Drayton’s 12 Days of Christmas video hit

A Drayton estate agent’s inspired Christmas idea has helped promote local businesses – and given hundreds of people a good laugh.

Wil Barber, owner of William’s Way Estate Agent’s, has put together a 12 Days of Christmas video featuring a dozen local businesses.

Each firm uses their “day” to give their particular service a musical plug, while dressed in Christmas gear.

The finished song had more than 850 views on Youtube within a day of its release and had become a talking point in the village, according to Wil, who grew up in Drayton.

“We’re always looking for fun things to do to get the community involved,” said Wil. “I’m a local kid so I’ve got a lot more emotional attachment to the area. We were thinking ‘what can we do to help the community?’ I also wanted to do something to show the community that we are a community – and we knew that it would be hilarious!”

Wil said they had no trouble filling the 12 appearance slots. “In the end we were fighting people off and since its release people have been saying ‘why didn’t you ask me to be in it?’ Estate agents have a bad reputation for being pushy and salesy. I wanted to do something to show that we’re not like that.

“There have been loads of lovely comments on the community Facebook page. Now we’re thinking about next Christmas. We’ve had a joke about doing a Christmas calendar, featuring all the old blokes!”

To watch the video go to:

Pictured are a few stills from the video featuring Drayton businesses

They did it! Swim pool fundraising success

Things looked pretty bleak two years ago when the air filtration system at Drayton Junior School’s 44-year-old swimming pool packed up.

The pool, used by hundreds of children in the area, had to close and £25,000 was needed for repairs.

But not only did the community rally round to find that sum, supporters went on to raise a total of more than £60,000, safeguarding the pool’s future for another 40 years.

Fund-raising events included quizzes, a 40th-birthday skydive by mum Melanie Coleman who has a son and a daughter at the school, Taverham Lions’ cycle ride and barn dances, Longdale Park Fete, a swimming gala at Riverside Leisure Centre, and proceeds from Taverham High School’s rag week.

The school held a tea party and ribbon-cutting ceremony last month to celebrate a fantastic community effort and to thank two fund-raising mums from the school’s Friends group, who went above and beyond to raise the cash.

Jane Dennis and Cathryn Heseltine were presented with bouquets by grateful head teacher David Oldham for the many hours they spent applying for grants and co-ordinating fund-raising.

Both women had children at the school when the appeal was first launched but carried on helping after their youngsters moved on.

Amazingly, the first £25,000 was raised within 10 months, allowing the pool to re-open.

But a decision was taken to press on and raise more cash to replace the worn-out roof of the pool which was letting in water, said teacher Michael Silvester, who learned to swim there when he was a pupil at the school.

About half the total was raised by the community and half came from grants.

Pupils from many local schools, including those in the Nebula Partnership, use the pool, together with other members of the community, from toddlers to pensioners.

“It’s a community pool that’s based in the school and the reason for the success of this appeal is that so many people use it,” said the head.

“Jane and Cathryn have been fantastic. They have never once given up because they could see it was for the good of the community and now we have a pool that should last another 40-odd years.”

Pictured: Head teacher David Oldham and pupils prepare to cut the ribbon. Bottom: Cathryn Heseltine (left) and Jane Dennis with pupils.



Drayton Post Office moves round corner

Drayton Post Office has been saved and is open for business.
But new postmaster Neal Gurney is concerned that some villagers aren’t aware of its new location, especially as it’s currently hidden by vehicles belonging to builders working on the new Domino’s pizza outlet which is due to open in the Post Office’s former site.
The village Post Office had been inside Drayton Stores, on Fakenham Road, for many years but when owners John Gallant and Mark Curson decided to retire, its future looked under threat.
But the pair, backed by Drayton Parish Council, were keen to keep a Post Office as a community service and approached Neal, 33, who already ran four other Post Offices in Norfolk.
He recognised the potential of the business and now, while the front of the old Drayton Stores building is being taken over by Domino’s, a partition has been built and the Post Office has moved into the back, with its own entrance at the side.
It is a main Post Office, open from 9am-5.30pm, Monday to Saturday, offering all services, including foreign currency and passport checking, and customers with most high street banks can deposit and withdraw cash and cheques there.
The hole-in-the-wall machine has moved round the corner with the Post Office which also sells greetings cards, gifts and some sweets.
Back in 2005 Neal, then aged 20, became one of the youngest postmasters in the country when he took over Thorpe St Andrew Post Office after his father went into semi-retirement.
In 2014 he took on Acle Post Office as well and, since then, he has also acquired Post Offices in Harleston and Framingham Earl.
Despite fierce competition in the mail and parcels business nowadays, Neal said it was still possible for Post Offices to thrive.
“They can sustain themselves providing we can make people aware we’re still here and we’re still doing things people find useful,” he said.
The Domino’s workforce is due to finish any day and Neal hopes their departure will make the Post Office more visible, and open up its car park.
The six staff who had worked at the old Post Office are all employed at the new business which is also the hub for 14 postmen and women who deliver mail to more than 5,000 local homes.
It’s been a very busy summer and autumn for Neal who took over at Drayton in August and became the proud dad of baby daughter Darcie on September 8. He and his wife Charlotte, who does the accounts, already have a two-year-old son, Dylan.

Pictured: Neal Gurney with assistant manager Nicky Day.


Drayton martial arts pair are world champions

A martial arts instructor and a schoolboy from Drayton have returned from a world championship competition with a clutch of gold medals.

Wayne Baker and Callum Green earned the honours representing Great Britain at the World Martial Arts Games in Orlando, Florida.

Callum, 12, a pupil at Taverham High School, gained four world champion gold medals – in kumite, continuous sparring, team kumite and team points – and three bronze medals.

Wayne, master instructor of the South Eastern School of Martial Arts (SESMA), based in Drayton, competed in five categories and was successful in four, winning silver in Korean Forms, Team Forms, Team Kumite and becoming world champion in the Individual Kumite.

He narrowly missed being placed in Japanese Kata by 0.25 of a point. Callum began his martial arts career aged four at SESMA and, after a break, returned to the discipline as a student with the Black Belt Academy in Norwich.

More than 30 countries were invited to compete at the Orlando games which had to be condensed from three to two days because Hurricane Irma was expected.

Callum’s grandmother, Jackie Green, said competitors had to observe a 48-hour curfew, not leaving the hotel complex where the competition was held, in case Hurricane Irma caused problems.

It had been windy, with trees down and cars damaged, but Orlando had escaped comparatively lightly compared to some parts of  Florida, said Mrs Green.

Since his triumphant return from America, Wayne has competed in two further tournaments, the East of England Championships and the Peterborough Grand Prix Series, winning both the competitions in the Kata/Forms categories.

He will be representing Great Britain again in the European Championships next year in Schaan, Liechtenstein. He has also been asked by the British director of the World Martial Arts Games Commission to be a GB coach and train the British Kumite team.


One-off chance to cycle un-opened NDR

For one day only, cyclists are being invited to explore the westernmost sections of the A1270 Norwich Northern Distributor Road before they are opened to traffic.

The new dual carriageway is nearing completion between the A1067 Fakenham Road and the Drayton Lane roundabout, and these stretches will be open to cyclists from 10am to 4pm on Sunday  October 29 as part of the Norfolk Walking and Cycling Festival. These sections of road, and Drayton Lane to A140 Cromer Road, are expected to be opened to traffic in November, provided good progress is maintained on the major A1270/A140 junction.

Martin Wilby, chairman of Norfolk County Council’s environment, development and transport committee, said: “We are very pleased to give local people a chance to see the road before it’s open to general traffic, and to explore the new cycle-ways and links to Marriott’s Way and communities such as Horsford and Thorpe Marriott.

“This will be a one-off opportunity to ride on a traffic-free main carriageway, but maintaining and improving permanent cycle links is an essential part of the project. Once the whole NDR is finished, it will still be possible to use new and existing paths and quiet lanes to get from Fakenham Road to Postwick without setting foot or bicycle wheel on the road itself.”

Volunteers from main contractor Balfour Beatty, and from Norfolk County Council’s NDR and  ‘Pushing Ahead’  teams will be joined by others to provide supervision at key locations, including the Fir Covert Road and Reepham Road roundabouts, where cyclists will have to crossing live traffic.

John Birchall, NDR public liaison officer, said there had been many requests to run or cycle on the main carriageway before it opens to vehicles. “The 29th is primarily a family cycling event, and explorers will be able to decide for themselves how much of the three miles of dual carriageway or connected paths they ride. We are aiming to focus on runners when the last sections of the route, north of Postwick, are nearing completion next spring.”

Access on and off the NDR itself will be at the Fakenham Road, Fir Covert Road, Reepham Road and Drayton Lane roundabouts, but people coming from further afield will be able to park at the site compound off New Drayton Lane (NR10 3AN). Marriott’s Way also connects to the new cycle paths along the NDR, but is less suitable for road bikes. A leaflet and plan can be downloaded from the Pushing Ahead website.

 Photo: Pashley


Arrest over Marriott’s Way attempted kidnap
Detectives are questioning a man this morning in connection with the attempted kidnap of a woman in Norwich.

It follows an incident yesterday, Sunday October 8 between 5pm and 5.15pm, on Marriott’s Way, on a section of footpath next to Barker Street.

The victim, aged in her 20s, was walking towards the city centre near Halfords when she was approached from behind and grabbed.

Following a short struggle the victim managed to escape while the suspect fled the scene, running towards Drayton.

As a result of enquiries, a man in his 30s was arrested in connection with the incident at an address in Norwich shortly after 6pm.

The man remains in custody at Wymondham Police Investigation Centre where he will be questioned. The area where the incident happened has been sealed off while enquiries continued.

Girl with dogs approached in Taverham

Police are appealing for information following an attempted theft which took place in Taverham last week.

 On Wednesday  October 4 at approximately 3.30pm on Breck Farm Lane, Taverham, a young female was out walking her dogs after school when she was approached by two young males in dark hooded clothing. The males tried to take the dogs’ leads but the female managed to get away. The males then got into a vehicle and left the area.

 PC Andy Hudson, Taverham beat manager, said “Residents can be reassured that extra patrols of the area have taken place and we are also speaking to local dog walkers to make them aware and increase vigilance.

“I have been made aware that this incident and others are discussed on community Facebook pages. I would encourage anyone with information to report this directly to us so that we can investigate it appropriately”.

 If you were a witness to this incident or can provide any information please contact PC Hudson at Taverham Police Station on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Pictured: PC Andy Hudson



Boxing and chess supporting African schools

A sporting event combining cerebral prowess with boxing agility is being staged in Norwich to support an innovative Norfolk charity that uses technology to deliver education to remote African schools.

Chessboxing sees opponents slug it out and then sit down and swap chess moves in alternating rounds in a sport that truly brings brain and brawn together.

Four bouts are being staged at Norwich OPEN on Saturday, October 21, to raise funds for the Yellobric charity’s work in harnessing technology to deliver eBooks and e-Learning platforms to African schoolchildren.

Yellobric founder Gavin Paterson, who farms at Smallburgh, promised: “It will be much more than a sporting event; we have commentators explaining chess moves, there will be a bar, cabaret, DJ and food and there will be a great atmosphere on the night.”

Among the contestants is 25-year-old former UEA student Cameron Little. Now a geotechnical technician, which involves surveying land across East Anglia as a precursor to development, he has been chessboxing for a year and fights under the name of Hurt Locker.

“I think chessboxing coming to Norwich is great,” he said. “It represents the sport growing beyond the confines of London and into other parts of the UK. As I also used to live in Norwich, I am hopeful a few friends will come out and show support.”

Chessboxing has been described as “a wild mix-up of two of mankind’s oldest sporting obsessions” and sees the winner decided by checkmate or knock-out, whichever comes first.

Cameron’s opponent on the night is Matt Gershfield, aka Jock Talk, a British advertising executive based in Amsterdam. Local fighters from Norwich include Prince Titus Beya-Smiler, known to friends as Lambert and with a fight name of the Prince of Pawn. Lambert studied criminology at UEA and is now a key worker at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust working as a mental health specialist.

Cameron started playing chess when he was 10 but also did Tae Kwon Do for about four years. “I’m used to training hard, but I would consider myself more a chess player who boxes,” he added. “Putting the two sports together is the ultimate test of brawn and brain. Remaining sharp over the board gets more difficult after you’ve exhausted yourself on the boxing and taken hits to the head. Add the pressure – there are maybe 500 people watching you – and it is a real challenge.”

Yellobric was formed by Gavin after a visit to Africa and gained charitable status in November 2011. Over the past six years it has delivered e-Learning platforms to schools in Africa and provided more than 300,000 eBooks at a fraction of the cost of conventional novels and textbooks.

Doors open for the chessboxing event at the OPEN Norwich at 7pm on Saturday, October 21, with the first fight at 8pm. Tickets start at £15 (£12 – NUS). For more information and ticket details visit or or call 01603 763111.