REVIEW: Running Wild is ‘a feast for eyes, ears and emotions’

The Children’s Touring Partnership took to the stage in Norwich last night with Running Wild, an adaption by Samuel Adamson of the Michael Morpurgo book of the same name.
This was a feast for the eyes, ears and emotions. Laughter, sadness and at times fear are felt through the scary rainforest adventure of of nine-year-old Lilly. The story has a serious message of both animal conservation and relationships and love, between humans and animals – elephant Oona, who is puppeteered by four people,  orangutans, a tiger, a crocodile and rainforest birds.
The audience is totally immersed into the sights and sounds of the Indonesian rainforest. The clever set design and lighting along with the sound effects add to the experience. The physical theatre skills of all the puppeteers was pure genius. You literally watch them breathe life into the puppets… they actually come to life before your eyes. I became so invested that I no longer saw the puppeteers.

The movements, motion and animal sounds are created by the cast and you just know that they must have spent hours watching and researching real animals in order to recreate and mimic.

A special mention must go to 12-year-old Annika Whiston, who played the lead role of Lilly and rarely left the stage. She portrayed the role beautifully and with great maturity. Every emotion and relationship she had I felt, bringing me to tears, more than once, much to my own daughter’s horror.

Morpurgo was inspired to write this modern-day Jungle Book by the real-life story of Amber Owen, who was on holiday in Phuket with her mother and stepfather in 2004, and enjoying an elephant ride on the beach when the Boxing Day tsunami hit.  The elephant ran inland and saved her life. When the author read of Amber’s story, he said it was “the one bit of hope amid the destruction”.

The production will be working during the tour to support the Born Free Foundation’s global elephant conservation projects.

There has been great take up by schools with a number of performances throughout the day times but it is most definitely not just for children.
There are still tickets available, if you have not seen it then I urge you to make the time. I promise you will not be disappointed. It will make you laugh and possible cry but most of all it will make you think.

A must-see piece of theatre.


Running Wild is on until April 29. Wed, Fri and Sat 7.30pm, Wed & Sat 2.30pm, Thur 11am. Tickets £7-£21.  BOX OFFICE 01603 630000.








Pictures: Dan Tsantilis

DJ Sara Cox joins the race on Ladies’ Night

Radio 2 and BBC TV presenter Sara Cox, a keen amateur horse rider as well as a professional DJ, is hosting a night of music at the seaside course’s July 19, Ladies’ Night.

Racecourse executive director Glenn Tubby said: “Ladies’ Night is always a special event in our summer calendar but Sara’s dance music will really be the icing on the cake. We are hoping fans of 80s music will turn out in force to enjoy their favourite sounds after an evening of racing action.”

Sara, a farmer’s daughter from Bolton, is well known for her festival DJ-ing as well as for her Sounds of the 80s show on BBC Radio 2 and also now for her live 24-hour danceathon which raised more than £800,000 for Comic Relief in March.

But she is also an equestrian sports fan. Sara has ridden in charity races at Goodwood and beat top jockey Frankie Dettori – a regular rider at Great Yarmouth – in a training ride ahead of the QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot.

Sara took part in a fun showjumping competition, Only Fools on Horses, for BBC Sport Relief in 2006. Now fully recovered, four years ago she broke a collar bone in a riding accident.

At Great Yarmouth Racecourse she will DJ after an evening of flat racing and play a set featuring dance-driven music ranging from the 80s up to today’s chart hits.

Sara said: “I’m really looking forward to my visit to Great Yarmouth racecourse. I’ll hopefully get to see some magnificent race horses before getting the Ladies’ Night crowd dancing with tracks from some of my favourite bands and artists from the 80s. Who doesn’t like 80s music? It was the soundtrack to my generation, with classic songs from music legends.”

Tickets and packages (£16-£34, with group discounts for 15 or more) and information available at or call 01493 842527.

Top honour for Taverham band man!

Back in July last year we reported in the Just Drayton & Taverham magazine that Ian Colman had been included in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for 2016. Six months later and Ian enjoyed a trip to London on Friday, February 27 to attend a Royal Investiture at Buckingham Palace to receive his MBE from the Prince of Wales.

The honour was bestowed on Ian for “services to the community in Norwich” and the nomination was made around two and a half years ago by a group of people from the various organisations that Ian is involved with, including Taverham Band, Taverham Scouts and Ringland Parish Council.

Ian has also been a governor at both Taverham High School and Drayton Community Infant School, and is the founder of IC Travel, which provides a locally-based travel service to take people door-to-door from Taverham or Drayton to London and other places of interest. It’s a highly valued service which enables people to meet new friends and embark on a trip that they would never have the confidence to do themselves.

Ian attended the Royal Investiture with his wife Lisa and daughter Emily. He said: “It was a nerve wracking but very proud experience not only to chat to the Prince but also the other recipients, including Ant and Dec who received the OBE!”

Your old TV could help save a life

Norwich City Council and the British Heart Foundation are giving people another chance to recycle their small and medium-sized unwanted electrical and electronic items this Saturday (January 28), and in doing so help support people with heart disease.

Their last event was a huge success with the British Heart Foundation totting up items to the value of £6,300 – enough to pay for six defibrillators.

Don’t bin it, bring it will take place at the St Paul’s Church, Tuckswood, Norwich, NR4 6BH. People are invited to bring along their small and medium-sized electrical items (working or non-working) between 8am and 1pm.

Items such as toasters, hairdryers, mobile phones, TVs, games consoles and kettles will all be gratefully received. Commercial waste and larger items, such as fridges or ovens will not be accepted.

The British Heart Foundation will be at the event collecting items which are suitable for re-use and eventual resale from their local Norwich store. The money made from selling your old TV could be used to help fund research into heart disease, or teach children about the importance of exercise.

Norwich City Council will be recycling all items which are not suitable for re-use. Recycling makes the most out of the valuable metals in electrical equipment as well as keeping it out of landfill where it gives off harmful gases.
Computers will be accepted at the event but they will be dealt with exclusively by the British Heart Foundation which will ensure data is cleared before resale. Norwich City Council can take no responsibility for donation of computers.

To find out more about recycling go to

Beer credited for saving Drayton man’s life!

Not many people can say that beer saved their life, but for Drayton resident Alan Pickering it may well have done just that!

While enjoying a pint of charity beer Tobi’s Tipple Special Edition at the Bob Carter Centre last summer, Alan was reading the associated It’s On The Ball leaflet and it dawned on him that he was suffering from some of the symptoms of testicular cancer.

Alan said: “The It’s On The Ball information, provided by The Norfolk Brewhouse with their particularly fine Tobi’s Tipple, prompted me to think that something wasn’t right. This opinion was subsequently confirmed by those infinitely more qualified than me, and although the effects of the operation and follow up treatment weren’t particularly nice, my cancer was detected and treated at Stage 1, the earliest and most survivable of four. As a consequence of this, my prognosis is very good.

“Some people I speak to regarding my experience seem to be very uncomfortable and embarrassed about the subject. Please try and get over this; I don’t like to think where I would be today if I’d been too embarrassed to visit my GP.”

Alan contacted The Norfolk Brewhouse following his experience and literally said: “Did you know your beer saves lives?” So, joining forces again with Norwich-based charity It’s On The Ball, and with support from more than 70 pubs and clubs across Norfolk, Tobi’s Tipple Special Edition is back on bars throughout January to continue raising awareness of testicular cancer.

Testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer amongst young men as well as a difficult subject to get men talking about. So creating a special beer, with the support of pubs, seemed like the perfect combination to increase awareness and conversations, whilst also encouraging people into their local in January, often one of the toughest months in a pub’s year.

Tobi is the charity’s pants wearing logo – an anagram of IOTB, the initials of It’s On The Ball. His oversized y-fronts have been seen at many events, increasing the awareness of the charity and its basic message for men to check themselves monthly. A ‘Pants Wall of Fame’ is a feature on the IOTB website and it is hoped that many more pictures will be added to this during the campaign.

It’s On The Ball was established in 2013 by a group of testicular cancer patients, their families and NHS staff, to help raise awareness and provide support to patients who have been diagnosed. Chairman of the charity, Vince Wolverson, said: “We really appreciate the support given to us by Rachel, David, and all the staff at The Norfolk Brewhouse. Not only are they helping us to raise awareness across the county, but as we have seen in Alan’s case, helping to save lives too. This is a great example of a small business and charity working together to benefit community welfare.”

Norfolk Brewhouse brewer and co-owner David Holliday, said: “To us, supporting It’s On The Ball is a no brainer, by spreading a simple message we can all easily help save lives.

“While incredibly heartening to know that we made a difference to Alan’s life, it also shows the simplicity of what we are trying to do – just spread the word. We do the easy bit, we just brew the beer and deliver, the pubs do the nice bit, they get to serve the beer and chat to their community – the real hard work is done by the small and totally dedicated team at It’s on the Ball – who with limited resources do all they can to help raises awareness of this killer disease.”

Ron Halliday at the Bob Carter Centre added: “We are delighted to support this charity once again, especially because the excellent work it does probably saved the life of one of ours members. We also plan to donate £1 for every pint of Tobi’s Tipple that we sell.”

It’s On The Ball recommend that men check themselves monthly for abnormalities – 98% of testicular cancers can be successfully treated if they are detected in their early stages. For more information about testicular cancer and It’s On The Ball visit

Follow, support and raise awareness for It’s On The Ball and Tobi’s Tipple Special Edition on Facebook: It’s On The Ball and Norfolk Brewhouse pages; Twitter ItsOnTheBall and MoonGazerAle feeds.

Alan Pickering with Ron Halliday from the Bob Carter Centre and representatives from It’s On The Ball and The Norfolk Brewhouse.

Alan Pickering with Ron Halliday from the Bob Carter Centre and representatives from It’s On The Ball and The Norfolk Brewhouse.

Alan Pickering with the beer he credits with saving his life

Alan Pickering with the beer he credits with saving his life

Tobi's Tipple beer alongside the On the Ball charity collection pot.

Tobi’s Tipple beer alongside the On the Ball charity collection pot.

Recycle your Christmas leftovers

Christmas may be a fun time of year, but it also produces a huge amount of waste. This year, Norwich City Council is offering residents even more ways to recycle their Christmas leftovers.

Christmas trees
There will be a ‘real’ Christmas tree drop off point in Waterloo Park car park until January 13. Decorations must be removed first. Trees can also be taken to Swanton Road recycling centre.

Leftover food
Gone overboard with the Christmas food shopping? Norwich City Council offers a weekly food collection service. Simply pop your leftovers in your black food caddy and place out next to your recycling or refuse bin on your collection day.

Wrapping paper and cards
Clean wrapping paper and cards can all be recycled in your blue bin. Christmas cards can also be recycled through some city centre  stores.

Unwanted presents or just having a clear out? 
Did Santa get it wrong this year? Norwich City Council will collect any unwanted small electrical items, such as hairdryers or shavers, as well as old batteries, as part of anew weekly service. They can also collect your unwanted textiles. Simply put  electrical items and batteries in a standard sized plastic bag, textiles in a separate bag, and leave beside the recycling or refuse bin on collection day.

Unwanted presents can also be donated to a favourite charity shop.

For more information about waste and recycling go to


Taverham speed camera catches a quarter of speeders in the county

Statistics released under the Freedom of Information Act have revealed that the speed camera at the top of Taverham, on the Fakenham Road, recorded more than a quarter of Norfolk speeding offenses over the eight months from April to November 2016.

Nearly 19,000 speeding violations were recorded on the 23 permanent speed cameras around the county during this time, with 5,147 of those recorded on the Taverham camera.

This is a considerable increase when compared with the previous 12 months, from April 2015 to April 2016, when 1,802 drivers were caught by the same camera.

A new digital camera, called a Truvelo, was installed at the location in March 2016. Road safety and safety camera team manager for Norfolk and Suffolk, Anne Pointina, said: “Norfolk Safety Camera Partnership reviewed the camera technology two years ago and made the decision to invest in a replacement programme which meant replacing all of the current Gatso wet film cameras with new Truvelo digital cameras. This may be part of the reason for the increase, as the new camera is bi-directional, recording motorists exceeding the 30mph limit in both directions, and a lot of the other cameras don’t have that facility yet.

“Because it’s digital it also doesn’t require a film, which previously had to be manually replaced in the old-style Gatso cameras. Instead it can send the photos straight back to our servers for processing continuously with no break in service.

“We will be speaking to colleagues at the council in the new year to check that signage informing drivers of the speed camera is sufficient, in particular when coming from the Fakenham direction where the speed limit drops from 50 to 30mph.

“The ultimate aim of speed cameras is to slow drivers down, not catch them out. Hopefully people will start to be more aware of the speed limit on this stretch of road and the number of drivers caught will go down.”

In order to make everything as transparent as possible, the safety camera team are currently working on a website where the public can find information and figures for all the speed cameras in Norfolk. It is expected to go live in the next few months and will be hosted from the main Norfolk Constabulary website.

The camera on Fakenham Road

The camera on Fakenham Road

Conrad finishes his coastal challenge to cheers

He arrived at Cromer Pier still full of beans and ready to chat to the crowd of people who had been waiting to greet him.

BBC radio presenter Nick Conrad completed his four-day run along the Norfolk Coast path this afternoon, accompanied by local running club members and BBC weather presenter Elizabeth Rizzini, who ran with him for the last day from Cley to Cromer.

Nick is raising money for Children in Need in what has become an annual fundraiser of various sporting and other events, including in past years singing in public and a triathlon.

This the fifth year of his efforts was a 45-mile run from Hunstanton in four days, accompanied, along with others, by trainer Neil Featherby, from the North Norfolk Beach Runners.

“I have been joined by different people every day which has been lovely,” said Nick, who arrived in Cromer just before the rain to cheers from the Radio Norfolk listeners, who had come along to see him, and the cast of the Cromer Christmas Show.

He added: “We have been really looked after at all the starting points this week by the National Trust, Cley Windmill and Wells Beach Café and cheered along en route.”

He admitted to being “a little tired” after running solidly for three hours a day, but was delighted to have completed his challenge and is looking ahead to next year already. Maybe you have some ideas?

Here is how you can donate

To show your support for Conrad’s Coastal Challenge text the word CONRAD to 70705 (UK only). Each text costs £5 plus your standard network message charge. The full £5 will go to BBC Children In Need. You must be 16 or over and please ask the bill payer’s permission.

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