Cromer Academy celebrates 70 years

Cromer Academy is opening its doors for a free day of celebrations as it marks its 70th anniversary.

The former Cromer High School and Cromer Secondary Modern School will mark seven decades of educating the town’s young people with a special open event from 10am to 2pm on Saturday, July 6.

Staff, pupils, and families past and present are invited to come and meet old friends, share memories, and view an exhibition of school photos, uniforms, and memorabilia from across the school’s history.

Visitors will be able to tour the classrooms and corridors and discover how the building has changed and developed over the years.

Refreshments including classic cream teas will be on sale in the school canteen.

Headteacher Antony Little said: “Our staff, students, and buildings may have changed a lot over the last 70 years, but what remains the same is our proud role educating the young people of our community.

“We look forward to coming together for this special day as we celebrate our school’s rich history and bright future.”

Pictured are current headteacher Antony Little and the school archive’s earliest line-up photo from 1959.

Inspiration Trust Prospectus & Stock Photos 2018. Cromer Academy

Cromer Secondary Modern School line-up, 1959

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.”

Father’s 250-mile challenge for NICU which saved his son

A father of a six-year-old boy is taking on a formidable challenge to raise money for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where his son spent the first week of his life.

Henry Hume was born at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in March 2013 following what had been a routine pregnancy for mum, Justina and dad Tom as they waited for the birth of their first child.       

However, things quickly took an unexpected turn for the worse and baby Henry was rushed to NICU with persistent pulmonary hypertension which is a failure of the normal circulatory transition that occurs after birth.

Now, Tom, who is a vet and director at Westover Veterinary Centre, and his business partner Toby, an experienced triathlete, plan to run, cycle, swim and canoe about 250 miles starting on July 11 to raise money for NICU as a thank you to the staff on the unit for caring for Henry who is now a happy and healthy six year old.

Tom explained how joy quickly turned to fear following the birth of his son: “In layman’s terms, Henry’s lungs hadn’t inflated so his blood kept choosing the easy route, through the hole in the heart that all babies are born with, but in the process it was bypassing the lungs and circulating around his body without being re-oxygenated.

Being a vet I had some limited understanding of the numbers on the intensive care monitors. The figure that I will never forget is the level of his oxygen saturation. In animals, anything less than 98% is abnormal and below 90% we would be pretty worried. I am fairly sure the numbers are similar in human medicine and I was watching as Henry’s number fell and fell, eventually bottoming out at 45%.

The NICU team were incredible, there were five of them crowded around this tiny baby. He was too small to get intravenous access via his arms so they had to cannulate his umbilical vessels to establish IV access.

He was then anaesthetised and placed in a coma to allow them to mechanically ventilate and inflate his lungs. Henry was in the coma for a week, but slowly the support machines were withdrawn and he went from strength to strength.”

Tom added: “We will both be eternally grateful for the lifesaving care in the first six hours after his arrival and then ongoing during that week.

“Ever since that day I have wanted to raise money for NICU to show my appreciation for such an incredible service and also to try and help their resources and enable them to help others.”

Tom and Toby will take on some huge challenges after setting off on July 11:

Day 1 – set off from North Walsham, run seven miles to Aylsham before swimming eight miles of the River Bure to Coltishall where they will camp for the night.

Day 2 – canoe 35 miles from Coltishall to Yarmouth.

Day 3 – cycle of 130 miles to Hunstanton.

Day 4 – run 30 miles from Hunstanton to Stiffkey.

Day 5 – run 30 miles back to North Walsham.

Tom said: “The biggest challenge in training has been getting enough time to get the miles in. I have come to the conclusion that it will be ‘alright on the night’ and that my memories of Henry’s battle to survive will be all the motivation I need to keep my moving.”

In the past, money raised for NICU has helped to pay for incubators, kangaroo chairs for parents and babies, enabled us to enhance the environment and also provided specialist training for staff.” If you would like to sponsor Tom and Toby and support NICU, visit

Henry and Tom Hume

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.

Gay Webster

Pictures: Paul Coltas

Sam’s first Young Sportsman

Aylsham’s Sam Blair has been named Young Norfolk Sportsman of the Year, in the inaugural annual Young Norfolk Sports Academy Awards.

The trophy is presented to YNSA athletes who have showcased excellence in their sport, recognising performance but also commitment, dedication and passion.

This award caps an impressive season for the 16-year-old Norwich City goalkeeper, which saw him make his debut in the Youth FA Cup, play U16s and U18s football and travel several times with the U23 squad. He was rewarded with a two-year scholarship at the premier league club, which commences on July 1st on completion of his GCSEs.

Sam said “I’d like to thank the YNSA for this award. I have really enjoyed meeting and working alongside talented athletes from across Norfolk in so many different sports. It’s very helpful to learn from them and the experts the YNSA put in front of us, on topics ranging from fitness and training regimes, nutrition, recovery, coping with pressure and lots of other important topics that will prepare us for full-time sport. I’m very grateful to my coaches at Norwich City and my school for pushing me every day and making me a better athlete. I’m really excited about the next couple of years and will work hard to try and secure a professional contract.”

Sam, who at 16 already stands 6ft 2ins tall, follows in the bootsteps of an impressive list of Norfolk-born Norwich City academy shot stoppers – with Angus Gunn, Jed Steer, Aston Oxborough, Remi Matthews and Declan Rudd all plying their trade in the Championship and Premier League. Another City goalkeeper alumnus, former England international Rob Green, hung up his boots at the end of last season.

Sam Blair with his award
Sam in action for Norwich City youth  over the past few years.

Deserved honour for play fundraiser

North Walsham fundraiser Matthew Smith has had his work for the community recognised with the award of the MBE in the Queens 2019 Birthday Honours List.

The honour is for his work as business manager for Sheringham Woodfields School and founder and trustee of North Walsham Play, for services to children with special education needs and disabilities.

He said: “The letter arrived in early May so keeping it a secret has been a real challenge but it’s great to finally have this out in the open. I feel so humble to have been nominated and chosen. I have only ever done what I feel is right/best with the time and skills I have been given.”

He thanks the person or people who nominated him and added: “I must also say a massive thank you to my very understanding wife, two children and parents for all their support, advice and patience!”

He started his campaign to improve play provision in 2015 when his first son was a year old and he and his wife realised there was very little that their child would be able to grow up and enjoy within the town’s open spaces.

“North Walsham is the largest market town in North Norfolk and the play provision was very poor given this fact. But instead of moaning about it, or taking to Facebook to bash the council, I decided to see this as an opportuntiy and hence the registered charity North Walsham Play was formed in early 2016. Our aim has been to create accessible, fun and inclusive play parks for all.”

With a positive working relationship with North Walsham Town Council, the group has which has been able to do “amazing things”.

To date, in excess of £200,000 has been secured to allow for three new parks to be installed. The first was a small play park at Woodville within one of the town’s housing estates. “This small yet perfectly formed park was the first in the town to include equipment accessible to children in wheelchairs,” said Matthew.

The second project was a large £94,000 play park within the Memorial Park. “This large themed play park has amazing facilities that have been welcomed and enjoyed by many hundreds of families. The feedback has been amazing. Again, the park includes equipment accessible for children and adults in wheelchairs. All items are within the same park, there is no segregation or fencing off of certain items of equipment,” said Matthew.

The third park, to be installed in mid-July will see a state-of-the-art, 13-piece outside gym installed at the Memorial  Park. Four pieces of equipment will enable users to generate energy as they exercise allowing them to charge devices whilst exercising.

This plan has been supported by a large grant from Sheringham Shoal Fund (administered by the Norfolk Community Foundation) plus a grant from the Postcode Lottery Trust.

But he said: “We’re not stopping there. We are now focusing our efforts on a new skate park to replace the much-loved facility at Trackside. The current skate park has served us very well but its now time to look to the future. We have a consultation on Friday, July 12, 6pm at Costa Coffee for all who want to come and support (free food and drinks).”

And he added: “North Walsham Play has a brilliant and perfectly-assembled committee of dedicated volunteers. We might not be the biggest committee, but I think our track record speaks for itself. I couldn’t have done this on my own, so even though the award was given to me, there are many people who have helped make this possible.”

New move on pub plan for North Walsham

The future of a key building in the centre of North Walsham, which attracted expressions of interest from pub chain JD Wetherspoon and is owned by North Norfolk District Council, will be reviewed and all possible future options identified.

The former town council offices on New Road have been the subject of interest from the company since 2014, but no final contract has ever been signed, despite North Norfolk District Council’s best efforts.

The new cabinet at North Norfolk District Council, chosen at a full council meeting on May 15 following the local elections on May 2d, has decided to look again at what the building could be used for.

Virginia Gay, cabinet member for culture and wellbeing, and ward member for North Walsham Market Cross, said: “This is an important building at the entrance to our attractive market. It’s an absolutely crucial asset for North Norfolk.

“We want the best result for our town, which has great potential to become a significant destination, and its people. But we have an obligation to protect the interests of all North Norfolk’s council taxpayers and ensure that they receive best value for their money.

“The Wetherspoon question has hung over us for far too long and that hasn’t been fair on anyone.

“We are concerned for the future of this building and we will look at all possible options to make sure that it no longer stands empty and unused.

“North Walsham is an increasingly vibrant community, a great place to live, work and study, and this building needs to play an important part into the future.”

An options appraisal for the building will be brought to a future meeting of the cabinet.

North Walsham Town Sign

Beer festival opens tonight!

It’s time to raise a glass to the 14th Aylsham Round Table Beer Festival.

The event which seems to go from strength to strength will open its doors at 6pm this Friday (17th May).

A total of 35 ales, 15 ciders and a selection of gin will be on offer this year and as always it will be held at County, also known as the Youth Club on Cawston Road.

Opening times are:
Friday 12th – 6pm – 11pm
Saturday 13th – 11am-11pm
Sunday 14th – 11am – 3pm.

Bronze £10 includes 2 pints
Silver £15 includes 4 pints
Gold £20 includes 6 pints

There will be live music on the Friday and Saturday and food available,