngs appeared to have an amazing life – recently married to Tom Youngs, the England, Lions and Leicester Tigers rugby player, with a new baby girl Maisie and a lovely family home in Leicester.

However this was all about to be turned on its head when she found out in 2014 that she was suffering from Hodgkin Lymphoma.

The latest Backstory podcast, which went live today (May 22), tells the remarkable story of how Tiff dealt with three years of ill health and numerous different treatments, including a stem cell transplant, only to be told the devastating news in May 2017 that her cancer was terminal.

Tiff said she told her daughter: “I said you know mummy hasn’t been very well, unfortunately mummy has got to go to heaven….and she was like ‘Oh OK so I never see mummy again’.” She was, at one point, given between four weeks and a year to live.

In the interview, Tiff talks to Claire about her health and emotions, and the extraordinary turnaround which sees her now in remission from the disease. This conversation with her daughter was quite different. “I said you know mummy was ill and lost all her hair, mummy’s all better now and so mummy isn’t going to heaven any more….and you suddenly just saw a different person in her…just a spring in her step,” she said.

Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that affects the development of lymophocytes (a type of white blood cell) in the blood, bone marrow and lymph glands. It affects the immune system and is often first diagnosed on finding swollen lymph nodes in your armpits or groin. Around 12,000 people are diagnosed with a type of lymphoma every year. Hodgkin Lymphoma refers to the specific lymphocytes which are affected.

Tiffany’s husband Tom plays for Leicester Tigers Rugby Club, is the current club captain and has received 28 England caps, as well as Lions success. Younger brother Ben also plays for Leicester and England. Ben opted to miss the 2017 British & Irish Lions Tour of New Zealand following Tiff’s terminal prognosis in order to support Tiff and Tom. The brothers grew up in Aylsham. Youngs Park in the town is named after the family after they donated land for the park.

Tiff’s backstory podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, Acast and other podcast directories.  Find out more at thebackstorypodcast.co.uk or follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. If you would like more information then you can get in touch with Claire and Suzy on hello@thebackstorypodcast.co.uk or by calling 07990 582683/07595 335855.

Tiffany with husband Tom and daughter Maisie

Picture: Claire Mutimer

REVIEW: Salt, presented by Norfolk theatre company fEAST,

It is a fine balancing act transferring the mood and characters from a book to the stage. We each have an individual appreciation of what is going on in the book but, on stage, we rely on the director and cast to visualise the story for us.

So the years spent by Robin McLoughlin adapting Jeremy Page’s atmospheric novel Salt for the stage were not wasted if the performances in Aylsham were anything to go by.

And the direction by Dawn Finnerty ably set up the mood of isolation in a turbulent north Norfolk landscape which shapes the lives of three generations of one family as they struggle for survival in the wetlands – that wilderness between the land and the sea.

The tragi-comic story is told through the eyes of their youngest member, Pip, played by Sam Thompson, who talks us through four decades of blood, smoke, mud, tears and fish.

The show begins in Morston, in 1944. Pip’s grandmother ‘Goose’ (Sally Blouet) rescues a German airman buried up to his neck in the marsh. Nine months later the German vanishes in a makeshift boat, leaving Goose with a new-born daughter, Lil.

Lil (Katie-anna Whiting) grows up from a strange child to the object of two brothers’ desire, and that’s when her life takes a tragic turn.

The brothers, played by Robin McLoughlin and Tom Girvin, fill the narrative gaps with humour as well as a deep sense of foreboding.

Blustering throughout the tale is Owen Evans as Bryn Pugh, a Falstaff character who acts as minder, friend and mentor to the family.

There are many “gaps in time” as we pass through the decades and some of these transition points are confusing like when the young lovers banish themselves to the Fens to escape the opprobrium of the community before their illegitimate baby is born.

But it is the beauty of the Norfolk dialect and mannerisms, which are effortlessly displayed here by the mostly home-grown cast, and the many references to local place names which give the production a powerful sense of place and time.

It would be hard to single out any one actor as each fulfilled their roles impeccably especially as they were up against some exacting minimalist props – mainly wooden crates and half a broken boat.

If anything is, then the star of the show is that bootiful, gloriously open, mystical but unforgiving patch of land where folk dew dif’runt.

Patrick Prekopp

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Big effort for cancer charity

Brighton Marathon runners Martin Garrard and Andrew Graveling have topped the £3,300 mark in their efforts to help cancer.
The weight training buddies took part in the 26-mile race on April 15 to raise money for Cancer Research UK.
The pair chose Cancer Research UK because they had both lost family and friends to cancer.
Martin said the last few miles of the race had been really tough as both had been carrying injuries on the day.
But he said: “Giving up never entered our heads. We dug in and finished it.”
He added: “The crowd were fantastic, including family members, cheering us on all the way.
The total so far is £3,380, which is triple their target and more.
Martin said: “The support and generosity from people has overwhelmed us.
“We would like to thank everyone who wished us well and everyone who kindly donated to a very worthy cause.”
Andrew is a local postman and Martin owns Holt Fish Bar.
See https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/team/double-dragons

 

Adrian in the saddle for Edinburgh Fringe

Norfolk Youth Musical Theatre director Adrian Connell is taking to his bike to fund ths group’s latest visit to a national theatre festival.
He is currently nearing his target of raising £1,500 to enable the group to take its production of Battle of Boat’ to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Adrian will be completing a fundraising cycle ride from Sheringham to Norwich (37 miles) on Sunday, May 27.
He currently has £964 towards his target.
He said: “All of the cast members have paid for their own accommodation and travel and we are now trying to raise money to pay for venue hire, royalties, radio mics, printing and all the other additional costs associated with putting on a show at the Fringe. They have raised most of it but are £1500 short. Please help me help them to achieve their target.”
Charlie Windle (13), from Norwich, who plays the part of Beagle, did a similar bike ride for 25 miles and raised £472 for the trip. Also Mabel White (11), from Aylsham, who plays Florance, did a bake off at her primary school and raised £54. Both are going to Edinburgh. The group also raised £1,046 at a quiz nigh towards the total needed of £2,500. “So we are nearly there, about £500 to go,” said Adrian.
He added: “I am astonished by the amount of support I have received. I thought the ride would get around £200/£300 but so far people from local choirs, friends who have seen shows and many people who were involved in it have donated.”
Norfolk Youth Music Theatre first performed The Battle of Boat at the Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich in November.
It is a new musical set in a seaside town on the English south coast in 1916. The carefree happiness of a group of young children is short-lived as they find themselves discovering more and more about the First World War that is unfolding around them.
It was written by Jenna Donnelly and Ethan Lewis Maltby, who have been writing together for several years, creating original cinematatic musicals.
Adrian, the former head of music at Broadland High School, started Norfolk YMT in 1995, seeing scores of youngsters getting the chance to perform well-known and more obscure musicals on stage. It’s now his 23rd year and he has directed more than 70 shows. He has been teaching piano privately since he was 19.
He said he enjoys cycling but said: “I like cycling along flats, rolling downhill and walking uphill. I take my bike to Derbyshire and do some tracks and also the bike will go to Edinburgh for some rides around North Berwick.”
As for training, he says: “Whichever way you leave Sheringham you start with an hour uphill. You’re knackered before you start!”
People can donate via JustGiving Crowdfunding Page at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/adrians-fundraising-cycle-ride. Also see more at www.norfolkymt.net.

 

Fundraising is a gift for Victoria

Aylsham High student Victoria Lloyd is forgoing presents for her 16th birthday to help a charity close to her heart.
She asked friends and family to donate to Pancreatic Cancer Research in memory of her grandad Richard Lloyd, who recently died.
“My grandad recently passed away from pancreatic cancer which was unfortunately discovered too late to treat,” she said. “This disease is so incredibly difficult to detect and I am trying to raise money so that other families and individuals do not have to experience the effects of this silent killer.”
On her birthday, Victoria, from Sloley, organised a charity netball game against the teachers.
“I’m proud to say that we got one person from nearly every department which was amazing to see. The game was extremely competitive which made it great fun for the students who watched but even though there were some losers not a single teacher left without a smile on their face.
“Many students and teachers turned up to watch and we raised a total of £128.68 in that one lunchtime.”
Victoria has set a target of £300 by her 16th birthday on May 2, saying: “This year I am asking those who know me to refrain from giving presents and donate to this cause instead.”
As well as the money from the match, she has collected £346 online through Just Giving.
She said: “I can honestly say that this has been the best birthday ever. There is no feeling quite like holding a microphone and speaking in front of all these students that have come to support me and my cause. I had such a close bond with my grandad and he always believed in me no matter what. I could never do as much for him as he did for me but this is a start.
“I would just like to thank everyone who got involved and participated including my sister Holly and my parents. It honestly means the world.”

Anyone who would like to help Victoria can visit her page on Just Giving.

Go wild with TV’s Nick at Pensthorpe

TV presenter, author and naturalist Nick Baker is set to open The Pensthorpe Conservation Trust’s annual community event Wild About the Wensum on Saturday, May 12.

Intrepid explorer and natural history expert Nick, who has presented Weird Creatures (C5), The Really Wild Show (BBC One) and Springwatch Unsprung (BBC Two), will officially open the event, meet members of the public and host a bug hunt.

Wild About the Wensum, now in its 12th year, is a special one-day event held by the Pensthorpe Conservation Trust with the sole focus on encouraging people of all ages, especially families who often don’t get the chance to be outdoors, to enjoy the Wensum Valley, within which Pensthorpe Natural Park is located.

This year’s theme, Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow, takes a look at the plight of the hare in the English landscape and celebrates Norfolk as one of the last strongholds for hares in Britain.

Local wildlife groups and nature charities such as the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Wensum Alliance and Norfolk Bee Keepers Association will be in attendance plus there will be a special trail to follow and free hands-on nature activities to try.

Deb Jordan, co-owner of Pensthorpe Natural Park said: “We are thrilled that Nick Baker, someone as passionate about the natural world as we are, will be joining us for our community day. Nick shares our enthusiasm for re-engaging with nature and nothing encapsulates our desire to inspire our visitors more than Wild About the Wensum. We want to encourage all generations to get outdoors and embrace the delights of nature – it’s accessible to all!”

Nick said: “Pensthorpe not only boasts a fabulous location within Norfolk’s environment-rich Wensum Valley but it is a great example of an attraction with a cause – keen to do nothing more than encourage visitors to reconnect with the outdoors. It’s an ethos which is very close to my heart and I look forward to joining them and being part of the event.”

Nick will be hosting a meet and greet in the picnic area at 10am, officially open Wild About the Wensum at 11am, run an interactive bug hunt for children at 2pm, and at 3pm will host a book signing and talk entitled How to Make a Naturalist.

As part of his day at Pensthorpe, Nick will also be invited to judge an art and photography competition, which 39 local primary and junior schools have been invited to take part in.

As the event is aimed at families and those in the local community, Pensthorpe reduce admission prices to a nominal fee of £2 per person for tickets booked online in advance, and £3 per person on the day. Under 3’s are free. Please note there will be an additional charge to access indoor play area Hootz House.

To book tickets or for more information visit pensthorpe.com.

Pictures: PAUL CARTER and STEVE ADAMS

 

Quality award for Aylsham High’s Eagles

The success of Aylsham High’s nurture group has been recognised for its work with a national quality award.

The team behind the Eagles at the school was presented with Marjorie Boxall Quality Mark Award by Helen Stollery, head of quality and standards for the organisation.

She visited the school in December to see how the nurture group worked with students to help build confidence among the students.

Majorie Boxall was and educational psychologist who started nurture groups in the later 1960s. She saw children starting school without the inner resources to cope and how they became difficult, often ben sent to “special” schools.

Helen said: “There is a strict set of standards nurture groups have to meet to be awarded this quality mark, as well as the school, and we also measure the social, emotional and educational impact.”

At the end of her report, Helen stated there was a “warm and genuine affection” within the group which “encouraged the relationship between staff and children to flourish”.

There have been 140 students through the Eagles since it was set up nine years ago. And 40 schools from all over the country have been to see the group in action, with the aim to introduce something similar in their own.

Head of nurture Danny Sweatman proudly received the award along with his team. “I feel incredibly lucky to work here,” he said. “It’s incredible to be part of the school and this community.”

He praised his team, which includes TA Sue Tartt and horticultural volunteers Wendy Sadler and Shelley Hudson.

Head Duncan Spalding said: “It’s a feather in our cap. The Eagles are integral to what we do and what makes us special.”

The Eagles can be summed up, however, with comments from the students, who have said: “They have the magic touch”, “teachers always listen” and that the group is like “heaven on earth”.