Do you know everything that’s on offer in Aylsham?

A Community Expo is being held in Aylsham on Saturday, March 4, aimed at anyone who lives or works in and around the town and who wants to find out what is on offer in the area.

Hosted by Aylsham Town Council at the Town Hall, the event will include stalls from voluntary and community sector organisations and will give old and new residents an opportunity to come together to discover the variety of what goes on in the town.

Doors open at 9am and refreshments will be available.

The event coincides with the 15th anniversary of the farmers market, so there will also be a special market with regular stallholders alongside past stallholders.

There will be a colouring competition for younger residents, held through the Town Council Information Stand on the day.

Aylsham Town Hall where the Aylsham Expo will be held next Saturday.

The search is on for Aylsham Show Food Hero 2017

The Aylsham Show launched its 2017 Food Hero Awards today (Feb 15) at Blickling Hall by toasting the success of last year’s winners.

2016 show president Simon Evans praised last year’s success stories, including Scrummy Pig based at Wroxham Barns in Hoveton, Rocky Bottoms seafood café at West Runton, GF White butchers in Aylsham, Truly Local farm shop in Stalham, Norfolk Quail Ltd, of Great Ryburgh, which was also the Overall Championship winner and Catherine Temple, from Mrs Temple’s Cheeses, who was Individual Food or Drink Hero Winner.

Organisers will now be looking for nominations for this year’s event, the judging of which will take place during June 2017, when category winners will be announced.

The championship judging will take place during July 2017 and the overall winner announced, as usual, at the Aylsham Show on Monday, August 28.

They will be presented with the Ken Dye Memorial Salver by Sally Dye and the 2017 show president John Wootten. The individual Food or Drink Hero Winner will also be announced and receive the Aylsham Show Presidents Tankard.

Launching this year’s event Food Heroes chairman Jacinth Rogers said she was looking forward to this, her eleventh, event (six as chairman) after originally saying she would help out for a year. She will be standing down this year and handing over to Alex Haswell.

“I think I have done enough now and it’s time somebody else took over,” she said. “Alex and I will be working together this year and she will take over after this year’s show for 2018.”

New president John said he was delighted to be taking the role for 2017. “I have a long association with Blickling with running events for the last 20 years including the classical concerts,” he said. “I am certainly hoping this one will be as good as last year.”

Championship sponsors are again Lovewell Blake and Chris Solt, who is responsible for agriculture, food and drink with the business, said: “We have had an office at Aylsham for many years and are proud to play an active part in the community. We know how important the food and drink sector is to Norfolk. It is what helps our county to thrive. The Norfolk Hero Food & Drink Awards celebrate the very best of this industry.”

You can nominate your hero now by visiting

Left to right last John Savory from Norfolk Quail, Jacinth Rogers Food Heroes Chairman, John Wootton 2017 Aylsham Show President, Simon Evans 2016 President and Judge, Catherine Temple Mrs Temples Cheese.

Cat dies after being caught in trap

A cat has had to be put to sleep after he got his face stuck in a trap in Burgh.

The RSPCA was called after the tabby male was seen by a passing motorist crossing the road in Wood Lane on Saturday (February 11) with a fenn trap caught on his head.

Two of the charity’s officers spent more than 40 minutes searching the surrounding gardens and hedges, and eventually found the adult cat in the corner of a wood store in clear distress. He was taken straight to a vet, where he was nicknamed Curiosity, and was taken into intensive care because of the extensive damage caused.

Sadly, his injury was so severe and he was suffering so much the vet made the difficult decision to put him to sleep.

Curiosity did not have a microchip and it is not known who had owned him. The RSPCA is appealing for information about where he may have come from as well as any information about who may have left this trap.

RSPCA inspector Dean Astillberry said: “This poor cat had somehow got his head completely stuck, face-down, in this lethal trap. We don’t know how long he would have been wandering about like that. His face was swollen out of all proportion. He could not open his eyes at all, and his mouth just a small distance.

“His claws were completely worn away from trying to escape – it must have been so distressing and painful for him to be trapped in this painful way.”

A fenn trap is a spring trap commonly used for trapping wildlife such as grey squirrels, stoats, rats and mice. Killing or injuring a domestic, non-target animal with a fenn trap is an offence and the RSPCA is opposed to the manufacture, sale and use of all snares and any trap which causes suffering.

Llewelyn Lowen, scientific officer for the RSPCA, added: “There are strict legal conditions on setting these types of traps and not setting them in the right way can mean that you are committing an offence. These traps should be set in such a way to prevent them killing or injuring a domestic animal and so we urge people to think carefully before using them.

“In theory, cats should not get caught in fenn traps if they are being set properly. Those using the traps should be fully aware of the legislation regulating their use and of codes of practice that should be followed to ensure that non-target species are not captured.

“Legally, these traps need be set inside real or artificial tunnels so as to avoid catching any non-target species.”

Anyone who has any further information about the owner of the trap or if you think you might be the owner of the trap, please contact the RSPCA on the inspector appeal line, in confidence, on 0300 123 8018.

The RSPCA can only investigate cases like these with your help. To donate please visit: or text LOVE to 87023 to give £3 (text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).

Dance school hip hops into theatre festival date

A North Norfolk hip hop crew has been selected to be part of a major international festival coming to Norwich.

Parallel Dance Studios have been chosen to perform at the Breakin’ Convention hip hop event being held at Norwich Theatre Royal on May 13, alongside Legacy and Fly No Filter.

They were among seven different crews who applied to star in the show, which is one of the most highly anticipated events in the British dance calendar. The groups took part in an audition in front of the Breakin’ Convention team and had to perform a piece they had created themselves.

Now the successful groups are looking forward to taking to the stage alongside some of the biggest names in hip hop including the South Korean super crew of poppers and b-boys Just Dance, Canadian urban contemporary duo Tentacle Tribe and South Africa’s renowned Soweto Skeleton Movers.

Parallel Dance Studios was set up by North Norfolk sisters Lucy and Emma Cook and is based in Holt and Reepham. They set it up to bring the fun and benefit of dance for all, and teach a wide range of different styles and techniques at classes around the county. They compete in a number of national and regional competitions in all styles and have also appeared on Sky 1’s Got To Dance. They aim to be creative and choreograph in an interesting and entertaining way while working in a strong family atmosphere.

Emma Kuiiri (Cook) said: “There were seven acts that auditioned for only three spots on stage and our P Diddys group were one of the three successful groups. The youngsters, aged from eight to 11, worked very hard to achieve this and now have lots more work ahead to prepare for the grand performance. The children are so excited and really can’t wait to perform. Their piece is themed around video games featuring Pokemon, Street Fighter and Mario. This is a massive achievement for a small dance school.”

As well as the performance itself, the theatre will be transformed into a hip-hop zone during May 13 with a host of activities planned including graffiti walls, DJ workshops and dance battles, with full details of these additional events being announced in the weeks ahead.

Victoria Jenkins, Norwich Theatre Royal’s education manager (projects), said: “We are so excited to have some of the region’s hottest hip hop talent sharing the stage with some top international acts. The hard work starts now to prepare for this exciting day of performance and creativity which everyone can enjoy.”

Parallel also had success in the UK Street Dance Championshps in London, competing against people from the UK and Europe. The team came home with a second place in the under nine duos with Tianna Kuiiri and Skyela Barden.

Breakin’ Convention, Saturday 13 May at 7.30pm. Tickets £7-£24. Discounts for Friends. Band A-D tickets half price if paid for by the end of February. To book, call the box office on 01603 630000 or log onto









Frustration as town wakes up to no water supply

Frustrated residents in Aylsham woke up this morning to discover that they had low water pressure or no water at all due to a burst water main on Red Lion Street.

The problem was being repaired by Anglian Water in the early hours of the morning and was fixed, with water returning to the affected homes and businesses by 11am.

An Anglian Water spokesperson said: “The cold weather at the moment means we have a lot of bursts and leaks to deal with. The temperature shift from the very cold nights to the comparatively warm days is causing the ground beneath our feet to expand and contract much more than usual. This puts stress and strain on our pipes, which means we’re dealing with more leaks than usual.

“We’ve sent extra leakage repair specialists out so we can handle this – they’ll be there for as long as the cold weather lasts. We’re also prioritising our work so that we get to the bursts that waste the most water first.

“We’re grateful for everyone’s patience.”

The biggest impact for the town was the closure of three of the schools: Aylsham High, Bure Valley and John of Gaunt. St Michael’s was unaffected.

Whilst Red Lion Street is closed buses will be picking up from Bure Valley Railway.

Red Lion Street today

Chance for walkers to glamp it up on the coast

Ginny Wilson-North couldn’t wish for a better office or commute to work.
And it’s all down to a new business she has started with husband Mark based on walking the Norfolk coast path.
The couple, from Colby, launched MarGins in December, a selection of walking and glamping holidays appealing to both dedicated trekkers and casual tourists looking for something a bit different.
Starting point for the holidays is Hunstanton, and the drive from their home village is just part of the job Ginny loves.
“There’s such a diversity in our coastline from the cliffs at Sheringham and Cromer to dunes and marshes,” she said.
Ginny has been walking various sections of the 84-miles of Norfolk coastline to add to the pack they give the walkers, making notes of signage, places of interest and places to eat.
Guests can choose from three holiday options – a three day, 38 mile walk from Cromer to Hopton-on-Sea; a four day, 46-miler from Hunstanton to Cromer; and the full 84 miles of the Norfolk Coast Path from Hunstanton to the Suffolk border, taking six days.
The glamping accommodation is set up each day on established campsites on the Norfolk Coast Path, with luggage transferred to the next destination each day.
The sturdy tents have comfy chairs and padded camp beds with soft, cosy duvets, plus, MarGins supplies a hamper of local Norfolk produce each day for breakfast.
Ginny said: “We’ve designed the routes to appeal to all levels of walker.“Ramblers and experienced trekkers can stick to the route or go further by checking out some of the many ‘off-piste’ paths. The less experienced can do as much or as little walking as they like – and even pop on the Coasthopper bus if they want a rest.
“The Norfolk coast is blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches in Britain. For anyone interested in wildlife there are world-renowned reserves all along the coast. It’s the perfect place for walking and glamping – especially when it’s relaxed and hassle-free.”
Add to that the fact that the trips are dog friendly and MarGins will supply everything you need – “except the dog”, said Ginny.
The couple decided to launch their holiday business after Ginny was made redundant from her job with the Red Cross. “I went from one kind of tent to another,” she said. “I was walking Hadrian’s Wall and had time to think about my future and what I wanted to do was something that I really enjoyed, and this is it.”
Their season runs from May to September, but their first guests took a B&B option so they could come this winter. They already have guests booked for the summer.
And the couple is hoping to branch out to offer family options and specialist breaks, including those for bird watchers.
Ginny added: “We have had some great feedback including from local people who want to walk the coast path but are not sure how to organise themselves. We do all that for them.”

For more information visit MarGins can be contacted direct by email, or call 07787 534809.  You can also find them on Twitter (@MarGinsholidays) and Facebook (marginswalkingandglampingholidays).

Aylsham Show distribute over £30,000 to good causes

The organisers of the Aylsham Show handed out an impressive £31,500 to a range of charities on January 17.

After a lean couple of years on the back of awful weather at the August bank holiday event in 2014 and 2015, last summer’s event was a huge success and created a healthy surplus.

The Aylsham Agricultural Show Association held its distribution of cheques at Aylsham Lodge, with representatives of 36 groups invited to attend, pick up their money and give their thanks.

Chairman and outgoing president Simon Evans said he was handing out the cheques on behalf of two former presidents Tony Bambridge and Phillida Hurn, who had not had the opportunity to make such presentations in their years because of the inclement conditions.

“I am delighted to be giving cheques out this year, it is hugely rewarding to those who work so hard to put the show on that we can start this annual tradition again,” added Mr Evans.

“We all look forward to the 2017 show and hope to be back here in a year handing out more charity cheques.”
Cheques of various amounts were given to a range of charities.

Reepham Rotary Club received £2,500; Norfolk Army Cadets £2,000 and Rotary Club of Aylsham and East Anglian Children’s Hospice £1,500.

£1,000 each went to Aylsham and District Flower Club, Aylsham Boxing Club, Aylsham Youth Club, Norwich and District Group RDA, Alzheimer’s Society, Farming Community Network, Marie Curie, Diabetes UK North Norfolk Group, Aylsham and District Care Trust, the YANA Project, RABI, East Anglian Air Ambulance, Blood Wise, Norfolk Heart Trust, Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind and Nelson’s Journey.

£500 each went to Aylsham Football Club, Sainsbury’s North Walsham Fundraising, 3rd Aylsham Guides, North Walsham Young Farmers’ Club, the Market Surgery, Aylsham Recreation Ground, Aylsham Community Partnership, Benjamin Foundation, Fishing 4 Schools, Happisburgh Owl Trust, Multiple Sclerosis, Thornage Hall, SSAFA, Blickling Church, 1st Aylsham Scout Group and Banningham Crown Defibrillator.

Among those saying thankyou for the cheques was Alisdair Ryding of Norfolk Heart Trust, who explained the money would be used to create videos to help educate patients.

Rob Wright of Aylsham Boxing Club, which helps with the perimeter fencing security during the show, said the money would go towards a planned extension.

Jenny Manser of Aylsham and District Care Trust said: “The many hundreds of people we support on a daily basis are extremely grateful for this contribution.”

Gemma Strange of 3rd Aylsham Guides said the money would help continue their work towards encouraging the independence and self-esteem of their young members.

Will De-Feyter of North Walsham YFC said: “We do enjoy parking the horse boxes at the show, whatever the weather! And we look forward to helping in the future.”

And Peter Dawes, of 1st Aylsham Scout Group, said the donation would help install external floodlights.

After the handout the annual general meeting was held. Retiring show secretaries Chris and Ann Self were awarded life vice presidencies in recognition of their 40 years of service to the event.

And with Mr Evans finishing his year as president, John Wootten was elected president for the next year.

Outgoing Show Secretaries Chis and Ann Self with their Life Vice President awards.

Simon Evans (left) hands over the presidency to John Wootton.

Around 40 charities, clubs and good causes received donations from Aylsham Show President Simon Evans.

Work to start tomorrow on new Aylsham roundabout

Work is due to start tomorrow on the new roundabout at the A140/Burgh Road junction in Aylsham.

The work will mean more road closures and delays for motorists but residents and businesses of Burgh Road have been assured that the end of the road near the A140 will not be closed until the National Grid gas repairs at the junction of Burgh Road and Oakfield Road are completed by January 25 and those roads reopened.

Martin Dixon, Norfolk County Council area network co-ordinator – north, said: “Work to the roundabout commences on January 11, but we have stipulated that the town side section of Burgh Road must not be closed until NGG have completed. There will however, be closure of Burgh Road on the other side of the bypass, and roundabout works will commence there. Expect to see traffic signals in place on the bypass as well.”

He said the gritting teams, the depot of which is near the work area, and bus co-ordinators will be kept up to date with latest situation.

The work is expected to take three months and is be paving the way for town’s new filling station and pop-in Marks and Spencer store.

The £575,000 project, which is being funded by David Wilson Homes, will be carried out by Norfolk County Council’s Community and Environmental Services Department and their contractors.

Diversion signs and “business as usual” notices will be in place and there will be traffic control.

The Lindum Group is also expected to start work on developing the former Aylsham Bathroom and Kitchen Centre site into the filling station and associated buildings.

Local councillor Ian Graham was positive about the plans, saying: “I am so pleased that at last two major improvements to the town are due to start shortly – firstly the development of the new petrol station, a boon to those of us who do not travel too far, secondly the roundabout at the junction of the bypass and Burgh Road.

“Although for some while it will mean a good deal of disruption, I believe it will be well worth it. I am certain that it will not only be safer for those using that junction but hopefully it will mean traffic being slower, and consequently safer, at the Buxton Road junction.”