Success for Marriott’s Way Runners despite the weather

This year 369 runners braved the downpour for Broadland District Council’s annual Marriott’s Way 10K yesterday (Sunday 6 October). The race, now in its eleventh year, saw runners gather to make their way along the bridle path raising money for charity and challenging themselves despite the torrential rain.

Broadland District Council Chairman, Cllr Karen Vincent, started the race in Aylsham. The runners raced along a 10 kilometre section of the 26-mile long Marriott’s Way footpath, bridleway and cycle route, and were met by a cheering crowd in Reepham market place.

Cllr Vincent then congratulated the winners and awarded them their trophies. Each runner was also received a medal.  

The race raised money for Norfolk Trails, with £1 of every runner’s entry fee being donated to the Marriott’s Way so it can be maintained and enjoyed for years to come.

After listening to feedback from runners last year improving the sustainability of the race was something that was very important to runners and the organising team. This year saw Broadland District Council introduce several green initiative for race day, including medals made from sustainable wood, a paperless booking system for runners and donating all jumpers and sweatshirts left at the start line to Big C.

This year was also the third Marriott’s Way Children’s Fun Run, sponsored by the Bure Valley Railway. Around 20 children and young people took part in the free, one-mile run, some while wearing their favourite fancy dress outfits. All participants were awarded a Children’s Fun Run medal.

Cllr. Justine Thomas, Member Champion for Sport said: “Every year, the Marriott’s Way 10K is popular with runners and spectators across Broadland and beyond. It is always a fantastic day and it was wonderful to see such an excellent turn out despite the challenging weather.

A special mention must be made for all the volunteers who braved the conditions and ensured the event was such a resounding success.

“It was also brilliant that so many young runners want to get into exercise and don wonderful costumes in the Marriott’s Way Fun Run for the third year.”

For a full list of results, visit

Marriotts Way 10K 2019. Route from Aylsham to Reepham running on the Marriotts Way. Picture: James Bass Photography
Marriotts Way 10K 2019. Route from Aylsham to Reepham running on the Marriotts Way. Picture: James Bass Photography
Marriotts Way 10K 2019. Route from Aylsham to Reepham running on the Marriotts Way. Picture: James Bass Photography

Wartime singalong turns into sentimental journey for Norfolk couple

A 1940s singalong at a seaside theatre had a romantic ending when a marriage proposal took place live on stage.

The surprise “encore” saw Richard Olive get down on one knee to pop the question to girlfriend Julie Andrews after the audience had left the Sheringham Little Theatre event held during the recent 1940s weekend.

She said ‘yes’, and after hugs and tears, the couple walked out into the bar to be greeted by a dozen friends, singing Cliff Richard’s Congratulations, before toasting the magic moment with glasses of bubbly.

Richard, 55, transport supervisor at Norwich School, and Julie, 52, a sales assistant at Morrisons in Beccles, live in Loddon but are big fans of the 40s weekend.

Richard explained: “I had been thinking about proposing for a few months, but when my friend Gareth Davies, who is a member of the Sheringham Shantymen, got us tickets for the singalong it seemed like an ideal opportunity.

“It was a secret. Julie didn’t know a thing. When the show ended the cast asked us two to stay in the theatre while everyone left. Julie was asking what was going on, but I pleaded ignorance.

 “I walked her down towards the front, with her favourite tune – Andy Williams’ Moon River – playing over the speakers. She wanted to turn out of the exit, but I took her on to the stage,  and got down on my knee.

“The only other people watching were the singalong cast, who were up in the technical box.

“After she said ‘yes’ we composed ourselves to join our friends in the bar. It was brilliant and the theatre was faultless in making it all happen for us,” added Richard, who is a former Cub Scout leader and Kemp’s Men morris dancer.

He and Julie, who have five adult children and two grandchildren between them, met through online dating, and had their first date on Southwold Pier  three years ago. They plan to marry next May.

Theatre director Debbie Thompson said: “We were delighted to help Richard and Julie stage their special moment at the theatre. We love happy-ever-after endings!”

PICTURES: Jeanette Bolton Martin.

£15,000 for community projects

Community projects could benefit from up to a £5k investment as the Victory Housing Trust Community Fund opens for its latest round of funding.

The fund, which is offering £15k in total, is inviting bids for activities and initiatives which are making a difference in Victory’s area of operation, which is mainly in North Norfolk.
The funding can be used to meet different needs, such as for capital projects, venue hire, equipment, start-up expenses, and training across themes including health and wellbeing, community cohesion and tackling disadvantage. A key criteria is that all applications should involve or have the potential to involve residents of Victory Housing Trust.
The fund was launched in 2008 to make a difference to people’s lives and since then Victory has awarded more than £500,000 through 174 grants. In the most recent round of funding, in April 2019, £20,500 was awarded to six projects. This included £2,500 to Lighthouse Charity Trust to set up a Men’s Shed in Sheringham.
The deadline for applications is September 27 and all the bids will be assessed by a panel made up of Victory residents, supported by the Norfolk Community Foundation which administers the fund on Victory’s behalf.
Lisa Collen, interim managing director of Victory Housing Trust explained: “We are looking forward to offering this investment to some great causes in our area an,d if you have a community project which fits our criteria, please do make an application.”
Applications for grants can be made by any organisation or group established for charitable purposes, provided there is a formal structure which allows for monitoring of activity and feedback – official charitable status is not necessary.
Anyone wishing to find out more and apply can do so via the Norfolk Community Foundation website:

Latest on possible Aylsham car-park charges

A probe into the use of free council car parks in Aylsham and Reepham is on the cards.

Members of Broadland District Council’s Economic Success Panel want to find out whether workers parking all day in the two market towns’ car parks are deterring shoppers who can’t find empty slots.

The panel is recommending to Broadland’s cabinet that there should be a “comprehensive review in consultation with town and parish councils” throughout the district to provide information for a car-parking management plan.

If space blocking was shown to be a problem, parking charges could be introduced, as they already are in neighbouring North Norfolk, and South Norfolk, Broadland’s sister local authority area.

The recommendation followed an hour-long discussion on Monday night (August 19) when the panel considered a detailed report, prepared by David Disney, operational economic development manager with South Norfolk Council.

It made particular reference to Aylsham’s Buttsland and Burgh Road, and Reepham’s Station Road car parks and concluded, among other findings, that introducing charges – with the first hour’s parking free – would solve space-blocking, increase footfall and place the costs of running and maintaining car parks on users, rather than on all taxpayers.

Mr Disney said footfall was the lifeblood of market towns and the national evidence was that if a driver couldn’t find a space in one car park they would try two others. If unsuccessful, they would leave and never return to that town.

Increased footfall had followed “quite distinctly” in South Norfolk towns, including Wymondham and Diss, after the introduction of a free hour’s parking and then charges.

But panel member councillor Peter Bulman said: “What I don’t see is any evidence of market research in Reepham and Aylsham – we’re only being given national information, or about South Norfolk Council. I would want to be persuaded with some hard evidence that this is not a solution looking for a problem.” 

Councillor David Harrison, who represents Aylsham, warned that the town’s Buttsland car park was leased by Broadland from its owner, the National Trust, which would “want its share” if the council began charging for its use.

He asked whether Broadland would consider handing over the running of its Aylsham car parks to Aylsham Town Council.

“It’s all about localism – this is what we’re supposed to be doing. Why not leave it to be decided as a local issue by the town?” he said.

Councillor Stuart Beadle, who represents Reepham, said Broadland had a number of car parks throughout its area (there are 12) but only Aylsham and Reepham had been singled out in the report for the possible imposition of charges. 

He said: “Reepham and Aylsham would be subsidising off-street parking throughout the district and that’s not fair.”

In a statement before the panel meeting, Aylsham Business and Enterprise Forum (ABEF) said it was concerned that whatever decision was eventually made should not adversely impact its members, either in terms of income or providing community events.

The statement went on: “Parking in Aylsham seems to be a growing problem. The main car parks, in Burgh Road, the Market Place and the Buttsland, are increasingly found to be full for much of the day, while on-road parking in some areas is creating problems for residents.  If parking fees are to be introduced, ABEF hopes that these factors will be taken into consideration.

“We hope that local traders, voluntary organisations and residents will have the opportunity to make their views known before any proposal is adopted.”

  • What do you think? Email:
David Harrison.
Photo credit ©Simon Finlay Photography.

Fun day planned at north Norfolk charity

On Sunday September 1 Thornage Hall Independent Living, near Holt, will be open to the general public.

From 11.30am to 4.00pm the annual Garden Fete is an opportunity for those who live and work at Thornage Hall to share their experience of this unique community in the heart of North Norfolk.

Angie Steggles, Chief Executive of Thornage Hall Independent Living, said: “2019 is our 30th year and I am delighted to be opening the doors to the public, sharing the work that we do today, our plans for the future and the values that drive us with the wider community.

“The Garden Fete is not only an opportunity to learn more about the community at Thornage Hall, it is a day out for the whole family with a range of activities, stalls and produce to eat or take home.”

Here is some of what’s happening on the day:
• Cooking Demonstration from Ashley Williamson of Benedicts Restaurant, Norwich
• Music from the Midnight Specials and the Sam Smith Singers
• Norfolk Wild Encounters, Birds of Prey
• Cakes & Refreshments, bread, barbecue with their own Red Poll beef burgers, bio-dynamic vegetable stall, family beef packs, hand made arts and crafts
• Stall holders selling local produce, books, preserves, ceramics, ice creams
• Traditional fete games and face painting
• Farm and garden walk, demonstrating their system of Bio-dynamic land management
• Raffle with prizes donated by local businesses – All of the funds raised through the fete will go towards their £1m fundraising appeal for Orchard Lodge. Four fully accessible accommodation units that will help to ensure that they are able to continue to provide an inclusive service for those with a learning difficulty into older life.

Thornage Hall is located 5 miles south east of Holt off the B1110. Entrance is just £2.50 for adults and free for children under the age of 16.

Thornage Hall

Nursery closure heartbreak

Heartbroken Dawn Cordner is closing her Aylsham’s children’s nursery on Friday (August 16) because she says government-funded “free” places have made it unviable

Dawnie’s Little Stars, based in the Drill Hall for almost seven years, is the only business of its kind in Aylsham and parents will now have to look outside the town for similar care, according to Dawn, 42.

The closure will mean the loss of seven jobs, including Dawn’s.

She has been in the childcare business for 17 years, previously working for the former Aylsham Playgroup. When its committee disbanded, Dawn saved the service by launching her Little Stars nursery.

Dawn said she had taken the “very, very hard” decision to close because of the increasing gulf between the amount of money the business received from funded places and her ever-increasing running costs.

Parents of three and four year olds are entitled to “free” nursery places funded by the government and paid to nurseries, via the local authority, at the rate of £3.65 per hour,

Some two-year-old are also entitled to free, funded places,  with nurseries receiving £5.20 per hour to care for them.

But Dawn said the true cost of providing care was much higher and her business had been forced to plunder its meagre profits to make up the deficit and stay afloat.

She charged non-funded places at £7.50 per hour for three and four year olds, and £8 an hour for babies, reflecting the true cost of providing quality child care.

Now, with 75pc of the 30 children on roll qualifying for funded places, Dawn said she simply couldn’t afford to carry on.

“It’s exhausting trying to run a business when all the overheads are going up but the funding stays the same. I’m taking less and less and it just can’t go on,” she explained.

“The team works very hard and very long hours for the  minimum wage (£8.21 per hour). We love the children and the nursery’s reputation is second-to-none – but it doesn’t pay the bills. Dog walkers and cleaners earn more than us. We’re providing a champagne service for lemonade money.”

Parents had been sad but very understanding when they learned of the nursery’s closure.

“They wonder what the government is thinking of, allowing this situation to happen,” said Dawn.

“I am so sorry and so sad that I’ve had to do this. This has been my life and my passion but the worry has badly affected my health over the past two years and I had to take this heartbreaking decision. I’ve no idea what I will do next.”

Pictured: Dawn Cordner (centre) with Shining Stars room leader June Crook (left) and deputy manager Becky Rayner.

Soapbox Derby fun

There were thrills, some spills and a lot of fun at the Cromer Soapbox Derby this year.

With 30 karts and 35 drivers from as far afield as the Midlands, the event has been hailed a great success by carnival chairman Tony Shipp.

“We had the biggest number of karts, it was great weather – the heavy rain held off until after the event – and it was a great afternoon,” he said.

The route took in the A149 and Beach Road and there were some fast times recorded.

The winner of the adult class was Oliver Richardson, who completed the course in 26 seconds. The winner of the 16-18-year-old class, Christoper Daykin, clocked a winning time of 27 seconds, and in the 10-15-year-old class, Alfie Childs and Emily Flowerdew tied for the prize with a time of 35 seconds.

Cringleford woman charged with burglary and receiving stolen goods

Police have charged a man and a woman in relation to a series of burglaries across the area.

Christopher O’Neill, 29, from Kensington Road, Middlesbrough has been charged with ten counts of burglary.

The charges relate to incidents which happened on:

Wednesday 31 July at Colney Lane, Cringleford

Between Monday 5 August and Thursday 8 August at Mill Road, Blofield

Wednesday 7 August at Buxton Road, Spixworth

Wednesday 7 August at Mansel Drive, Norwich

Wednesday 7 August and Thursday 8 August at Lodge Lane, Norwich

Thursday 8 August at Coltishall Lane, Norwich

Thursday 8 August at Freethorpe, Norwich

Thursday 8 August at Bay Field, East Tuddenham

Thursday 8 August at Dereham Road, Honingham

Sheree Townshend, 30, from Brambling Lane, Cringleford, has also been charged on one count of burglary in Tuckers Road, Loughborough, on 9 August and one count of receiving stolen goods in relation to an incident in Boston on the same date.

Both O’Neil and Townshend, appeared at Norwich Magistrates Court this morning and were remanded in custody and are due to appear at Norwich Crown Court on Monday 9 September 2019