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Drayton family’s amazing tale of giving life

A Drayton family is celebrating a second chance at life, thanks to the determination to go to the other side of the world to make miracles happen – and a selfless woman who just wanted to keep her sister and nephew alive.

When David and Patsy Blyth’s son, Nathan, was 19, he was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease – a condition in which cysts form on the kidneys and can lead to kidney failure.

Ten years later, in 2007, Patsy was also diagnosed with the same disease – and was told she would need a transplant within five years.

“This knocked us for six,” said David.

With two members of the family suffering from the condition, the whole family was tested and they were all given the all-clear – and Patsy’s sister, Tracey Harwood, immediately offered to donate one of her kidneys.

“I didn’t even really think about it,” she said. “I just said I’d do it.”

Tests proved that although she was not a perfect match, Tracey was able to donate, and work began to prepare the sisters for the operation, which was pencilled in for the summer of 2012.

Tracey needed to lose weight before the operation and while she stuck religiously to her task, Patsy was put on the deceased donor list – and in July, David received the call from Addenbrooke’s Hospital that a possible kidney had been found.

“I called her on her mobile to tell her the news. I was in tears, she was in tears… I called Tracey to tell her and to see if she was OK with this after all the hard work she had gone through to give Patsy a new lease of life. I think I remember her crying, too,” said David.

Tracey and her husband, Gary, raced to their house from their home in Taverham and they all drove to the hospital together.

“Patsy received her kidney in the early hours of July 25, 2012 – a date we will never forget,” said David. “She is now leading a normal healthy life and Tracey was able to keep both her kidneys.”

Meanwhile, Nathan had moved to Australia to start a new life, was in a relationship and had two young children. But his kidneys were failing, he was told he needed an operation on his spine, his relationship had collapsed and he was told that, like his mum before him, he would need a transplant.

While he was waiting, he met a new partner, Cheryl, who, David says, played an enormous part in helping Nathan through his treatment and recovery, which included taking part in pioneering dialysis trials and treatment at home.

Back in England, David underwent tests at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital to see if he was a suitable donor, but learned that although he was the perfect match, his own kidneys were not in a good enough condition to transplant to his son.

“Once again, in steps Tracey,” said David. “She was determined to get rid of one of her kidneys!”

Although now a grandmother, Tracey said the decision was immediately obvious.

“I just felt there was a chance of a better life for Nathan if he had this operation, and if I could help I would. It turned out I was a better match for Nathan than I was for Patsy.”

David said everyone cried when the tests revealed the operation was possible – but there were still hurdles to clear.

“How on earth were we going to be able to pull this off?” he said. “Nathan was in Australia and was too ill to travel, and Tracey and all of us were here in England – 12,000 miles apart.”

So the family swung into action – David, Patsy, Tracey, Gary and their daughter Abbie planning flights and time off work and liaising between the “fantastic” renal team at the N&N – who David says played a vital role in bringing the whole project together – and the hospital in Melbourne.

“This trip was going to last three months providing everything went to plan,” said David. “All their employers were brilliant.”

On arrival in Melbourne there were more tests for Tracey, and the transplant was carried out on February 13 this year.

Tracey was discharged after four days and Nathan soon began to recover – so much so that he was able to fly back to Norwich last month to visit his grandfather, Wally, in hospital before he died.

“Without this fantastic gift of a new kidney he would not have been able to do this,” said David, who hopes his family’s story will raise awareness of the disease and also of altruistic kidney donation.

David says he is grateful every day for those who helped his wife and son get this second chance, and Tracey says she feels even closer to her nephew now than she did before.

“We were always close but it does feel strange being in the same room, thinking my kidney is inside him,” she said.

Pictured: Family group which includes: David (far left), Patsy (second left), Tracey (denim skirt)  Cheryl (blue dress) and Nathan (jeans).


 

 

NDR disruption update – A140 Cromer Road

Traffic lights on the A140 Cromer Road at the Norwich NDR junction construction site will be lifted for the opening weekend (August 12-13) of Cromer Carnival, which runs from Saturday August 12  to Friday 18.

Traffic lights will be needed on the A140 again next week, but only during the day. Where possible, they will be used out of peak hours, and will be manually controlled if they have to be used during busy times. They are needed because work on the approaches to the new north roundabout and bridge over the NDR is very close to live traffic on the A140 Cromer Road.

Motorists are advised to allow for similar delays on the A140 Cromer Road over the coming weeks as construction teams carry out as much work as possible ahead of two weeks of A140 overnight closures (8pm to 6am). These are scheduled to start on Monday 4 September to tie-in the new roundabout and bridge over the NDR to the existing road.

Buxton Road, Spixworth

On Buxton Road, Spixworth, 24-hour two-way traffic lights will remain in use until the closure of the road to vehicles for two weeks from Monday 21 August to tie-in and surface the new bridge over the NDR. Cyclists and pedestrians will not be affected since the separate cycling and pedestrian path over the bridge should be complete next week.

Holt Road closure – diverting traffic

Additional signs are being added on Church Street, Horsford, directing all traffic from the A140 to turn left at its junction with the B1149 Holt Road. Drivers heading for Horsford and towards Holt can then use the New Drayton Lane roundabout to return north. This avoids a build-up of traffic on Church Street caused by right turning vehicles.

Plumstead Road, Thorpe End footway and mini-roundabout Work on a footway extension and mini-roundabout that was postponed this week because of the bad weather will resume in Thorpe End on Tuesday when a vacuum excavator will start excavating around buried service pipes and cables. Two-way temporary lights will be needed during the footway works, and three-way lights when work moves on to the mini-roundabout at the junction of Plumstead Road with Broadland Drive. The work, which is part of the main Northern Distributor Road project, will take up to six weeks altogether. Norfolk County Council and Balfour Beatty apologise for the disruption caused by these and other traffic management measures during construction of the new road.

Pair plead guilty to Taverham chemicals burglary

Two men have pleaded guilty to a burglary where Nitros Oxide was targeted in Norwich last week.

On Wednesday July 26  a property on Fir Covert Road was broken into and nitros  oxide and entonol containers stolen.

Police conducted an area search and detained two men in connection with the incident.

18-year-old Leif Doolan-Notschild, of Winalls Yard in Norwich, and 19-year-old Nicholas Winter, of Empsons Loke, in Winterton-on-Sea, were later charged with burglary.

They were remanded in custody and appeared in front of magistrates in Norwich on July 27 where they pleaded guilty.

They have now both been bailed until Thursday August 24 when they will appear at Norwich Magistrates’ Court for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.

Detective Inspector Darren Tate said: “Nitrous oxide is a gas with several legitimate uses, but if used inappropriately there is a risk of death as a lack of oxygen can occur.

“I hope this crime highlights the fact that NOS is being targeted by thieves. If you are a business which uses this gas please make sure it is sufficiently secured and where possible with CCTV covering its location.

“I also hope this sends a strong message to those thinking of stealing these canisters. We will do all we can to identify offenders and will make sure they are brought before a court.”

 

Road closure will put pressure on roads in Hellesdon, Drayton and Horsford

Extra long-term pressures on roads through Hellesdon, Drayton and on Church Street, Horsford, are expected following the permanent closure of the B1149 Holt Road, south of Horsford.

The closure has been brought forward to Wednesday August 9 after BT Openreach announced earlier dates for moving their fibre optic cables. The closure had been put back until late August after BT said diversion of the cables would not begin until after the World Athletics Championships (August 4-13). However, that work has been rescheduled by BT to start on July 31. This will allow more of the complex final phase in constructing the major A140 Cromer Road/A1270 Northern Distributor Road (NDR) junction to be carried out in the school summer holidays. Altogether, it is expected to take around three months to complete the junction. Following the B1149 closure, traffic will be diverted via New Drayton Lane – which has recently opened – on to Reepham Road. This diversion will remain in place until traffic can use the NDR dual carriageway and A140 junction, or part of it, to restore access to the A140. Norfolk County Council and Balfour Beatty has apologised for the unavoidable disruption to normal travel.

 

Watch out for the bears…

If you go down to Drayton, Taverham or Thorpe Marriott in August, you’re in for a big surprise…
The latest Fun Hunt will feature paper teddy bears displayed in windows around the area to give youngsters something fun – and free – to do during the summer holidays.
Organiser Sophie Garrod said: “Lots of people, including businesses, create a teddy bear, decorate it however they want to, put it in their front window and children go around and try to spot them.”
She is putting together an online map of where all the bears will be between August 1 and 15 so the hunters can follow it.
“The idea is for the children to find as many as they can and then their parents can reward them any way they like – maybe a treat for spotting 10… It’s just something fun for them to do and, most importantly, it’s free!” said Sophie, who has three young sons  – George, Harry and Alfie.
She said she already has 46 people who will have bears on display, but more are welcome.
“There’s a template which people can use – just let me know through our Facebook page,” she said. “It’s great fun and it doesn’t take long. We had an Easter egg hunt at Easter and it was lovely getting all the photos afterwards.”
She said she also planned to do a snowman hunt at Christmas.
Anyone wanting to decorate a teddy or look at the map should get in touch by searching for Teddy Bear Hunt – Taverham, Drayton and Thorpe Marriott on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

Have your say on plans for the River Wensum

Local people are being encouraged to have their say on plans for the River Wensum.
Enhancing the River Wensum has been at the heart of a project to develop a strategy aimed at breathing new life into the river corridor.
The draft strategy will be published on Wednesday, July 26, and its publication will be combined with the start of a public consultation.
The launch will also include an open house event at Blackfriars Hall, featuring display boards illustrating main sections of the draft strategy and Norwich City Council would like to get views from local people along with offering the chance to speak to some of the partners involved in the project.
Mike Stonard, cabinet member for sustainable and inclusive growth, said: “The River Wensum is such an important feature of Norwich which needs to be championed along with raising awareness about all the fantastic benefits it can bring to our vibrant city.
“The draft strategy reflects various aspirations and sets out possible ways to revitalise the river corridor with improved access and a high quality environment so we very much want to hear people’s views on it.
“Such improvements have the potential to contribute to the city’s regeneration by attracting private sector investment as well as making it an even better place to live, work and spend leisure time.”
The draft strategy and questionnaire will be available on the council’s website from Wednesday at www.norwich.gov.uk/riverwensum
The consultation will run from July 26 to September 15.

 

Libraries help beat loneliness

Norfolk’s pioneering library project to tackle loneliness has been recognised in a national report by Arts Council England. The Library and Information Service’s Libraries Loneliness project was among five national schemes singled out for praise in the report, which looked at the contribution organisations make to combat isolation in our communities.
One in five people aged over 65 in Norfolk is believed to be lonely, and local libraries and mobile libraries are part of Norfolk County Council’s In Good Company campaign, which aims to promote positive ways in which people can connect with others.
Since the libraries started their part of the project last November, they have almost doubled the number of activities for older people, from 57 to 113.
This ranges from creating a welcoming atmosphere where staff listen and talk to visitors and weekly tea and coffee sessions to a timetable of regular activities.
These include: Just a Cuppa, which provides companionship and allows staff to identify signs of loneliness and offer support; Knit and Natter and Crochet and Chat sessions; and games of Scrabble. Some libraries also hold Colour Me Calm activities, colouring sessions where participants can talk as little or as much as they like in a relaxed atmosphere. Jan Holden, Head of Norfolk Library and Information Service, said: “It is really fantastic that the great work our libraries do to support communities has been recognised by Arts Council England. It gives other libraries across the UK a good example of a great project. Our libraries are places where vulnerable people will always be welcome and our staff are brilliant at ensuring our service responds to their needs.”
Margaret Dewsbury, chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Communities Committee, said: “It is great that our loneliness project is leading the way nationally and helping to ensure that people in our Norfolk communities feel less isolated.”
Research by the Local Government Association shows being lonely can increase your risk of premature death by 30pc. It also suggests that being lonely is more harmful to your health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Open day at Taverham nature reserve

Taverham Mill Nature Reserve will be holding its annual open day on Saturday between 10am and 4pm.
Across the day there will be screen printing on the front lawn with a portable print studio coming from London to get involved in some wildlife inspired printing. The RSPB will also be offering information on how to give nature a home in our gardens and urban areas. Wild Touch Animal Sanctuary will be along to show children and adults the variety of animals they care for.
Various food and craft stalls will also be on the front lawn and the entire day is free of charge.