An award-winning hotel and wedding venue in Drayton
could be converted into housing.
A planning application has been sent to Broadland District Council, asking for permission to turn Stower Grange Hotel into three homes.
The application comes
following the owner’s concerns that the business, which is also a restaurant,
may be “unsustainable” and that he was planning to retire.
The property, which was
built in the 1600s and was used as a rectory, has been on the market since
A planning statement
submitted to the council said: “Due to an uncertain and potentially
unsustainable future as a hotel, further accelerated by the impact of the
recent pandemic, the client and owner of Stower Grange Hotel has reluctantly
explored the more viable use.”
A pre-application was made
recently to assess the viability and was considered acceptable by the council.
The planning proposal went
on: “The conversion will continue to respect the existing listed building and
landscape with minimal alterations throughout to preserve the existing access,
views and internal layouts… This natural conversion to keep the existing
building preserved … [will ensure] a continuity of building use and
appearance to preserve the existing architecture that will be largely
indistinguishable from the current building.”
The plan will be considered by the council’s planning
committee in due course.
A sponsored walk by pupils at Langley Pre-Prep and Prep
School has raised money to help fight a cancer which affects children in
All the pupils – aged from three to 13 – and staff at the Taverham school walked, skipped and ran 1km around the grounds in aid of Sarcoma UK.
They hoped to raise £500 but
think they may have raised more than that.
Roger Outwin-Flinders, head
of prep at Langley, said: “We are always proud to support good causes – both
locally and nationally. This year, the Crows House has chosen to support
Sarcoma UK and they organised the sponsored walk involving the children and staff.”
Richard Davidson, chief
executive at Sarcoma UK, said: “Our charity relies solely on voluntary
donations and the efforts of our fundraisers and supporters, so we are
delighted that the children and staff decided to help us help those who are
affected by sarcoma.”
Sarcomas are the third most common cancer in children, making up 11pc of all cancers in children in the UK, and a child is diagnosed nearly every other day.
The charity funds research, offers support, and campaigns
for better treatments.
An aspiring ballerina has had her dream come true, winning a much sought-after role in an upcoming production of Swan Lake.
Freya Mills auditioned for a
part in the production being performed by the English Youth Ballet at Norwich
Theatre Royal later this month and was thrilled to gain a place.
Mum Claire said: “This was
Freya’s first audition. For a young ballet dancer, performing in Swan Lake in
her home theatre is a dream come true! And it’s a wonderful experience and
privilege to train with EYB Principal Ballet dancers and other young dancers
from all over Norfolk.”
Nearly 200 dancers from
schools in Norfolk and Suffolk auditioned for the parts in March, and 92 were
Since then they have taken
part in more than 60 hours of rehearsals, which Freya, a former Norfolk Primary
Cross Country Finalist, is taking in her stride.
“As well as dancing, she
does athletics, artistic roller skating, is in a 5k running club and has taken
part in the Race for Life for several years,” said Claire. “The whole family
are so proud of Freya and the commitment and effort she puts into everything
Freya, 12, a pupil at
Taverham High School, said: “I’ve LOVED every rehearsal! The best part, so far,
has been learning new steps and routines in a big hall. I’m really enjoying it.
“I love watching the
professional dancers, too – they look so graceful. I can’t wait until I can go
en pointe! Nanny and Grandad have taken me to see ballet at the theatre, so
seeing behind the scenes of a production is amazing. I’m so excited about the
performances and a bit nervous, too, but I know my routines and I can’t wait!”
Freya has been dancing since she was five, studying ballet and tap with Judy Habbitts School of Dance, in Drayton.
She recently achieved her
ISTD Grade 3 in ballet, as well as gaining a distinction in Grade 2 tap.
She and the other youngsters
will be taking part in the three performances, on July 21 and 22.
Work has been completed to restore Drayton Lodge, a 15th-century tower which had lain derelict for centuries.
The restoration project was a
collaboration between Hidden Talents Homes, who are building homes on the
Drayton High Road site, and Historic England, who restored the lodge at a cost
Dr John Alban, honorary senior
lecturer in the School of History at the University of East Anglia, completed
the research and wrote the text for the two information boards, on behalf of
the Paston Footprints Project, a group dedicated to preserving the memory of
the Paston family.
He unveiled them earlier this
month, saying: “This is an auspicious day. Drayton Lodge may be a small
building and one perhaps not widely known, but it is important in many respects
and therefore deserves not to be overlooked.
“It is one of the earliest
examples in England of the use of brick – in this case, in a building designed
to have a fortified appearance, even though it had little actual military
The building has connections
with the Paston family and Sir John Fastolf, a Norfolk knight who – through his
long and impressive military career in the service of the three Lancastrian kings
during the Hundred Years’ War in France – gained a fortune from the profits of
This was reinvested in buying
numerous estates in England, and in a major building programme which, in the
1430s, saw the simultaneous construction of Caister Castle, Hellesdon Manor
House and Lodge, and Drayton Lodge itself.
The history of Drayton Lodge is
intriguing. It has variously been described as a “plaisance”, a hunting lodge
and a strategic lookout post, but it was probably originally conceived as a
small, fortified manor house.
Like the much larger Caister
Castle, it is significant as an early example of a brick-built, fortified
The Paston family acquired the
lodge after Fastolf’s death, and it was during their ownership that the
building was attacked by the forces of John de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, who
contested their ownership of the manors at Drayton and Hellesdon.
“Much of the lodge’s history is
obscure, but we know that after Fastolf’s death in 1459 it was acquired by the
Paston family, who used it, variously, as a hunting lodge or as an occasional
retreat where banquets were held, and as a local administrative seat where
manorial courts took place,” said John. “In 1465, a large force of the Duke’s
armed retainers entered the Paston manors of Hellesdon and Drayton and ‘beat
down’ the Paston properties there. Drayton Lodge was left as a ruin, which the
Pastons chose not to repair.”
The lodge fell increasingly
into a sad state of disrepair, which resulted in it being placed on Historic
England’s heritage at risk register.
“Its recent conservation is
therefore to be welcomed – and congratulations and thanks must go to Hidden
Talents Homes and Historic England for their excellent partnership work which
has not only seen the building removed from the register but has ensured that
it will survive to provide enjoyment and inspiration for future generations,” said
Dr Rob Knee, a co-director of the Paston Footprints Project, said: “With the presence of the information boards at this site, the Paston Footprints Project has now provided information and explanations for all of the surviving buildings in Norfolk that tell the story of the Paston family.”
When two of Norwich’s largest hockey clubs – Wanderers
and Grasshoppers – got together in 1990, they did so with the aim of getting
into the national league.
And last year, more than three decades later, that vision finally came to fruition with the Norwich City Men’s first team winning the East Region league to join National Conference Midlands, the third tier of English hockey.
Now, after a season in
the national league, the team – which plays at Taverham Recreational Facilities
– is celebrating a dream come true.
Promotion saw the team’s
travel increase remarkably, with away days to Loughborough, Nottingham,
Birmingham and Lichfield amongst the longest, and away teams all travelling to
play at Taverham.
The squad dug incredibly
deep, week in week out, and put on a show every time.
A spokesman said: “It was lovely to have so many people attend the matches, and the team were extremely proud to represent Norwich City. This was especially felt when they saw crowds of 200-plus attend the Norfolk derby versus Harleston at TRF, which most certainly kept the bar team busy in the clubhouse.”
After some impressive
results in a debut campaign – even vying for promotion for a while – the team
ended the season in third place with the aim of pushing higher next year.
Norwich City Hockey Club is always looking for new members of all ages, male and female, and all standards.
Wroxham-based soprano will be taking centre stage at a special concert in
Norwich at the weekend.
Katalin Prentice will be the soloist with the Pakefield singers when
they present Glory and Grandeur, a concert for organs and choir, and featuring
anthems including Mendelssohn’s Hear My Prayer and Buxtehude’s Toccata in F as
well as works by Mozart and Mascagni.
“I feel honoured to be invited to sing the soprano solos with the Pakefield Singers under the direction of conductor Vetta Wise and to be a part of this truly magnificent musical project,” said Katalin, who is Hungarian and has lived in the UK for 11 years and in Wroxham since 2015.
A dentist by profession, she stopped working when pregnant with
her first daughter – she now has two – and said classical music and singing has
always been her passion.
“Shortly after I moved to the United Kingdom I started vocal
training with Nan Christie in London, and soon after relocating to Norfolk I
met my lovely singing teacher, Vetta Wise, who has been guiding me on my
musical journey ever since,” she said. “With her help and support in 2017 I
completed the one-year opera course at the Associated Studios Performing Arts
Academy in London, gaining a diploma in opera singing. In 2019 I finished my
Trinity College ATCL Performers diploma with distinction.”
Complications with both her pregnancies took their toll and she
said it has taken her a while to retrain her voice, but she has now been chosen
for this important role at St Peter Mancroft on Saturday night.
She also recently took part in two international competitions, winning an honourable mention at Odin International Music Competition and the Grand Prix at the Alpin Triglav 2021 International Music, Dance and Fine Art Competition.
“As a result of winning the competition in July 2022 I performed
at the prize winners’ gala concert in one of Europe’s most prestigious concert
halls, the Crystal Hall in Rogaška Slatina (Slovenia) representing the United
Kingdom,” said Katalin.
Drayton Junior School head Alison Read has
completed a special run to raise money for Guide Dogs.
Alison completed the
London Landmarks Half Marathon in two hours 14 minutes, raising more than £200
for the charity.
“Last year I was
fortunate enough to meet guide dog Maci and guide dog puppy Barnabee when
Norwich Guide Dogs visited Drayton Juniors,” she said.
“It was amazing to hear from Maci’s owner about the crucial role that Maci plays in her life and hear all about Barnabee’s training.
“I said at the time that
I would really like to raise funds for the charity, so here I am!
“With a close friend experiencing sight loss, I know just how important staying independent is, and if the money raised can go towards someone having their very own Maci then that will be worth 13.1 painful miles.”
Annette Smart, Norwich
Guide Dogs fundraising co-ordinator, said: “It is very rewarding to know that
our talks in schools lead to vital fundraising for Guide Dogs.
“It all started when one
of the school’s pupils met Maci in a local supermarket. He then asked the
school if Maci could visit.
“I think Maci may be
organising a ‘thank-you’ visit for Alison and the children will be surprised to
learn what the school head did in the Easter break!”
Alison has previously run
with a visually impaired person as a guide, allowing him to enjoy running.
To find out more about booking a speaker, sighted guides, volunteering or any other aspect, visit www.guidedogs.org.uk
Two intrepid walkers have reached the finish
line of a 190-mile challenge – and smashed their fundraising target for a
hospital intensive care baby unit.
Long-time friends Matt Dyke and Martin Church braved howling wind, torrential rain, blisters and muscle strains in an epic coast-to-coast trek from Cumbria to Yorkshire in just five days.
When the going got tough
they had to split into two teams so they could walk at their own pace – with
Matt finishing a day earlier than Martin, from Horsford.
But they reunited to
triumphantly arrive at Robin Hood’s Bay together and grabbed ice creams to
celebrate licking their challenge.
Their efforts have so far
raised almost £8,500 for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital’s
neo-natal intensive care unit, which helped both the dads when their babies
The total is way beyond
their £5,750 target – and they hope further donations will come in now they
have completed their challenge in less than their six-day goal.
Shortly after finishing,
Anglian Water field technician Martin, 41, said: “I am just so tired – I just
want to get home, see the family, have a pizza and get a good night’s sleep.
“The highlights were some stunning scenery, especially in the Lake District which was full of lambs, and the team camaraderie. The lowlights were a knee injury, which meant I let Matt go on at his own pace, and the tough terrain which was bleak at times.”
Matt, 37, a project
manager for Wall Engineering in North Walsham, added: “It was much harder than
we imagined. Even the flatter bits, where we thought we would make up time,
were tricky – boggy, slippery and you were having to jump over or walk around
obstructions, mud and water.
“Our bodies are battered,
bruised, blistered and swollen but we’re completely overwhelmed by the support,
words of encouragement and donations received.
“My highlight was seeing
Martin battle on and reuniting with him to reach the finish together.”
Both men paid tribute to
their support team – driver Colm McGilway and sports therapists Sally Ling and
Lisa Payne from Up and Running Treatments, who repaired their aching bodies
along the way, plus various friends and guests who joined them for stretches of
the walk to boost any flagging morale.
Donations towards their fundraising can be made via bit.ly/3Z6vRk9