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Full STEAM ahead for £19 million Dyson building at Gresham’s School

Sir James Dyson, Founder of Dyson and Gresham’s alumnus, has donated £18.75 million to Gresham’s School in Holt, Norfolk to enable a new centre for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) education.

The Dyson Building will be designed by Dyson’s architects Wilkinson Eyre, the first practice to achieve two consecutive wins of both the Lubetkin Prize and the Stirling Prize. It will be located at the heart of Gresham’s Senior School, and will be completed by September 2021.

Douglas Robb, Gresham’s Headmaster, said: “This is by far the largest donation the school has ever received and the new spaces will have an immense impact on the quality of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics education that our students receive, now and for decades to come. We are hugely grateful to Sir James and are excited that our partnership will be a long lasting one. We look forward to working with the James Dyson Foundation to develop new and inventive approaches to teaching and with The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology to explore exciting long-term opportunities for our students to pursue careers in engineering.”

The building will enable new approaches to teaching, encouraging project work and collaboration. Spaces will be equipped with the latest technology to ensure the highest levels of teaching; from robotics and programming, to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning. The building will also provide greatly improved opportunities for the outreach programme which Gresham’s runs with local schools.

Sir James Dyson said, “Engineering and science are the most fulfilling of careers, they are also vitally important to our society and economy. To prime a pipeline of young people who want to study engineering, we must inspire them at the earliest possible stage – I hope this building will do just that. For 20 years, my Foundation has supported science and engineering education. I’ve observed that from the age of around six, children are very engaged; they are inventive, dreaming up ideas, and curious, wanting to know how they can be made. But these traits get stamped out of them, partly by the system and partly because the teaching of these subjects in schools has not kept up with the pace of technological change. By creating state of the art spaces I hope that we can foster, inspire and educate more brilliant young minds. I am so pleased Gresham’s will be leading the charge.”

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.

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.

 

 

Aylsham and Holt Santander branches to close

The Aylsham and Holt branches of Santander are to close in the summer as the bank reshapes its branch network.

The two branches will be among 140 nationally to shut in response to changes in how customers are choosing to carry out their banking.

Aylsham’s Red Lion Street branch will close on July 4, and the Holt one on June 13.

Santander’s future branch network will be made up of a combination of larger branches offering improved community facilities to support local businesses and customers, and smaller branches using the latest technology to offer customers more convenient access to banking services.

Santander has consulted its trade unions on the proposed changes and will seek to find alternative roles for the 1,270 colleagues affected wherever possible. Santander expects to be able to redeploy around a third of those affected and will be closely supporting colleagues over the coming weeks as the consultation process continues.

Santander will also support customers of closing branches to find other ways to bank that best suit their needs, including individual help to find alternative branches and access digital, telephone and Post Office banking services.

Around 100 Santander branches will be refurbished over the next two years through an investment of £55m. Work to improve the North Walsham branch has already been carried out and the new-look branch was re-opened in November.

Susan Allen, head of retail and business banking, said: “The way our customers are choosing to bank with us has changed dramatically in recent years, with more and more customers using online and mobile channels. As a result, we have had to take some very difficult decisions over our less visited branches, and those where we have other branches in close proximity.”

The Aylsham branch of Santander

Extra funding for North Norfolk market towns

Funding for a wide range of projects designed to improve the economic vitality of North Norfolk’s four inland market towns has been approved.

A meeting of North Norfolk District Council’s Cabinet agreed to a set of recommendations today which had been put forward by the Market Towns Initiative working group.

Each town was able to bid for £100,000 to spend on projects enabling them to take part in the development of their economic future. The money comes from a total pot of £400,000.

Around £130,000 remains in the Market Towns Initiative fund and a second round of applications will be opened to access this money, with the closing date for these applications being February 12.

The amount any one town can receive in total will remain at a maximum of £100,000 – so if a town received £50,000 in the first round, it would be able to bid for up to £50,000 in the second round.

Sarah Butikofer, leader of North Norfolk District Council and chairman of the MTI working group, said: “I was delighted by the range of projects that were put forward and very pleased that cabinet ratified the recommendations of the working group this morning. All of our communities deserve our support.”

The nine successful applicants included:

The Holt Society – £7,210 to design and print a pamphlet and five notice boards to provide information on the Holt Owl Trail to residents and visitors.

Love Holt – £26,000 to implement a major marketing campaign for the town designed to increase visitors and trade.

Holt Town Council – £17,514 for projects including an accessible Yellow Brick Route, and a Holt park-and-ride scheme.

Regenerate North Walsham and North Walsham Town Council – £99,575 to implement three major improvement projects split between improving St Nicholas Court, the town centre and attracting more visitors to the town.

St Nicholas Court in North Walsham

Free Christmas parking dates in North Norfolk

Every town in North Norfolk has chosen two days of free parking over the festive period.

North Norfolk District Council has decided once again to waive the parking charges before Christmas. This year the free parking period will run on various dates between November 24 and December 23.

The decision supported North Norfolk’s businesses and traders by encouraging people to buy their Christmas gifts and supplies in their local towns. At a crucial time of year for the retail community, it was also a gesture of goodwill for the festive season in response to requests from businesses, said a spokesman.

Posters will be put up in all relevant car parks giving the information for the individual towns. On the days themselves, payment machines will be covered to make sure people understand they do not need to pay.

The free weekend car parking sessions will be:

•             North Walsham – November 24 and December 1

•             Cromer – December 1 and 8

•             Fakenham – December 15 and 22

•             Stalham – December 2 and 8

•             Wells – November 24 and December 8

•             Holt – December 16 and 23

•             Sheringham – December 1 and 8

 

 

Free parking for Remembrance Sunday

Parking in North Norfolk District Council car parks will be free on Remembrance Sunday (November 11) in response to local community wishes.

Posters will be put up in advance in all car parks to give notice of the event. The payment machines will be covered up on the day to make it clear to users that the car parks won’t require payment.

Parking charges in North Norfolk District Council car parks usually apply from 8am to 6pm.

A council spokesman said: “It’s important to North Norfolk District Council that we are able to make it easier for residents to be able to attend local remembrance services more easily, hence the decision to provide free parking on this date.”