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Dentist home after helping Syrian refugees

Earlier this year Drayton resident, dentist Dr Gautam Sharma appealed to Just readers for toothbrushes, toothpaste and toys to take out to Lebanon where he was due to volunteer his time treating Syrian refugees with the charity Dental Mavericks. He’s back from his trip and reports on his experiences.

“As many of you in the community will know, I recently took part in a special mission to provide dental treatment and advice for displaced families in Syria.

“I want to thank each and every one of you from the Drayton and Taverham area who contributed donations to the local collection point, and in doing so, made such a difference to the lives of those I met.

“My experience has been absolutely humbling, emotional, exhausting – and a very stark reminder of why we all need to live our lives with more compassion and kindness.

“With a huge 40kg of luggage, I arrived in the Bekaa Valley, and began slowly taking in the enormity of the project I was involved with, and the huge level of need among families and individuals.

“I spent two weeks delivering treatment and education within the area’s hospitals, clinics and schools – always receiving a grateful (and hugely heart-warming) smile and handshake from those I assisted.

“In total, our group mission helped some 1,000 patients during that time, and I am utterly privileged to have been invited into the homes of those living in the camps.

“My overwhelming learning from this experience was that there is so much misconception around the way people are managing their lives in this part of the world.

“Every facility or home I saw was meticulously maintained, and the level of pride and gratitude was shining from every single person with whom I had contact. Will I go back? Absolutely. I now feel part of a journey in the lives of these people. I realise more than ever how fortunate myself and my own family are, and how someone like myself has a potential role to play.

“I thank you all – from the bottom of my heart – for your support and donations in recent weeks and months.

“Of course, if you would like to know more about the ongoing mission, or think you may want to contribute in the future, please do get in touch with me at my surgery.

“I would also be delighted to share my experiences further with you.”

Contact Dr Sharma at: smiles@westearlhamdental.co.uk

 

Drayton garden open for NGS and CF Trust

Palms, pergolas, cannas and cakes will be among the attractions at a National Gardens Scheme (NGS) open garden in Drayton on Sunday, July 8.

This year Chris and Wendy Fitch’s garden is the only one in Drayton or Taverham taking part in the prestigious scheme which sees some 3,700 of the country’s best private gardens opening to the public in aid of NGS charities.

The couple will also be selling plants and refreshments on the day to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Trust, a charity dear to their own hearts.

Jacob Hart, the seven-year-old son of their close friends Lucy and Andy Hart, was born with the life-limiting, incurable inherited condition.

Lucy grew up and went to school in Drayton and Taverham and her dad, former postman Ian Manning, still lives in Drayton.

The Harts, Ian, Lucy’s mum Carol and step-dad, plus Lucy’s sisters Emma and Laura Manning, are all dedicated fundraisers for the CF Trust.

In the past Lucy and Andy have organised three charity balls for the cause at Norwich City FC’s Carrow Road ground.

This will be the fourth year that Chris and Wendy have opened their garden for NGS and the CF Trust, with friends and Jacob’s family helping out to produce a range of homemade cakes and savouries to serve with a cuppa on the large decking area which overlooks their transformed garden.

When the couple moved to Drayton eight years ago the quarter-acre plot was dull, tatty, unloved and neglected with no structure.

But the pair set to work and have created a stunning garden with different areas, and on different levels.

Chris built all the infrastructure – including walls, fences and a pergola – himself, using recycled materials for much of it.

The garden, which backs on to St Margaret’s churchyard, includes a hot, tropical border filled with exotic plants such as the large-leafed tetrapanax, windmill palms, cordylines, bamboos, eucalyptus and acers.

Lavenders, a grapevine and an olive tree are among many Mediterranean plants and there is also a more traditional border with masses of scented roses, plus a shady woodland corner.

A terraced upper garden is planted with fruit trees and vegetables and the garden includes a secluded courtyard area.

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

What: NGS open garden

Where: 9 Bellomonte Crescent, Drayton NR8 6EJ

When: Sunday July 8 11am-5pm

Cost: £3 per adult in aid of NGS charities. Accompanied children free.

Plus: Plant sales, tea, coffee, homemade cakes and other goodies in aid of CF Trust.

WHAT IS CYSTIC FIBROSIS?

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited condition, caused by a faulty gene, that leads to a build-up of sticky mucus in the lungs and digestive system.

The condition gets slowly worse over time, with the lungs and digestive system becoming increasingly damaged.

Treatments are available to help reduce symptoms, but life expectancy is shortened.

People with cystic fibrosis also have a higher risk of developing other conditions including weak and brittle bones, insulin, liver and fertility problems. They’re more likely to pick up infections, and complications if they do develop an infection.

 

Pictured: scenes from Wendy and Chris’s garden, Wendy and Chris Fitch and the Hart family – Lucy, Andy, Jacob and Harrison.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

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


 

Curtain up in Drayton on comedy play

A comedy play which has received high praise will be performed by a professional touring company in Drayton later this month.

The curtain goes up on Searchlight Theatre’s production of Would You Adam and Eve It? at Drayton Hall on June 22 at 7.15pm.

The plot shows what happens when two men dramatise all 90 chapters from the first two books of the Bible.

With a few strategic speedy bits to help it achieve a 90 minute running time, the show has entertained audiences around the world for the past nine years, including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where it received five-star reviews last year.

The performance is being hosted by the Together Loving Christ Church. It is described as suitable for children aged nine and above. Tickets cost £10 and can be bought from the theatre company online: www.searchlighttheatre.org or special offer tickets, costing £8 each, can be bought by contacting kiera@tlcnorwich.church or ring 0777 8065 639. The church is subsidising the cost.

A scene from the play

Another life-saver for community is installed

A new defibrillator has been installed outside Thorpe Marriott Village Hall and community chiefs want to make sure residents know it’s there.

The life-saving device was bought by Drayton Parish Council and will be available 24/7 in case of emergency.

Mandy Marshall, chairman of the village hall, thanked the parish council for the donation. She added. “The defibrillator is located outside, on the right-hand side of the front entrance to the hall, which is located by the shops and pub in Acres Way.”

A number of people underwent training to use the machine under the expert guidance of a representative from the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust. As well as learning how to use the defibrillator they were taught basic CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation).

Mandy added: “When someone has an emergency situation where a patient has stopped breathing, by dialling 999 the ambulance service can direct someone to the nearest defibrillator, provide them with a code to open the protective cabinet, and the defibrillator device will ‘talk’ them through exactly what to do, potentially saving lives. Having fully-functioning units available locally really will help to ensure the safety of everyone.”

Graham Everett, chairman of Drayton Parish Council, and fellow councillor Carl Brown also attended the training session.

Graham said “I found the training very informative and it included the opportunity to practise CPR and how to put a unconscious but breathing casualty in the recovery position”.

  • There are also Drayton defibrillators in the pavilions at the King George V Playing Field and Longdale, inside the Bob Carter Centre, and at the junior and infant schools.
  • PICTURED: from left: Sylvia Turner, chairman of Thorpe Marriott Village Hall fundraising committee, Mandy Marshall, chairman of Thorpe Marriott Village Hall, Graham Everett, chairman of Drayton Parish Council, and parish councillor Carl Brown.

 

 

‘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

Hunt on for dog blood donors

Taverham Veterinary Hospital is appealing for potential dog blood donors to help pets which may need transfusions. Taverham vets keeps a stock of canine blood but if it becomes low, or in an emergency, staff often visit Great Yarmouth Home Finders, an independent charity caring for and rehoming ex-racing greyhounds across Norfolk and Suffolk. A spokesman said: “The gorgeous greyhounds at the centre often make great blood donors due to their fantastic temperaments and large neck veins. All dogs are fully health checked prior to donating by one of our vets and must comply with the blood donor criteria. “The process of taking blood takes around five-10 minutes and the dogs receive plenty of praise and cuddles throughout! Following the donation, a neck bandage is applied to prevent any swelling from the needle insertion site – as seen in the photo of Nelson, posing in his pink bandage. “Staff dogs are also often called upon to donate blood in emergency situations, such as beautiful boy Boris who belongs to director Roger Bannock. Boris can be seen here, post donation, smiling with nurses Lottie and Hayley.” If your pet fits the following criteria and you would like it to help save other dogs’ lives, get in touch and speak to Lottie Sparkes or Hayley Hyam on 01603 867330.

Canine blood donor criteria.

  • 25kgs or over
  • Fully vaccinated
  • Regularly wormed
  • Known travel history
  • Good temperament
  • Aged between one and seven
  • Never received a blood transfusion
  • In good health

Search for children to star in Miss Saigon

Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Boublil and Schönberg’s legendary musical Miss Saigon is looking for boys or girls to play the role of Tam when the show heads to Norwich Theatre Royal from August 15 to September 15.

The character is small, cute, confident and South-East Asian looking. He is not younger than four and not older than six, and children must live within a commutable distance of Norwich.

Anyone who wants further information or to apply should email Joanne Hawes on joanne.hawes2013@gmail.com including a small head and shoulders photograph.

Set during the last days of the Vietnam War, Miss Saigon tells the story of 17-year-old Kim who is forced to work in a Saigon bar run by a notorious character known as The Engineer. There she meets and falls in love with an American GI called Chris but they are torn apart by the fall of the city.

For the next three years, Kim goes on an epic journey of survival to find her way back to Chris. Tam is Kim’s son.

This new production of Miss Saigon opened in London in May 2014 to record-breaking advance sales and critical acclaim. The show swept the board at the 2015 Whatsonstage.com awards winning a record-breaking nine awards including Best West End Show and Best Revival of a Musical and gained the most awards ever won by a single show in the 15-year history of the awards.

Since its London premiere in 1989, Miss Saigon has become one of the most successful musicals in history. It has now been performed in 28 countries, over 300 cities in 15 different languages, has won over 40 awards including three Olivier Awards, three Tony Awards, and four Drama Desk Awards, and been seen by over 35 million people worldwide.

Miss Saigon, runs August 15 to September 15 at 7.30pm, and Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm. There are no Sunday performances. Tickets are £8-£60, with discounts and special performances avialable.

Book now at www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk or call the box office on 01603 630000.