School library starts a new chapter

A school community gathered to enjoy the official opening of a new library, which will give pupils more opportunities to develop their reading skills.
The families of pupils at Kinsale Junior School, in Hellesdon, will also be able to use the new library to share their child’s reading journey.
The official opening was performed by Sara Goatcher from the Zoological Society of East Anglia.

NEW ERA: A ceremony was held to mark the official opening of the new library at Kinsale Junior School.  Pictures: WENSUM TRUST

A school spokesperson said: “Sara spends lots of time in our school teaching our children about science, animals and conservation, so it was wonderful to invite her to officially cut the ribbon.
“The whole school, along with parents and colleagues from the Wensum Trust, gathered to witness the cutting of the ribbon before families had the opportunity to look around the new library.
“The new library will provide our children with more opportunities to read a variety of books and we will be opening it up to families to share their child’s reading journey with them.”

‘Do Blue’ for World Mental Health Day

People in Hellesdon are being urged to ‘Do Blue’ on World Mental Health Day to raise funds for vital mental health services run by the charity Norfolk and Waveney Mind.

Whether it’s by wearing blue clothing, dyeing your hair or lighting up a building blue for the day, showing your support on Tuesday, October 10 will help the charity ensure that no one in our region has to face poor mental health alone.

Last year buildings across Norfolk from King’s Lynn Corn Exchange to Great Yarmouth Town Hall were illuminated blue on World Mental Health Day, as were Norwich Castle, Blickling Hall and the Pavilion Theatre in Gorleston among others. Businesses, councils, education providers and hundreds of individuals all across Norfolk and Waveney turned the region into a sea of blue to highlight the importance of tackling the growing problem of poor mental health.

ALL LIT UP : The Assembly House in Norwich

This year with services coming under increasing pressure, the leading local mental health charity is asking for more support to fund its work at every stage from prevention to crisis intervention.

Pete Boczko, chief executive officer of Norfolk and Waveney Mind, said: ‘We would love it if even more people and businesses could help us light up our region blue this World Mental Health Day to raise awareness and vital funds to support our work right here in Norfolk and Waveney. We want to build on last year’s success and keep people talking about this hugely important issue.

‘It’s not just about major gestures such as illuminating your building’s frontage – anything from wearing blue clothes for the day, to baking and selling blue cakes, to being sponsored to dye your hair or beard blue will help raise awareness of the crucial services we perform.

‘Every penny raised will help us to make a difference to people’s mental health in Norfolk and Waveney.’

All funds raised can be donated via Norfolk and Waveney Mind’s Do Blue online fundraising page, at

Mental health issues affect all of us, whether directly or by impacting someone we know. Up to 84 per cent of people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives. One in three GP visits is associated with a mental health issue, and in Norfolk, one in seven people lives with depression or anxiety.

To find out more about the Do Blue campaign, register your interest and download resources visit For any other questions, contact Norfolk and Waveney Mind’s fundraising team on 0300 330 5488 Option 2 or email

Soprano takes centre stage

A 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.

The concert is at 7pm and tickets are £12.50, under-16s free. Tickets can be bought on the door or from

Enjoy a dog day afternoon

May 1 will be a BARK holiday this year as pooches will be going on parade at the Overstrand Fun Dog Show.

It’s time to dust off your best collar and put your best paw forward for the highlight of the north Norfolk canine calendar.

Each year more people and their dogs arrive at the Sea Marge Hotel for 12 classes including waggiest tail, look-alike, best rescue, and scruffiest/fluffiest. The Best Village Dog wins the Mickey Sewell Perpetual Cup, named after the show’s original organiser.

Contestants from last year’s show.

There’s also an agility course, stalls, a raffle and cakes and the hotel bar and restaurant will be open.

Dog show regular and helper Paul Cullen said: “It’s a fabulous day out for both dogs and their owners. It’s not Crufts but the competition is fierce. Last year, there were more than 170 dogs and the event raised £1,100 for the village.

“Everyone is welcome to attend: mutts, mongrels, pups, hounds, and pedigrees. You can also bring your dog.”

Classes include a lookalike competition.

The show was started in 2015 by villager Mickey Sewell in collaboration with Overstrand Together, which helps organise events and activities in the village.

Registration starts at 1pm, with the first class at 2pm. General admission is free and each class costs £1 to enter.

Event organiser Bruce Stratton said: “This is great day out for all the family and lots of fun for everyone. All money raised goes back into the Overstrand Together village fund. We hope to see lots of wonderful dogs and their owners here for the Bank Holiday.”

New school garden is a feast for the senses

A new sensory garden is giving Kinsale Infant School pupils the perfect place to explore, have fun and relax.

The sensory garden, which complements the much-loved Forest School area, was created as a collaborative venture involving the Friends of Kinsale Infant chairperson Laura Holloway, volunteers, school staff and local businesses.

The official opening of the new sensory garden at Kinsale Infant School.

A school spokesperson said: “It is a beautiful addition to the school that will bring so much joy and wonder for years to come.

“Situated in the heart of the school, a haven of calm and magic has been created for all the children to enjoy. 

“Vibrant colours and natural materials work alongside each other to make a fun and inviting space with lots to see and explore.
“The garden is specifically designed to be used barefoot to enhance wellbeing. Features include a path made of different textures and materials which is perfect for sensory engagement and play. Water features can be touched and listened to while relaxing on one of the cosy beanbags.”
The garden also features twirling wind decorations to captivate young imaginations and a selection of soft mirrors to press where the children see themselves slightly differently depending which one they look in.

The spokesperson added: “The plants and flowers have all been chosen for their appearance and smell; everything in the garden has a purpose and a place. Two wooden wigwams with coloured windows are adorned with bunting and filled with comfy cushions which allow the area to be used whatever the weather.”

New training centre will help county build for the future

A new centre to train people for work in the construction section has been officially opened in Hellesdon.
The Norfolk Adult Learning Training Centre is based at the Hellesdon Hall Industrial Estate and has been developed in response to an increased demand in the county.

Adult Learning submitted a successful bid to the Community Renewal Fund and secured £568,000 to develop a sustainable construction curriculum and two new construction training centres for adult learners in the county.

Cllr Margaret Dewsbury, cabinet member for communities and partnerships at Norfolk County Council, said: “This new centre is one of two new facilities which will enable us to focus on the need to increase training opportunities in the construction industry within the county, including sustainable practices and training that helps to support our green agenda.

“We welcomed our first learners to the new Hellesdon centre in November last year and are looking forward to welcoming more learners in King’s Lynn when our next new centre opens in the spring.”

From January 2022, Adult Learning introduced the construction curriculum at a temporary training centre at Wensum Lodge in Norwich. In the initial 12 months, 600 learners completed courses in a range of construction skills, the most popular being carpentry. In the next year, the service plans to increase its delivery to 1,000 learners.”

Denise Saadvandi, head of Norfolk Adult Learning, said: “This new centre is going to be a real asset for preparing the future workforce.
“We’ll be able to provide state-of-the-art hands on experience so that when people start their careers they already have a wealth of experience in order to hit the ground running. As a service we are committed to ensuring that people have the rights skills to enable them to have good careers in the county.”

An Adult Learning spokesperson added: “Thirty-three per cent (198) of our initial construction learners were female, and this compares well with the 1 per cent of construction operatives who are female in industry. The current pay gap for construction operatives is 23 per cent.
“By providing skills and qualifications we aim to address this issue so that we both increase the proportion of female construction workers, and our female learners will secure better paid jobs in industry.”

Will’s offering a treat that money can’t buy

A day at a motor-racing event is on a lot of people’s wishlists, although tickets can be well out of the range of a lot of fans.

But Wroxham racing driver Will MacIntyre is aiming to treat some lucky fans to a VIP day at the races, meeting British Touring Car drivers, F4 drivers and Porsche drivers and seeing behind the scenes.

“They can go on pit lane walks and paddock tours with me. It’s time to give back,” said Will, who is gaining success in F4 driving.

Will is holding a competition which will help increase his profile and to give anyone buying a £5 ticket the chance to get two passes to an experience of a lifetime.

With 60 tickets up for grabs, spread over 10 weekends including meetings at Snetterton, Donington and Silverstone, he hopes the winners will be people who deserve a treat.

“Who do you know that wouldn’t get this opportunity to get close to the action and even sit in and be photographed in the cars?” he said. “Who do you know who, due to financial reasons or illness, wouldn’t ordinarily be able to attend a VIP day out?

“Perhaps you have a mate who always helps others, maybe a friend who’s struggling?”

Anyone buying a ticket can nominate someone to receive the prize and say why they deserve to be chosen.

Days at the track can cost £180 or more, but a tour with Will, meeting other drivers, sitting in the racing cars and getting access that’s normally reserved for drivers and their crews is something money can’t buy.

Will is back from training in the UAE where he finished fourth, sixth and seventh out of 40 drivers.

His attention is now turned to training this month in preparation for the start of the season in April. And he hopes to be taking fans with him to some of those races.


New bus service to UEA and N&N

A new bus service from Hellesdon to the UEA and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has been launched.

The Konectbus 512 service, funded by money from the Department for Transport, started operating on February 6 as part of Norfolk County Council’s Bus Service Improvement plan.

The service runs hourly, Monday to Friday, with the first bus arriving at the N&N at 7.10am and the last bus leaving the hospital at 6.25pm.

The bus runs from Reepham Road, opposite Meadow Way, and stops at the Airport Park and Ride site and then various points around the ring road, including: Boundary Road (for Asda), Sweet Briar Road (for the retail park), and Farrow Road (for the community hospital). It will then stop on Earlham Road for the UEA before ending at the N&N.|

The new 512 service complements other services to the UEA and N&N run by First Bus.

Cllr Graham Plant, cabinet member for Highways, Infrastructure and Transport at the county council, said: “The UEA and the hospital are both important locations in Norwich, receiving huge numbers of employees and visitors each day.

“This new service brings people living to the north of Norwich and into north Norfolk an option to travel more sustainably and save money on petrol and parking charges.”

A single trip on the services will cost £2 until the end of March as Konectbus is one of the operators taking part in the fare cap promotion funded by the government.

Gavin Smith, Managing Director of Go East Anglia/Konectbus, said: “Konectbus are delighted to have been involved with the BSIP funding project alongside other local operators and Norfolk County Council.

“The introduction of this new service will benefit so many and is also included within the government’s £2 bus fare scheme for single journeys.”

For the full 512 timetable, visit