Bargains galore for your Big Day

Beautiful wedding dresses and accessories at bargain prices are on sale at an Eaton charity shop’s new bridal department.

The PACT shop, in Eaton Road, offers a range of pre-loved outfits for that special day in its wedding and prom department.

It opened in July and is crammed full of wedding dresses, veils, shoes, hats, fascinators, jewellery, menswear and flower girl, bridesmaid or prom dresses.

They have all been generously donated to the shop and are available at a fraction of the price of brand new items.

Shop manager Sarah Reynolds said: “I am genuinely shocked and overwhelmed by the beautiful items that have been donated for our bridal department.

“When customers come in, they are often amazed at what they see – not just in our bridal section but in all areas of our charity shop.

“I would just like to say thank you to all our donors and customers for their continued support.”

People can try on the outfits in the shop and a local dry cleaner, who does alterations, has offered to assist with fittings. Each wedding dress comes with a bridal bag for safe storage.

The dress being modelled by Sarah’s daughter Bethany Blake is currently on sale for £275 including the veil. It is a fitted dress, with a tight-beaded bodice, floaty skirt, beaded detail and a short train.

The shop, which raises money for the PACT Animal Sanctuary, is open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 9.30am to 4.30pm. If you have a wedding dress to donate, Sarah will collect it within a 10-mile radius of Eaton. Please call (01603) 456590 and ask for Sarah.

For more information about PACT and the work they do to help animals, visit their website at

BRIDAL BARGAINS: Wedding outfits and accessories are being sold in a new department at the PACT charity shop. Bethany Blake is show modelling one of the dresses.

A life of success and kindness

Mourners will today pay their respects to successful Aylsham businessman Mick Neale who has died aged 74.

Mick saw his North Walsham-based Ashford Commercial grow from a local windows firm to a major national construction company.

But he was also well-known and respected in the local football world, as a family man and an unsung supporter of local good causes.

Daughter Louise said: “We are proud of what dad did in life but also of his kindness, compassion and generosity, and he never forgot his humble beginnings.”

Mick died after a two-year battle with leukaemia, and donations at his funeral in Aylsham parish church today at midday (Friday Sept 10) were for Norfolk’s Big C cancer charity.

He was born the youngest of seven children in 1947 in Hindringham, grew up in Langham where the family lived in a Nissen hut near the airfield, and attended the village school, before high school in Wells and college in King’s Lynn.

His early working life included spells on a turkey farm, at Fakenham Laundry and farm labouring. After being a foreman at J D Wright builders, who built the Green Lanes estate in town, he set up Oliver Neale builders with partner Ray Oliver, before launching Aylsham Construction on his own.

In 1996 he had the chance to buy Ashford Windows, which over the following 35 years expanded into a company providing windows and doors for councils, housing associations, education campuses and health trusts across the nation. It has grown from four to more than 70 employees.

Mick, who was managing director until son Matthew took over recently, said the growth was a result of a mix of hard work, good attitude and a bit of luck.

Football was a major part of his life – with the highlight of hitting the bar at Carrow Road playing for Holt against Gorleston in the 1964 Norfolk junior cup final.

He coached youth football, beginning when Matthew was in the team and was president of Aylsham football club.

A club spokesman said: “Mick was a mainstay of the club for many years as a player and sponsor – a tremendous bloke who got on with everyone he met, and provided unsung support wherever he could in the local area. He will be sadly missed.”

Mick was a popular regular at the Feathers, where he played darts, and the Black Boys, as well as an avid follower of horse racing. He met wife Jenny in the Railway Tavern in Holt. They married in Edgefield in 1968 and moved to Aylsham on buying their first home in Sir Williams Way.

They marked their golden wedding in 2018 and enjoyed travel including to his favourite place Mauritius. He enjoyed family life and was proud grandad to five grandchildren.

Mick Neale with his wife, Jenny and two children Matthew and Louise.

Just Regional sold to US firm

A successful hyperlocal publishing company has been bought by an American media group in a deal which will boost local news in Norfolk.

Just Regional, founded in 2008, produces 10 monthly magazines, covering six Norfolk towns and four Norwich suburbs. Over those 13 years the company has grown, achieving national recognition for its service and products, which have led the field of local news publications.

In 2019, it caught the eye of US company Medici Media, which made an approach and after many months of negotiations a deal has now been finalised.

The acquisition of Just Regional will be the first foray into news publications for Medici Media, which procures and distributes news content worldwide, in addition to providing film project development support for animated, specialty and feature films, with offices in Plymouth, Chicago, Las Vegas and London. Medici Media intends on moving a portion of its operations to Aylsham which is close to Norwich.

CEO of Medici Media, Timothy Mucciante said he was impressed with the company and its products, saying he had never seen anything of a similar quality in the US.

“We had been wanting to start in the newspaper business and I realised there was nothing like Just Regional in America. The magazines look really good and there’s an obvious passion for local news.”

The Covid-19 pandemic delayed negotiations, but enabled Mr Mucciante to see how the company adapted to the conditions, moving its news coverage online and – unlike many larger, less agile media companies – retaining advertisers, readers and staff as a result.

“I’m delighted with the acquisition of Just Regional and looking forward to carrying on the great work that everyone has been doing,” he said.

Just Regional founder Lee Todd said: “This is going to be a great opportunity for local news and I am very pleased to be connected with Medici Media. We have moved with the times and are looking to continue with our excellent service to local communities.”

Mr Todd will be staying at the helm of the Aylsham-based operation, which employs nine office staff and over 100 distribution staff. Tracey Bagshaw will also be continuing in her role as group editor.

Mr Todd said: “Readers and advertisers will still be dealing with the same people with the same community values we have always had. That will never change.”

The Just Regional offices in Aylsham.

Ready for your close-up?

Fancy your five minutes on the silver screen?
Well you could have your chance as a new film being shot in Sheringham is looking for extras.

Norfolk-born film director Ella Glendining will be filming her BFI-funded short film in the town next Wednesday and Thursday (September 8 and 9) and is on the look out for extras for a couple of scenes.

Would-be actors of all ages are sought to for funeral scene and those in their 20s and 30s are needed to appear at a beach party.

Ella was named among Screen International’s Screen Stars of Tomorrow in 2020 and her new project tells the story of a disabled woman returning to her sleepy seaside hometown for a friend’s funeral.

Ella said: “I grew up in Elsing, near Dereham, but spent a lot of time in Sheringham in my late teens and early 20s as one of my best friends lives there. I am interested in telling regional stories about growing up in small towns and villages as ‘other’. I am disabled and all my work is somewhat linked to the disabled experience.

Ella Glendining is shooting a film in Sheringham.

“I adore Norfolk and Sheringham and, although I live in Brighton now, I am always looking for excuses to return.
“I am very inspired by the beauty of the Norfolk coast. The film is about a new mother feeling torn between her old life and her new, trying to discover her identity as a parent, and it’s also about love.”
Extras will not be paid but Ella hopes they will enjoy the experience of being on a film set.
If you’d like to be involved you can email

Pedal power continues to drive social group

Social cycling sessions, which set off from Eaton Park, are continuing to take place every month.

The latest get-together, organised by the Friends of Eaton Park, saw a group of riders clock up 13 miles to Thorpe Marriott along the Marriott’s Way.
Stuart Beard, of the Friends, said: “It was further than we’d planned as everyone wanted to keep going a little longer.”

The dates for the next rides are September 18, October 9 and November 13. Those riders wanting to get involved should me at the bandstand at Eaton Park at 1.45pm for a 2pm start. For more information, see the Friends of Eaton Park Facebook page.

SADDLE UP: Cyclists involved in the latest social ride.

Volunteers needed at Youngs Park

Youngs Park and Aylsham Football Club are looking for a band of new volunteers to help out with a range of jobs.

Youngs Park was opened in 2015 and, as well as being the home of Aylsham FC, it has become a key community facility throughout the year.

Ian Potter, Aylsham FC Chairman and Youngs Park Director, said: “We have created a fantastic community facility. Our football club and Youngs Park facility is 100 per cent run by volunteers and we are open 52 weeks of the year to the community.

“Success over the last five years means we have growing pains and really need your help.

“If you are looking to help your community and meet some new people, then please contact us now.

“A few hours’ volunteering could make the world of difference to us and your wellbeing, in a friendly and Covid-safe environment.”

The club has a range of opportunities, but particularly needs volunteers for:
– Serving refreshments at the weekend
– The bar on Saturday afternoons and some evenings
– Adult fixture secretary
– Volunteer coordinator lead role

More than 750 people visit Youngs Park each week with over 30 football teams and groups such as Slimming World and fitness classes based there.

Ian added: “Our profits are reinvested and we have secured grants to ensure we continue to improve the quality of our facility, which our community can be very proud of.”

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please email the club on

Man questioned over charity shop theft

Police investigating two burglaries at a Sprowston charity shop can confirm a man has been identified following a CCTV appeal.

A quantity of clothes were stolen from a shed outside Dawn’s New Horizon on Cannerby Lane on Thursday, July 29, and again on Tuesday, August 3.

Officers investigating the burglaries released a CCTV image of a man they wanted to speak to and he has now been identified and arrested on suspicion of two counts of burglary and two counts of theft.

He was questioned at Wymondham Police Investigation Centre and has been released under investigation while inquiries continue.

Cromer’s Banksy will be protected

Cromer found itself making international news this month as elusive street artist Banksy took a “spraycation” around the east coast.

One of the works which sprang up overnight was on the East Prom, where a mural depicted hermit crabs looking for “luxury rentals” in the popular holiday resort.

Other works appeared at other resorts around the east coast, including Gorleston, Gt Yarmouth and Lowestoft, and after Banksy posted a video online of his road trip, they have all been verified as genuine.

The ones at Lowestoft and Gorleston have already been vandalised, so North Norfolk District Council has is making sure our Banksy is kept safe.
Steve Blatch, chief executive, said: “Since the artwork on Cromer East Beach has been confirmed as a Banksy, large numbers of people have travelled to the town to view it.

Still photos taken from Banksy’s Instagram video showing his “Spraycation”.

“The Cromer piece is in a vulnerable location due to the tides and would be vulnerable to being discoloured or lost over time through natural processes. North Norfolk District Council is therefore arranging for a protective varnish to cover the artwork which will be installed later this week.
“In the meantime to protect the artwork a temporary plywood cover has been installed meaning the artwork will not be available to view until later this week.”