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Bouquet of praise for Aylsham from judges

Anglia in Bloom judges visited Aylsham this morning, Friday July 20, and were delighted with the town’s efforts in the annual regional competition.

The pair, Chris Durham and Nolan Mills, toured Aylsham in bright sunshine to view its many displays, sustainable planting and other projects.

“It’s all very, very good indeed – I’m very impressed with how you’ve kept the centre of town so clean and tidy,” said Mr Mills.

And his colleague added: “Community spirit and enthusiasm were on show right through our route – the schools, traders making an extra effort to make it look so attractive around the Market Place – so much drive and pride everywhere, it’s such an achievement.”

Their judging route included Marriott’s Way – where Aylsham High School pupils have helped clear brambles to allow wild flowers to grow – the new Bure Meadows pill box memorial garden, the allotments, Humphry Repton’s grave in Aylsham churchyard, and ended with lunch in Aylsham Heritage Centre.

Wendy Sadler, chairman of Aylsham in Bloom, is crossing her green fingers that the town has done enough to earn more recognition in the strongly-fought contest. Aylsham’s first entry, in 2016, saw it take home a prestigious Silver Gilt award.

“We thought we’d have another go at getting top marks this year as so much has been going on, especially with the Repton Festival,” she said.

Aylsham had played a key role in celebrations to mark the bicentenary of the death of Repton, the famous landscape gardener, and the judges had taken away a festival guide packed with events.

“Keeping everything watered when we haven’t had rain for so long has been a struggle,” she added. “We’ve had as many people involved as possible doing extra.”

The judges said they would be making allowances for all entrants’ drought-hit outside areas such as parks.

Aylsham will have to wait until September 12, when the regional results will be announced at Bury St Edmunds’ Apex Theatre, to find out whether it’s won another award in the Small Towns category.

Pictured: Wendy Sadler, chairman of Aylsham in Bloom, with Anglia in Bloom judges Nolan Mills (left) and Chris Durham. Also pictured: a post box and flower display outside Aylsham Town Hall.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Students put MP in the hot seat

Norman Lamb is known for his strong beliefs on topics from Brexit to mental health. Work experience students Sophie Smith and Evie Cowling, from Aylsham High School, interviewed him to find out more.

 

Norman Lamb is not known to follow the crowd. The North Norfolk MP stands up for what he believes in and speaks out on those beliefs.

We chose to talk to him about some of the issues which affect young people today, including Brexit and the problems facing teenagers with mental health problems.

Norman campaigned to stay with the EU. He said: “Brexit is a dangerous time, a big mistake and now the government has no plan for how to reach an agreement with the EU.”

He believes Brexit will be hugely damaging to young people, as it could affect those who wanted to travel, work abroad or move to another part of Europe. “Brexit creates barriers,” he said.

Norman has been a massive advocate of improving provision for mental health, which is seen as a big issue within our generation.

He agreed it was an important priority but said care quite often fails young people and families, with services not understanding and treating complex conditions.

“It’s wrong that families and individuals can be left waiting for long periods of time to receive health care and in some cases being turned away if, for instance, with someone with an eating disorder, their body mass index is not low enough to be treated, in terms of having an eating disorder,” he said. And one step we should take, he believes, is to get the subject onto school curriculums. “We can then tackle mental health with young people so that they can understand causes and recognise signs.”

Knowing which career path to take is another big issue for teenagers as they choose school and college courses and universities and we wanted to find out what inspired Norman to become an MP.

He told us he had been interested in politics since a young age and when he was a teenager he got involved in an election and then worked for an MP after leaving university. He loved it but wanted to represent his own beliefs. Most importantly, Norman wanted “to fight for change and make an impact on the world” and he feels privileged that he is able to do what he is doing.

His advice to young women our age was to “reach beyond as there is no glass ceiling”. He added: “In your lives you will have many opportunities and you should learn to reach for the stars.”

One issue for young people is student university loans. Norman explained his party’s ambition had been to make student finances “fairer”. But he accepted that his party had made a big mistake in making a pledge and not sticking with it.

He explained that, in his opinion, the system was fair in that those who went into high-paying jobs paid more and those who were in low paid jobs would sometimes never get to the point where they had to pay.

“We changed the system to get students paying more but only if they went into higher paying jobs as a result of their degree.” Norman then explained: “I see no problem with people who go on to receive very high salaries paying the full whack for their degree.”  He stated that if you don’t earn sufficient income to pay back your university loans they will be written off. “I completely understand why people get worried and anxious about the size of the loan, but the loan does get written off if your salary throughout the year hasn’t been high enough to repay it.”

His toughest question came at the end of the Facetime interview. We asked: “If you reached the final of I’m A Celebrity, what would you have as your final three-course meal?”

So, if you are cooking for him anytime, Norman likes a starter of scallops or Norfolk crab, for main Indian or Thai food and for dessert strawberries and ice cream.

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Young Aylsham YouTuber’s success story

How do you cope when all of a sudden your life completely changes? From a quiet schoolboy to a worldwide famous YouTube star, this is the reality for Dom Lawrence, DomVlogs. He spoke to classmates Sophie Smith and Evie Cowling.

 

Young vlogger Dom Lawrence has gone from an unknown schoolboy to a national name due to his pranks, challenges and personal stories filmed for the internet.

Dom has been filming since 2010 and, so far, his channel has attracted 322,000 loyal subscribers.

Dom is a 15-year-old boy who lives in Aylsham and goes to Aylsham High School as well as being a YouTuber.

He said: “I have been interested in YouTube since I was young, watching various different YouTubers such as Shane Dawson and Saffron Barker.”

He was inspired by his friends and people he was watching at the time and his skills and content have become more advanced over the years, gaining him more and more followers.

Dom describes his channel in three words – fun, creative and exciting – and describes himself as fun, adventurous and creative. That’s all present in his videos.

Dom worries that his channel affects his school life, with late-night editing and attending YouTube events when he should, perhaps, be doing homework or focusing on school.

But sometimes his attention on school and exams isn’t his main priority when his channel is involved. Dom admits that school hasn’t been the easiest since he started his channel and, despite him receiving a lot of nasty backlash and negative comments, he says he “wouldn’t change it for the world”.

He has had plenty of support, especially from his family who think what he is doing is “incredible”.

With his most successful video reaching more than six million views, his work is very popular and this is just the start. Dom has gone on to have many partnerships and collaborations, and has attended the most famous YouTube event ever this year, pushing him and his career further into the spotlight.

In 20 years’ time Dom hopes to be presenting and acting and still creating content for his 322,000 fans with that figure still rising. For new and upcoming YouTubers Dom’s advice is: “Be yourself, be confident and don’t follow the crowd.” He also said from experience: “Never let any hate or backlash affect you.”

For our final question in our interview we asked Dom: “If you could be any Disney character, who would you be and why?”

“The genie from the movie Aladdin released in 1992,” he said: “Because I could finally be free.” This is how Dom feels about his channel being open to the world and having opportunities for him to express himself without being confined in a bottle.

Hare-Raising Sunday morning of family fun in Aylsham

Aylsham Market Place will be packed with family fun and games this Sunday morning, June 24.

The Hare-Raising Sunday action is centred on Humphry Hare, the town’s very-own GoGoHare, who will be officially unveiled at 9am outside Barnwell’s newsagent, where the town Christmas tree usually stands.

Humphry’s unveiling will be the cue for the fun to begin, lasting until midday. It includes a giant skittle alley, children’s crafts and games, a teddy tombola, card game, Aylsham Gym activities, face painting and a Hare and Snail race where everyone can place small change on the line beside either an ornamental hare or snail who will then race along a marked course. The Royal British Legion (RBL) will also be running a pop-up Poppy Shop selling RBL merchandise.

At 9.30am Aylsham High School’s drama group will sing, followed by Bure Valley School’s choir at 10am and the Broadland School of Dance will perform two dances at about 10.15am.

There will be Country Market tasters to sample and the chance to take part in Aylsham’s Snail Trail – finding a coloured, laminated collection of paper snails dotted around businesses in the town. Each snail bears a letter of the alphabet and all together they spell out a phrase.

All the activities are outdoors while bacon rolls and a tuck shop will be available in the town hall.

Painted by artist Lisa Kirkham, Humphry is one of 18 decorated models dotted around the county, as well as 50 in Norwich, plus 164 Norfolk leverets, forming part of this summer’s GoGoHares trail in aid of the charity Break, which supports vulnerable children and young people.

Hare-Raising Sunday has been co-ordinated by Aylsham Town Council and involves 17 different local organisations. They will be raising money for their own causes and making a donation to Break.

The entire Norfolk GoGoHares trail also launches on Sunday at 9am and the hares, including Humphry, will be in place until September 8. County-wide trail maps will be available in the Market Place.

A tantalising glimpse of Humphrey’s eye – the only part of him that’s been revealed so far!

Hare-Raising Sunday morning of family fun in Aylsham

 

Aylsham Market Place will be packed with family fun and games this Sunday morning, June 24.

The Hare-Raising Sunday action is centred on Humphry Hare, the town’s very-own GoGoHare, who will be officially unveiled at 9am outside Barnwell’s newsagent, where the town Christmas tree usually stands.

Humphry’s unveiling will be the cue for the fun to begin, lasting until midday. It includes a giant skittle alley, children’s crafts and games, a teddy tombola, card game, Aylsham Gym activities, face painting and a Hare and Snail race where everyone can place small change on the line beside either an ornamental hare or snail who will then race along a marked course. The Royal British Legion (RBL) will also be running a pop-up Poppy Shop selling RBL merchandise.

At 9.30am Aylsham High School’s drama group will sing, followed by Bure Valley School’s choir at 10am and the Broadland School of Dance will perform two dances at about 10.15am.

There will be Country Market tasters to sample and the chance to take part in Aylsham’s Snail Trail – finding a coloured, laminated collection of paper snails dotted around businesses in the town. Each snail bears a letter of the alphabet and all together they spell out a phrase.

All the activities are outdoors while bacon rolls and a tuck shop will be available in the town hall.

Painted by artist Lisa Kirkham, Humphry is one of 18 decorated models dotted around the county, as well as 50 in Norwich, plus 164 Norfolk leverets, forming part of this summer’s GoGoHares trail in aid of the charity Break, which supports vulnerable children and young people.

Hare-Raising Sunday has been co-ordinated by Aylsham Town Council and involves 17 different local organisations. They will be raising money for their own causes and making a donation to Break.

The entire Norfolk GoGoHares trail also launches on Sunday at 9am and the hares, including Humphry, will be in place until September 8. County-wide trail maps will be available in the Market Place.

A tantalising glimpse of Humphry’s eye – the only part of him that’s been revealed so far!

Norfolk library events help loneliness misery

Research has shown that loneliness can be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and is associated with depression, high blood pressure and dementia, according to Margaret Dewsbury, chairman of Norfolk County Council’s communities committee.

Since Norfolk County Council launched its In Good Company campaign to tackle loneliness in the county, the library service has more than doubled the number of events it runs which are suitable for people who may be experiencing loneliness or social isolation.

And from June 21-23 more than 20 council libraries will be hosting In Good Company events and activities as part of the national Great Get Together project.

It’s an approach which earlier this year drew the praise of Arts Council England which highlighted the way it was helping to build community cohesion and promote positive ways that people can connect with their neighbours – recognised nationally as the most important way of tackling loneliness and social isolation.

Jan Holden, head of libraries and information, said: “From afternoon teas, knit and natter and board games to colour me calm sessions and book groups, our regular programme of events encourages people to enjoy the company of others whilst taking part in a fun activity or simply chatting over a cuppa.

“For the Great Get Together weekend, we’ve incorporated some extra events into our programme, including Open Gardens at Blofield, Making Music Day at Aylsham, and a sing along and invitation to write a letter to an isolated person at Hunstanton.  We hope lots of people will come along and join – it’s a great way to connect with people and make new friends.”

The first Great Get Together took place last year.  It was the idea of the friends and family of murdered MP, Jo Cox, to mark the first anniversary of her death.  The event aims to bring friends, neighbours and communities together to celebrate everything they have in common.

Councillor Dewsbury added: “Loneliness is a major national issue and we know that it affects people of all ages.

“We are leading the way with our In Good Company campaign and recently announced £2.4m funding to tackle loneliness in the county.  Over the next three years we’ll be working with partner organisations to develop new and innovative ways of improving the health and wellbeing of people affected by loneliness and social isolation in our communities.

“It’s great to see our libraries taking part in the Great Get Together again this year and offering such a varied range of events and activities to help to ensure that no one needs to spend a lonely day in Norfolk if they don’t want to.”

For more information about how you can get involved with In Good Company, visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/ingoodcompany

For events and activities in Norfolk County Council’s libraries visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/libraries

For more information about the Great Get Together visit www.greatgettogether.org


 

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