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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

 

Youngsters take on new show for latest performance

Talented youngsters will be taking on a new show when Norfolk Youth Music Theatre stages its latest production.
Director Adrian ConnelI was recently tipped off about a show, The Battle of the Boat, that had just been written and was yet unpublished. It had some performances by the National YMT at the Rose Theatre in London to trial it.
He said: “After contacting Ethan Maltby, the composer, to discuss performing the show I realised we had both gone to the same school and Ethan grew up three miles from where I did. It also turned out that I had been his chaperone in Edinburgh in the 1980s when he was a 16-year-old percussionist in the National YMT playing for Whistle Down the Wind. I knew his mother and a trombonist who regularly plays for the Norfolk YMT had played for the Rose Theatre production of The Battle of Boat.”
(The cast includes Aylsham High student Eleanor Diss, from Briggate, Isobel Holroyd, from Aldborough, Megan Howlett, from North Walsham and Mabel White, Aylsham.)
The Battle of Boat is a courageous tale of a group of children trying to find their place in a world at war in 1916. Frustrated by their inability to join the soldiers in battle, the children decide to do whatever it takes to help in the war effort.
However, they soon have to tackle their own conflict in the form of a local gang of bullies who will stop at nothing to see every plan they form fail.
Adrian said: “It’s heartwarming, funny, emotional and exciting and a true celebration of the steadfast British spirit that shone through during WW1.”
The script uses the language and emotions that young children use, particularly from the wartime era. It’s deliberately simple and littered with the nonsense youngsters get up to. Despite its innocence the music is extremely difficult.
Maltby and co-writer Jenna Donnelly began their writing partnership in 2010 with a commissioned piece for the opening of the Kent Youth Games. They went on to write the percussion-musical DrumChasers in 2011, narrated by Stephen Fry.
The show will run November 1-4 at the Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich, 7.30pm nightly, with a 2.30pm matinee on the Saturday. Tickets are £12, concessions available.
Norfolk YMT is taking the show to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2018.

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.

Anger over ruined Hellesdon road verges

Fed up Hellesdon residents are calling on Norfolk County Council (NCC) to stop motorists parking on grass verges.

Parents dropping off children and collecting them from school have been blamed for wrecking sections of grass along Meadow Way.

But NCC says it will not be protecting the verges and suggests the school involved should send letters to parents, asking them to park more considerately.

Neighbours Brian Leckie and Anne Daynes say up to 30 cars park on verges on both sides of Meadow Way each morning and afternoon, as parents take children to and from Firside Junior School.

“They churn up and kill the grass. It’s such a mess and it’s such a shame, “said Mrs Daynes.” It just turns them to mud and they look very unsightly.”

Mr Leckie wants NCC to set posts into the verges, as has been done in a different section of Meadow Way, which has prevented parking and protected the grass.

The council is currently laying new pavements in Meadow Way and contractors will be reseeding the verges when their work is finished.

“There’s absolutely no point doing that,” said Mr Leckie. “They’ll be a mud-bath the next day. It would be better if they put hard core down.”

An NCC spokesman said their powers to prevent parking on verges were limited as drivers were not acting illegally, providing they were not causing an obstruction or danger.

She added: “The verges on Meadow Way will be soiled and seeded as part of the ongoing footway scheme, but council policy is not to guard verges with posts to protect against parking and overrunning. “We do sympathise with residents’ frustration, however damage to the verge is normally cosmetic in nature and does not pose a danger to highway users.”

Firside head teacher Roz Robinson said the school actively worked with residents to maintain good relations and parents were reminded about considerate parking throughout the year.

Just last week she had sent out a newsletter including a section on parking. It asked parents to park considerately, turn off engines while waiting for children and said she would be asking local police to carry out spot checks.

Mrs Robinson added: “I can only apologise on behalf of our parents for any issues around parking near our neighbours’ property.  As a school we will continue to remind our parents about parking and road safety in general.”

Pictured: Brian Leckie and Anne Daynes beside one of the damaged verges on Meadow Way and a different part of the road where posts have been installed preventing parking and protecting the grass.

 

 

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 www.londonchessboxing.com or www.opennorwich.org.uk or call 01603 763111.

Can you sing for Big C this Christmas?

This November and December, Norfolk’s cancer charity, Big C, is calling for local community choirs and musical groups to raise money for the charity at their Christmas performances.

Clive Evans, director of income generation and communications for Big C, said: “Singing and playing music together is good for the soul and a wonderfully festive way to end the year. We would love to hear from anyone who belongs to a singing group, school or church choir, musical group or performing arts centre and is keen to join in with Big C’s Christmas Carols and raise money at their seasonal concerts for local people living with cancer. Every penny raised will go directly to help those affected by cancer in Norfolk and Waveney.”

Last year’s Big C Christmas Carols raised more than £10,000. Performances included Norwich High School for Girls Junior Choir, Simply Sing King’s Lynn Community Choir, Ellingham and Great Dunham schools, Wymondham College, and the children’s ILUVUKE band, as well as staff from the Institute of Food Research, Wymondham’s D’Capo, the Keswick Hall Choir, Big Heart and Soul Choir from Castle Acre and the Fakenham Town Band.

Big C was founded in 1980, when two young men from Norfolk found themselves with cancer and having to travel to London or Cambridge for treatment, often finding this journey harder than the treatment itself. They vowed the people of Norfolk and Waveney would have access to the best treatment and support in their local areas.

Today Big C funds ground-breaking cancer research at the Norwich Research Park and state of the art surgical and diagnostic equipment. The charity also has four drop-in support and information centres across Norfolk and Waveney that are used by thousands of people every year affected by cancer.

If you are interested in holding a Christmas Carol event for Big C, contact Claire Feek, fundraising administrator on 01603 964501 or Claire.feek@big-c.co.uk

www.big-c.co.uk

Hellesdon couple in Las Vegas shooting horror

A Hellesdon woman on holiday in Las Vegas has described the terrifying moment when a shooter began gunning down concert-goers outside the hotel where she and her husband are staying.

Jill Seddigh spoke in a whisper this morning from the locked-down Luxor hotel where she, her husband Farz and other guests have been told to stay in their rooms and keep noise at a minimum until further notice.

At least 50 people have been killed and more than 200 injured in the horrifying attack which began when a gunman, named as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, which is next door to the Luxor.

The Seddighs dived under their dinner table as mass panic broke out after the firing started, at about 10.10pm local time while the outdoor country-music festival was in full swing close to the two hotels.

The couple were having dinner in the hotel’s ground-floor food court when they first became aware that something was wrong.

“So many people just came running in, some screaming. We didn’t hear the shooting but there was just absolute panic. They were running all over the place shouting that there was a shooter out there, and screaming to everybody to get down.

“Farz grabbed me and told me to get under the table. It was the most terrifying thing I have ever been through,” said Jill.

While the Seddighs and everyone else in the food court were sheltering under tables, security staff appeared and ushered everybody through a fire exit into an area used by staff.

“People were sitting on the floor crying. One girl was covered in blood from someone who had been shot. I asked her if she was OK and she said she was. She was on her mobile desperately trying to contact help,” said Jill.

The security staff had then told the Seddighs and other guests that they needed to go to their hotel rooms and lock themselves in until given the all-clear.

Guests had run to the lifts and into their rooms where the Seddighs, who are staying on the fifth floor, have been since 10.45pm local time.

Speaking to Just Regional at 3am local time, Jill said they could see the festival site from the far right of their bedroom window but, in darkness, all that was visible were masses of police cars, while helicopters were flying overhead.

“There’s no way we can sleep,” she added. “We’re following what’s happening on Fox News. Police are swarming everywhere. We’re waiting to be told when we can come out. To be honest, I’m just feeling completely shocked – I can’t take it all in.”

Farz, 46, and Jill, 51, own UK Blinds, on Fifers Lane. They arrived in Las Vegas on Saturday and were due to stay there until this Friday.

Police officers have shot and killed a suspect, identified as a local resident. They believe they have located an Asian female, Marilou Danely, believed to have been travelling with him.