Shoes boost mayor’s hospital charity

A mayor’s charity is taking a giant stride forward thanks to the donation of brand new shoes.
North Walsham mayor Barry Hester has already raised £2,850 for his civic charity, the town’s hospital League of Friends, which provides “extras” for patients, visitors and staff.
The latest boost to the funds comes from the gift of a dozens of pairs of shoes from local businesswoman Ann Bullimore, following the closure of her shop in the precinct.
A range of children’s women’s and men’s shoes will be sold for the charity on Sunday, February 24, at the White Swan pub between 11am and 2pm.
Barry said: “We are grateful for the donation – which will enable people to get bargain shoes and us to boost the Friends’ funds.”
He is hoping to top £3,000 through the shoe sale, annual civic dinner in April and a planned comedy night in June.
Picture: Richard Batson

Deputy mayor Mary Seward with some of the shoes which will be for sale.

New chef puts customers first at Barnham Broom

The Brasserie restaurant at Barnham Broom has recently welcomed the talented Mark Elvin to the team as Head Chef.

Set in over 300 acres of beautiful Norfolk countryside in the River Yare Valley, the Brasserie is a stylish yet relaxed restaurant, with a strong focus on local produce, at the heart of the Barnham Broom resort.

The coming season is a very exciting time for the Brasserie at Barnham Broom, as Mark brings his unique flare to the restaurant’s offering.

Norfolk born and bred, Mark studied Catering and Hospitality at Norwich City College for three years. He has now returned to his Norfolk roots after spending much of his culinary career working in award-winning hotels and restaurants across the UK.

He has plenty of experience creating menus which focus on Norfolk’s rich bounty of locally-sourced ingredients, which he is lucky to have right on his doorstep in our beautiful county. He is known for serving classic, robust flavours with a modern twist.

Mark, who is working alongside Executive Head Chef James Conway, plans to take the restaurant to the next level in culinary achievement.
Barnham Broom’s new winter menu features high-quality fare with thoughtful touches and unique flourishes. Both the ingredients and presentation of the food are of the upmost importance.

Top of Mark’s list is textures of heritage beetroot with whipped goats’ cheese to start followed by a braised shank of lamb and parsley mash with some special finishing touches. For dessert, the dark chocolate truffle torte, caramelised figs and raspberry sorbet is perfect to tantalise taste buds!

Members of staff from Just Regional were invited to sample the culinary skills on offer one Sunday lunch time.

They commented: “The ambience at Barnham Broom is very relaxed. The attentive staff are very warm and the food, as you can imagine, is just perfect.

“The Sunday roast is the best around and the staff even offer you more potatoes and Yorkshire puddings half way through the meal!

“All of this whilst overlooking the wonderful golf course. Don’t take our word for it, please try for yourselves.”

To book call 01603 759393, email or visit

Baked brie wedges

Sunday Roast Beef at Barnham Broom.

One of the many fine desserts on offer.

Hellesdon school closed due to gas leak

Pupils had to leave Hellesdon High School this morning because of a gas leak on the premises.

The emergency closure was announced at 11am. A spokesman for Cadent Gas said: “We were called to the school this morning. Our engineer arrived on site and found that a gas safe registered engineer (an engineer legally permitted to carry out gas work) was on site and that the gas supply had been isolated and the school evacuated. Our local network was checked and no faults were found.”




Council statement on North Walsham Wetherspoon’s plan

Following recent questions and speculation about the status of the proposed plan for a JD Wetherspoon to be developed in North Walsham, North Norfolk District Council has issued a statement, which sets out the current position.

JD Wetherspoon approached the district council in 2014 requesting an unencumbered freehold sale on the New Road site, meaning all occupants would need to move out.

This would then allow the company to develop a pub/restaurant on the site, which the district council believed would strengthen the town centre through generating additional footfall and visitors.

These moves were successfully facilitated by the district council and, by September 2016, the building was empty of occupants and subsequently secured. A contract for JD Wetherspoon to pursue the purchase of the site was agreed in 2016.

A right of way/footpath challenge was raised in 2017 and resolved, meaning this challenge is no longer a legal impediment to the sale of the site pending development.

The council believes there are no legal impediments whatsoever to progressing with the sale of the site, or any other impediments for JD Wetherspoon to submit or discuss with planners detailed plans of their proposals – which has not been the case to date.

The council has done everything in its power to make the site available to JD Wetherspoon in good order and in a timely fashion and wants to ensure a certain, economically viable future for the site to the benefit of North Walsham.

The council is currently waiting for JD Wetherspoon to confirm its intentions for the property.

Eric Seward, deputy leader of North Norfolk District Council and ward member for North Walsham (North), said: “This is a run-down prime town centre site. It is more than four years since JD Wetherspoon first expressed an interest in coming to North Walsham. The district council has done its best to accommodate JD Wetherspoon. However, in the last few weeks there have been conflicting messages from the company over whether they wish to open new pubs in Norfolk.

“The company chairman says no new pubs will be opened in Norfolk, but other company representatives give an opposite message. This saga has to come to an end. Are JD Wetherspoon going to open a new pub in North Walsham or are they no longer interested?”

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.



Dirty care home with not enough food – Report

A shortage of food and lack of hygiene have been highlighted as problems at St Michael’s Court care home as it received an “inadequate” rating from Care Quality Commission inspectors.

In a report published yesterday (January 22) staff during the inspection in December, said residents were being left in undignified conditions, in urine and faeces at night, uncovered and not
receiving personal care such as washing, when needed.

The inspection on December 12 and 14 was unannounced and prompted in part by complaints and concerns from members of the public.

The care home has capacity for 86 people, some of whom are living with dementia. At the time of the inspection 71 people were living within the home. Inspectors spoke with 15 people living in the home, eight visiting relatives, 12 staff members including the manager, the deputy manager, the residential services manager, an agency care worker, three team leaders, three care assistants, a regional manager and a quality director. There was not a registered manager in post at the time of this inspection.

The home’s last comprehensive inspection was carried out in August 2017 and was found to be “good” overall.

But the latest report stated: “At this inspection we found that the service had deteriorated with widespread serious concerns and was rated ‘inadequate’ in all areas. The service was not safe. People were not adequately safeguarded from the risk of abuse and staff did not have thorough knowledge of safeguarding procedures.”

For example, the report said that staff had photographed skin tears on three recent occasions, on two people, which had been inflicted by one person on another. “This had not been acted upon and reviewed in the care plan and risk assessments for the person who inflicted harm. The incidents had not been referred to the safeguarding authorities.”

One person had a serious pressure ulcer and required support to reposition every hour. According to their records, on one occasion they were left for almost five hours.

There were also concerns about infection control. The report stated: “In one bedroom the toilet contained a commode, but the inside had not been cleaned properly, with faeces smeared on the side and base. On our second inspection visit, we found that there were faeces on the floor in a person’s en-suite. Some people had dirty pillows, sheets and bed bumpers in their bedrooms. In one case, a dirty sheet had been put back in a drawer with the person’s clean laundry. Some people had razors in their bathroom cabinets that were clearly old and dirty. Wheelchairs were dirty and some chairs in communal areas smelt of urine.”

Care staff said the home had regularly run out of food and drink items. One staff member said they felt it affected people’s drinking sometimes, as there was only water available to drink because juice or squash had run out.

One staff member said: “The lack of food is insane, we’ve gone through numerous chefs, there was never enough food. People got fed but it was whatever we had to make it go around, we reported it, nothing happened. Apparently, this is because of budget.”

There was normally not a vegetarian option available. They also gave an example of 26 people having five pasties and four mini pizzas for tea. Another staff member said: “There have been times where we had no milk, no marmalade, no juice.”

People’s privacy, dignity and right to confidentiality was not always upheld. One relative told inspectors they it had been necessary for them to tell their family member to go to the toilet in their incontinence pad because there were no staff available to take them to the toilet.

There were also issues with lack of activities at the home: One person said: “I have not been offered any exercises or activities in the care home.” Another said: “I am lucky because I can go out but I do get bored here, there isn’t a lot going on.”

Topical medicines such as creams for skin care were not administered or recorded as prescribed and some were out of date. Some bottled items were not dated and in one areas of the home, stocks of oral tablets did not add up correctly which meant that people may not have received their medicines correctly. People were left unattended and uncomfortable for long periods of time. And could not get assistance when needed.
Services in special measures will be kept under review and will be inspected again within six months.

The report said: “The expectation is that providers found to have been providing inadequate care should have made significant improvements within this timeframe. If not enough improvement is made within this timeframe so that there is still a rating of inadequate for any key question or overall, we will take action in line with our enforcement procedures to begin the process of preventing the provider from operating.”

A spokesperson for Runwood Homes, which manages St Michael’s Court, sent us this statement:

St Michael’s Court was previously rated as a good home with the CQC in 2017. In late 2018 there were management changes and new management did not continue to provide the level of service we expect and standards within the home were not maintained.

I am pleased to say that there is new, experience management in situ and the home is working diligently to ensure that its residents receive the high level of care that they deserve.

Residents and families can be assured that we are dedicated to providing a quality service and are working hard to get full compliance with the CQC.

As an organisation, we strive only for the highest standards of care and monitor our services very closely to ensure care delivery is person centred and meaningful to all who live in our homes. Our residents’ wellbeing is our number one priority.

It is only ever with the best interests of our residents that we undertake to improve and learn from any shortcomings experienced.

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

Aylsham Show hands out £31,000-plus to community causes

Charities, community groups and other good causes went home with cheques totalling £31,250 last night (January 22) thanks to the Aylsham Show.

Representatives from 46 organisations packed into The Forge, at Aylsham, for the handout of proceeds from the annual one-day traditional country show by outgoing president Mike Gamble.

The recipients were: £3,500: North Walsham Rugby Club, including ladies’ section; £2,500: Reepham and District Rotary Club (for Eating Matters, SOBS, MIND, Benjamin Foundation); £1,500: Rotary Club of Aylsham (for Aylsham High School, Hospice Ethiopia and others), East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, cardiology department of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital; £1,250: Aylsham Flower Club (for Big C).
£1,000: Aylsham Boxing Club, Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, Aylsham Community First Responders, Star Throwers, Aylsham Youth and Community Centre.
£500: Aylsham Older People’s Association, Aylsham St Giles Cricket Club, Aylsham Tennis Club, Aylsham Football Club, 3rd Aylsham Guides, Aylsham and District Care Trust, North Walsham Young Farmers, Sainsbury’s North Walsham (for Norfolk Family Carers), Happisburgh Owls, The Buckingham Emergency Food Appeal, Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre Norfolk, North Norfolk Diabetes UK Group, Norwich and District Riding for the Disabled Association, Fishing for Schools, The You Are Not Alone project, Sheringham and Cromer Lions Club (for Jenny Lind Children’s Hospital), Aylsham Band, Break charity, Buxton Primary School PTFA, North East Norfolk District Scout Council, Aylsham Recreation Ground, Fundraising for Felicity, Miniature Donkeys for Wellbeing Ltd, Market Surgery, Aylsham.
£250: Aylsham Roman Project, Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind, 1st Aylsham Scout Group, Norfolk Tortoise Club, Vocalights Choir, Aylsham Chess Club, Broadland Voluntary Police Cadets, Aylsham Community Gym, St Michael’s Association of School Helpers, Norfolk Citizens Advice.

A number of those receiving cheques had helped with the 2018 show, including North Walsham Rugby Club which received £3,500, the largest donation.

About 40 club members volunteered to spend up to 12 hours at the show, directing traffic, managing the car parks and distributing leaflets.

Chairman Keith Jarvis said they were delighted with the award and were always keen to contribute to the community. The money was very welcome as the club was almost totally reliant on the generosity and goodwill of local businesses and supporters for funding.

“Eleven of our First XV’s 13 away fixtures are in London or Essex so our travel costs are significant, whilst to compete effectively we have to train twice a week and provide appropriate coaching and medical support. The club also runs a lot of sides so we have six pitches to maintain,” he added.

Louise Cook, head of fundraising at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said they were very grateful for the £1,500 donation to the cardiology department.

“Fundraising helps to enhance the services we are able to offer and makes the hospital experience a better one for patients, visitors and staff,” she said. “This donation will be invested into training and development to help staff provide the best possible care.”

Aylsham Community First Responders will put its £1,000 award towards replacing its pulse oxygen monitors, according to Paul Wooster, the group’s co-ordinator.

The eight-strong team of volunteers, managed by the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, attends an average of 30-plus calls each month giving life-saving first aid in the vital minutes before an ambulance arrives. Their kit also includes defibrillators and they rely on public donations.

Mike Gamble said it was a huge pleasure to distribute so much money to so many worthy causes.

“As usual a number of the beneficiaries were groups which helped us stage the show and we’re always grateful for their support,” said Mike.

“It’s fantastic that the community pulls together to give up to 17,000 people every year a fun-packed and affordable day to remember and that, as a result of those efforts, we’re able to distribute a substantial sum of money to support causes which help our community thrive.”

Windy weather on last summer’s show day led to the disappointing cancellation of aerial events in the main ring but despite that a large crowd still enjoyed the day. The amount raised for local good causes was not far short of the £32,000 given out last year, following the 2017 show.

At the AGM following the presentations, Clare Buxton was chosen as the 2019 Aylsham Show president. She and her husband Andrew are long-serving members of the Aylsham Show Council and run their business, Norfolk Shepherd Huts, at Park Farm, on the Salle Park Estate, just outside Reepham.

This year’s 73rd Aylsham Show will be held, as usual, on the Blickling Estate on Bank Holiday Monday, August 26.
And organisers promise that there will be an exciting, lively, noisy and crowd-participating programme of events in the main ring.

• Visit the show website: Facebook: @theaylshamshow Twitter: @aylshamshow


The outgoing and incoming presidents. Mike Gamble and Clare Buxton

North Walsham Rugby Club who help on the day of the Aylsham Show receiving their cheque for £3500.

Aylsham Community First Responders receiving their donation.

Some of the recipients of the Aylsham Show donations.