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Make a date for open gardens

Some of the area’s most beautiful gardens are being opened this spring and summer to help raise money for St John Ambulance.
While the service was in high demand during 2020 helping the NHS deal with the covid-19 pandemic and now keeping busy assisting at vaccination centres, its fundraising took a nosedive.
And now gardens including Sheringham Hall and the Bishop of Norwich’s Garden are holding open days to give the charity a shot in the arm in return.
Sheringham Hall is the first garden to open up on April 17, from noon until 5pm, with Chestnut Farm at West Beckham, near Holt, soon after on May 16.
Visitors to Sheringham Hall, a house designed by Humphrey Repton, will be able to see the walled garden, glasshouses and cold frames which have been lovingly restored.


There are also walks through the woodland, a wildflower meadow and vistas over the park.

Chestnut Farm is a three-acre garden with plants gathered together during the past 50 years and more being added annually, with many rare and unusual species.
A stroll through the old paddock will show off the collection of shrubs and trees forming a small arboretum, many of which will be in blossom and giving off a wonderful scent.


The event at the Bishop’s Garden will be on July 4 but can be booked now.
Pre-booking might also be required at some of the gardens, and while there will be some distancing requirements in place there will be the usual tea and cake – albeit in a different format from previous years.
The charity needs your support so please visit stjohnopengardensgmail.weebly.com for more Norfolk gardens to visit, times, ticket prices and any necessary updates.
You can also call Georgina Holloway on 01328 700514 or email georginaholloway@hotmail.co.uk

Police move to allay dog theft fears

A rash of posts on social media provoking concerns about dog thieves has led to police issuing a statement to put minds at rest.

Community pages on sites such as Facebook have had lots of posts from dog walkers concerned about being targeted by thieves and apocryphal reports of attempts to take dogs by force, but police have quashed these, saying there have been no such crimes reported to them.

“We are aware of concerns and rumours circulating on social media about dogs being stolen or men in a van, including a van allegedly marked with the RSPCA logo, acting suspiciously around people out walking with their dogs.

“Please know there haven’t been any crimes recorded this week that relate to dog thefts nor have we received any reports of dogs being stolen from a property or while out walking with their owners over the last week.”

It went on to say that one person in North Walsham had reported a man in a Transit van asking questions about their dog, but no further reports had been received.

The RSPCA also moved to quash rumours that dog thieves were posing as RSPCA inspectors, and the police statement added: “The RSPCA has told us that a number of incidents circulating on social media claiming people are impersonating their inspectors do not appear to have been actual cases of people trying to pass as bogus officials.

“It’s important to know there are very few incidents whereby an RSPCA officer will approach someone in public unless they witness animal cruelty or see an animal in immediate danger. Officers will also wear RSPCA brand clothing and always carry RSPCA identification. RSPCA officers do not have power of entry or seizure unless accompanied by a police officer.”

But while they said there was no increase in threats to pets in the area, police stressed that any incident or concern – especially anyone claiming to be from the RSPCA – should be reported to them by calling 101.

“Try to give us as much detail about the person or the vehicle they were in as you can. And do not hesitate to call us on 999 if a crime is happening and you need our help.”

Chief constable set to retire

Norfolk’s Chief Constable Simon Bailey has today announced he will retire in June after completing 35 years’ service with the police.

Mr Bailey, who has led the force for the last eight years, said: “I have been extremely proud to lead Norfolk Constabulary as chief constable for the last eight years.  However, after 35 years in policing, the time has now come to look to pastures new.  So, following careful consideration, I have made the decision to retire.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey

“During my tenure as chief constable, the force has faced many challenges, including the last year policing in a pandemic and I am indebted to the support given to me from a dedicated and talented team of chief officers, alongside that of our Police and Crime Commissioner, Lorne Green.

 “I also want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of my officers and staff for their hard work, commitment and dedication in policing our county and making Norfolk Constabulary a force to be truly proud of.”

Since 2014 he has held the National Police Chief’s Council portfolio for Child Protection and Abuse Investigations and has been the NPCC lead for Violence and Public Protection since 2016.

 “As the NPCC lead for child protection, violence and public protection, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a dedicated and passionate group of people, leading our service’s response to some of the biggest challenges within law enforcement today. Together, I believe we have made a real difference and immensely proud of the work we have achieved,” he said.

A cup of kindness – for £1

Holt is to become one of the first places in the country to launch a reusable takeaway cup to be used around the town.
Having seen how a similar scheme worked in Shrewsbury, Sarah Tribe, of Greening Holt, decided to set about starting one here, working the same way as many sporting and music events.
“You pay £1 for the cup and then when you get a takeaway tea or coffee it is refilled,” she said.
“With the covid restrictions at the moment you hand in your cup each time and get a clean one – and at the end, when we are all tired of takeaway coffees, you take the cup back and get your £1 deposit back.”


Sarah said around half a dozen cafes in the town had already signed up to take part and the scheme was being set up and managed by the team at the Wandering Whelk café, who are selling the cups.
The scheme is aimed at putting a stop to single use disposable takeaway cups, encouraging the town to move towards becoming zero waste.
Of the seven million single-use cups that are thrown away every day in the UK, less than 1pc currently get recycled and most compostable cups actually end up in landfill.
The Holt Cup is 100pc polypropylene and is designed to be used hundreds of times. They come in a variety of colours and have been designed by Norwich brand consultants One Agency.

The scheme will have its official launch on April 15 and any cafés wishing to join in should email thegreeningholt@gmail.com

Helping yourself will help others, too

A local charity has launched Sheringham’s first community fridge in an effort to tackle both food waste and food poverty.
The fridge, which is at the Yesu Centre, on High Street, will enable residents and businesses to share surplus food, and for anyone to help themselves to quality food that would otherwise be wasted.

Fridge co-ordinator Sadie Houghton said: “We’re really excited to be able to do our bit to tackle these important issues with our community fridge, freezer, and shelves for unwanted dry goods.”

Sadie Houghton with some of the goods which will be available from the community fridge.

Food waste is a big issue in the UK. The average household throws away food worth around £700 every year while four million people are struggling to buy food.
Most food waste in the UK is avoidable and could have been eaten had it been better managed.

Yesu is asking food businesses in Sheringham and surrounding areas to donate surplus food from April 12 onwards.
Once covid-19 restrictions have been lifted, allotment holders and households will also be able to donate to the project.
The fridge will launch on Monday, April 12, with an outdoor ribbon cutting by mayor Madeleine Ashcroft. It will then be open to the public from Tuesday to Friday each week between 10.30am and 3.30pm.
To find out more about the Yesu Community Fridge, to donate or to volunteer, visit www.yesu.co.uk. You can also email sadie@yesu.co.uk or call 07752 275086.

Roxanne’s running to make memories

Unable to take part in the annual Memory Walk in aid of the Alzhheimer’s Society, Sheringham mum Roxanne Demmen decided to organise her own sponsored event to raise much-needed funds.

“My granddad had Alzheimer’s so every year we do the Memory Walk but this year it wasn’t happening so I thought I should do something,” she said. “I am currently running 5km five times a week for five weeks – I’ve called it the 555challenge.

“After losing our wonderful granddad a few years ago to this disease, and our other granddad now facing the same diagnosis, I know all too well how much this affects families.

“Memories are so precious, and this year has hit everyone hard, but the elderly haven’t been able to stay connected and sociable which has been devastating. Time is precious and we should make memories while we can.”

Roxanne with daughters Rosa and Fearne at one of the Memory Walks. This year they will be taking part in their own event to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society.

Roxanne, who worked at The Splash, has been joined on her runs by friends, family and well-wishers wanting to help. “It’s all about getting out and keeping active,” she said. “I’ve had people who don’t run, or don’t even jog coming along with me which is cool.”

And during the Easter holidays she will be joined by her daughters Rosa, aged nine, and seven-year-old Fearne, who will be on their bikes.

She says she is not a dedicated runner and that the regular runs are taking their toll, but in the past she has completed an ultra-marathon – a 30 mile race – so she thinks she will stay the course.

She has set up a Just Giving Page with a £200 target and she is already well on the way. Anyone wanting to give her a little push can click here

Demolition day…

Sheringham’s Splash leisure centre is being demolished to make way for a new venue – The Reef. Work knocking down the building is well under way and photographer Gareth Gabriel has put together a gallery of photos showing the downfall of the popular centre.

Its replacement is set to open in August and will have a six lane pool, gym, spinning studio and other facilitities including a cafe and a larger car park.

To see more photos visit Gareth’s website https://www.garethgabriel.com/

Neglected horses have a new life

Nineteen horses and ponies saved from neglect at a Welsh rescue centre are now enjoying happier new lives thanks to Redwings Horse Sanctuary.

The animals first arrived in Norfolk 18 months ago, but the Redwings team was unable to talk about them until the recent conviction and sentencing of the former owner of the Whispering Willows Sanctuary.

Last November, a total of 137 horses from Whispering Willows were taken into the care of equine welfare charities across the UK after serious welfare failings were uncovered. After pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the animals, the sanctuary’s former owner was banned from keeping all horses for 10 years.

Redwings, which has its HQ in Aylsham, offered a new home to 23 of the horses, who arrived in varying states of poor health and four had to be put to sleep shortly after their arrival when it became clear that their health issues were too great to overcome.

After receiving basic care they so badly needed the remaining 19 horses made a good recovery and have been named after NHS hospitals in a tribute to the country’s frontline healthcare workers.

Alexandra, Gwent, Paget, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Royal are pictured above at the Redwings specialist behaviour centre where they are learning to be less nervous around people and overcoming the trauma of their previous lives.

Nic de Brauwere, Redwings head of welfare and behaviour, said: “One of the saddest things was that people believed the sanctuary was offering a wonderful home, however it was clear that the horses were receiving wholly inadequate levels of care.

“There were horses who, due to their age-related ailments – compounded by their lack of care – were needlessly suffering and the kindest and most responsible thing to have done would have been to put them to sleep long before we got involved.”

Nic, who is also the chair of the National Equine Welfare Council and helped to co-ordinate the charities involved in the operation, added: “Too many times we’ve seen sanctuaries struggle and fail when owners take on too many animals without the necessary care knowledge, experience or finances, which is why we’ve been calling for the regulation of rescue centres and sanctuaries as a vital next step to protect the welfare of animals in the UK.”

To support the care of the horses now living at Redwings, please call 01508 481000 or click here to donate