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A fab night of music at Theatre Royal

I never got to see the Beatles perform live, possibly due to the fact that I wasn’t born until 1966.

My discovery of the Fab Four came much later when, as a 12-year-old, I found a stack of LPs and a portable record player belonging to my stepmum, a huge fan who also never got to see them live.

So last night’s performance Let It Be at the Theatre Royal was a right treat for us both.

The show looked back at the musical history of the “mop tops” through the recreation of signature performances such as the Royal Variety Show and Shea Stadium, interspersed with newsreel and adverts from the time. How we chuckled as the newly-married bride lit up with the voiceover slogan “time for a Capstan”.

The four performers were faultless musicians, swapping from guitar to piano and back. The joke back in the day was that Ringo Starr wasn’t the best drummer in the world, he wasn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles. You certainly couldn’t have said that about Ben Cullingworth as a believable Ringo. He was joined on stage by Richard Jordan as John (he passed the test with my stepmum, John was her favourite), John Brosnan as George and Emanuele Angeletti as Paul.

The first half was a tour through the Beatles’ back catalogue from early days to the Sgt Pepper years, the second half an imagined reunion for John’s 40th birthday taking in each band member’s solo material. This included a stunning version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps with the guitar solo masterfully played by ‘George’. George didn’t event play that on the original, it was Eric Clapton.

The audience ranged in age but had one thing in common, they knew the words to all the songs and were encouraged to sing along and get up, clap and dance.

A couple of crowd pleasers ended the concert – Let It Be and Hey Jude – before a standing ovation. A truly uplifting evening of music from one of the worlds best and biggest bands.

“Kill* for a ticket” – Patsy Webster (stepmum)

(*Don’t actually kill someone, obviously. The show runs until Saturday and tickets are still available. www.theatreroyal.co.uk)

Gay Webster

Pictures: Paul Coltas

No Great British Prom at Blickling this summer

The Great British Prom will be taking a break this year with a view to returning to the Blickling Estate in 2020.

Lisa Ward of organisers Revival Productions said: “We have been running this type of concert for many years and experience shows us that sometimes it’s good to have a break, with a view to coming back with renewed vigour.

“The Great British weather worked against us last year, however, we know that this event has become a firm favourite in the Norfolk calendar and so we are planning to come back bigger and better in 2020!”

Jo Bosch, visitor experience nanager at Blickling said “Our summer concerts are something we look forward to all year and are a highlight of our annual programme. 

“Classic Ibiza promises to be even bigger and better this year and we really welcome the approach our partners at Revival Productions are taking in asking what their loyal supporters would like to see at the Great British Prom event at Blickling in 2020.”

Revival Productions are asking the Great British Prom audience what they’d like to see for 2020. The traditional proms event or perhaps something different? You can have your say by visiting the Great British Prom Facebook page and commenting there, or email info@revival-productions.co.uk with your thoughts.

Lisa added: “Tell us what you’d love to see! We have a year to plan something very special for our Norfolk audience.”

Classic Ibiza will be returning this year on Friday August 9. For full event details please visit www.classicibiza.co.uk or call 01283 841601.

 

Blickling Great British Prom 2017, Photo by Simon Finlay Photography.

Hellesdon school closed due to gas leak

Pupils had to leave Hellesdon High School this morning because of a gas leak on the premises.

The emergency closure was announced at 11am. A spokesman for Cadent Gas said: “We were called to the school this morning. Our engineer arrived on site and found that a gas safe registered engineer (an engineer legally permitted to carry out gas work) was on site and that the gas supply had been isolated and the school evacuated. Our local network was checked and no faults were found.”

 

 

 

Norfolk drink/drug driving results shock

Nearly 190 people were arrested during the Christmas drink and drug driving campaign in Norfolk, with more people testing positive for drugs than alcohol.

Norfolk police have just released the results of the month-long campaign, launched on 1 December 2018, which targeted drivers getting behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol and drugs. A total of 189 drivers were arrested.

A break down of the results shows that 1,140 breath tests were carried out with 72 people providing positive readings, while 97 people failed drug tests out the 180 conducted.  In addition, nine people were arrested for failing to provide a specimen while 11 people were arrested for being unfit to drive through drink or drugs.

During the 2017 campaign, 947 tests were carried out with 81 drivers providing positive readings. Of the 172 drug tests conducted 56 drivers failed. In addition, six people were arrested for failing to provide a specimen while 12 people were arrested for being unfit to drive through drink or drugs.

This year again saw specific time slots at Norwich Magistrates’ Courts being reserved to deal with those caught drink or drug driving. This effectively meant that offenders could lose their licence within 24 hours of being breathalysed whilst facing additional fines.

Chief Inspector Kris Barnard, Head of the Roads Armed Policing Team (RAPT), said: “It’s disappointing to see that people are still prepared to take the risk and get behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol, although it does appear to be a minority of motorists.

“A notable difference during this campaign is that there have been more drivers tested positive for drugs than alcohol. While this is a concern, drug driving is something we actively target all year round. It’s also a reflection of our increased ability to carry out roadside tests for cannabis and cocaine.

“Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol impairs your judgement, making your reactions slower and therefore increasing the chances of being involved in a collision.”

 

A roadside drug-test device.

 

 

Plea for help with Hellesdon’s heritage

Fascinating nuggets of information about local life and industries a century ago are being unearthed by researchers with the Hellesdon Community History group – and they are appealing for readers’ help.

History group members are compiling a booklet about Hellesdon during and in the aftermath of the First World War and want as much information, and as many photographs, as possible.

Group spokesman Danny Buck said late in the First World War the Army had set up the Hellesdon Depot School of Ploughing, at Hellesdon Lodge, where returning soldiers could be trained in agricultural work, especially ploughing, as well as harrowing and general horse care.

After completing their training the men received a bonus of 10s (50p) and were sent out to work on Norfolk farms. The depot was also used as a hospital for sick horses working in the area of food production. Frustratingly, there are no known photographs of the depot.

And at the former Mann Egerton factory, on Reepham Road – where Anglian Home Improvements is today – aircraft were made to support the war effort, including some of the company’s own design, such as the Mann Eggerton Type B patrol bomber. History group member Keith Evans is investigating the possibility of a memorial to the factory.

“We want to know about every aspect of Hellesdon’s World War One heritage and the changes it made – for example women getting the vote,” said Danny. “We would also like to hear from local community groups about their history – for instance the Parish Room by St Mary’s Church was built in the early 1920s as a response to the First World War.”

The group hopes to produce the booklet in time for a second Hellesdon History Live day this summer, following the success of the inaugural event last July. Members have pencilled in Saturday June 29 for the event as it is close to the centenary, on June 28, of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles which ended the First World War.

“We would love to hear from anyone who would like to get involved with the event – anything from helping with the organising, to presenting something on their community group,” Danny added.

Anyone with information for the booklet is asked to get in touch with the group by February 28 2019, either via its @HellesdonHistory Facebook page, or by dropping into its meetings which are held in Hellesdon Library on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month from 2pm-4pm.

Danny Buck.

Second baby for MP Chloe

Chloe Smith (pictured), MP for Norwich North, is expecting her second child in May next year.

Chloe, 36, and husband Sandy, 40, are looking forward to a brother or sister for toddler Alastair, now 2.

 Chloe, who is in her tenth year representing Norwich North, says:

 “We’re really excited and delighted. Alastair will love having a little brother or sister to play with. It’ll be hard work but a source of joy.”

 As with their first child, Chloe and Sandy hope to take six months each of shared parental leave. Chloe will make arrangements for her constituency work to be fully covered.

 

 

Just Regional celebrates first decade!

Yes that’s right, it was 10 years ago when the first issue of Just Aylsham first popped through letterboxes.

For those who don’t know the story, business owner Lee Todd was keen to see a local magazine full of local stories for his home town and so the idea of the hyperlocal Just name was established.

The Aylsham magazine was soon joined by one dedicated to North Walsham and the business then expanded along the coast, into other parts of Broadland and finally around the outskirts of Norwich.

Today, the Just magazines hits 50,000 dooormats in 10 areas, with free pick-ups in libraries, information centres and shops.

Just Regional serves 10 towns and city suburbs in Norfolk with four-weekly titles (three-weekly in Aylsham) and also covers all of those communities with Summer and Christmas special publications.

Built on a belief that hyperlocal news can be presented using high specification paper, quality journalism, excellent photography and professional sales, the business has grown from two part-time staff to 10 office staff and 120 distribution staff with their offices in Aylsham, a location central to all of the areas covered.

Lee said: “We’ve done an incredible job in Norfolk showing how hyperlocal can work, in a competitive marketplace, both for advertisers and readers.

“A lot of publishers have talked about hyperlocal for a long time – we have actually done it and made a success of the model.

“However we couldn’t have done it without our advertisers who have supported us right from day one. A big thank you to them and a happy anniversary to us!”

A big fan of the publications is BBC Radio Norfolk presenter Nick Conrad, who said: “Just Regional produce outstanding magazines run by wonderful people who love and champion their towns and villages. As the owner of a local business who has worked with Just Regional, these guys really get behind you and believe in you. Over the past decade they have woven themselves into the fabric of the communities they represent”.

The first issue of Just Aylsham from October 2008.

Warning after spate of vehicle break-ins

Police have warned Hellesdon drivers to make sure their vehicles are kept locked, even if parked on a driveway, after a spate of thefts overnight on Thursday October 4.

Cars were targeted in Wood View Road, Gowing Road and Kinsale Avenue. Bank cards stolen from one vehicle were later used in fraudulent transactions in Norwich.

Most the vehicles targeted had been left unlocked.

It is believed two suspects were involved. They are described as white males, wearing dark clothing and they had pushbikes with them.

Police are urging anyone who believes they’ve been a victim who hasn’t yet reported it to do so, and they are asking for people to check any CCTV covering the areas mentioned.

Anyone with information should contact the police on 101.