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Run with Pride

Like many other athletic events this year, the Norwich Pride 5K race will be a little different.

Because of restrictions on mass events, the popular race – organised by EPIC – will be rebranded as #RunWithPride event, with all profits being granted to LGBT+ charities across the UK.

Anyone wanting to take part can complete the course at any time during July – as teams or as individuals – and choose from 5k, 10k, 25k, 50k, or 100k challenges.

The whole distance does not have to be run at once – you can split the distance over the month – and participants are being encouraged to share their efforts by using the hashtag #RunWithPride via Strava, Facebook or Instagram.

Some clubs have entered teams of 31, with each member taking responsibility for one day of the month, and others are pooling resources to provide moral support.

Taking part costs £10 per person, plus a booking fee. All entries include a bespoke #RunWithPride race medal.

To enter, visit https://totalracetiming.co.uk/race/212 .

Clubs merge to build a stronger team

North Walsham Town Football Club and North Walsham Youth Football Club have announced that they will be consolidating all youth, women’s and men’s teams into one organisation.

After much discussion and concerted effort from both clubs, all football within North Walsham will be under one umbrella for the first time in history.

This merger should allow greater security and increased opportunity for football across the community among all age groups and abilities. The club will now host:

A variety of youth age groups (girls and boys)

Mini Kickers

Ladies’ First Team

Men’s First, Reserves and A Team

Men’s Veterans (Over 35s)

Commenting jointly on the merger, outgoing NWYFC Chairman Nick Hindle and current NWTFC Chairman Craig Brown said: “It is fantastic to think that during these very difficult times both parties have been able to come together for the greater good of the community to provide a single organisation focused on an all-inclusive setup to encourage and grow wider football participation.

“This is a very proud moment for all those connected to both clubs as this has not been an overnight process and many obstacles have been overcome.

“The future for football related activity in North Walsham has taken a giant leap forwards and now it is for us to grow.  We will continue to foster our good relations and support from North Norfolk District Council and Norfolk FA.

“It is important to stress that we cannot rest and must continue this momentum with the help of volunteers, parents and schools within and around the town. 

“The club is always looking for more people to help with all aspects – coaching, assisting with refreshments, admin and committee roles.  If you wish to get involved, or are an adult or parent with a child who wants to give football a go, then please get in touch.  If we don’t have a team then come forwards and help us found one.”

Tany’s leap of faith for RNLI

Tany Backburn, shop manager at Happisburgh RNLI, will be swapping the sea for the sky to raise funds for the station.

Tany had planned to do a skydive in May, but due to the pandemic everything was put on hold. And now that UK Parachuting, at Beccles, has reopened, Tany’s date has been set for July 25.

Tany, 69, has been a volunteer at Happisburgh for more than 20 years helping in the shop, and four years ago she took over as shop manager.

Tany Blackburn

She is hoping to raise as much as possible for the station as it has been a hard year, with the shop being closed.

Tany said: “The butterflies have started but it has happened so quickly, I’m just looking forward to the day.”

If anyone would like to sponsor her, they can follow this link to her Just Giving page.

The station’s open day will be on Sunday, August 2, from noon until 4pm with stalls and events at the Boathouse. Subject to any operational requirements there will also be a display by the lifeboat.

Popular races will go ahead

The Epic Aylsham and North Walsham 5K races will take on a different form this year so they can still go ahead despite the restrictions around covid-19.

Participants will be able to complete the Aylsham race any time between August 1 and 31, and those wishing to do the North Walsham run can complete it any time in September.

The races raise money for projects in both towns which are organised by Exercising People in Communities Norfolk (Epic) an organisation dedicated to improving lives through physical activity opportunities.

Organiser Steven Hitcham said: “2019 was the first year we organised these races and both were very popular, so we didn’t want to cancel the races this year. The profits from this year’s races will mainly go to providing physical activity provision for older people in Aylsham and North Walsham.”

Last year’s races generated more than £2,000 profits which were used to provide the set-up costs for Aylsham Runners, bought a bench for Aylsham Bowls Club, provided outdoor equipment for Aylsham Rec, gave sponsorship to one of the Aylsham Football teams, helped pay for the Aylsham Netball competition, adapted sports equipment for Your Choice day centre and adapted sports equipment for Barrington Farm day centre.

Steven added: “Despite the races not going ahead as planned in June this year, we hope we can still hold successful events and support both towns in becoming more active.”

There will be medals for participants as usual and they can be collected from Coxford’s Butchers in Aylsham and Papworth Butchers in North Walsham. They can also be posted.

Runners can complete the official routes or choose their own 5K route. It costs £13 to enter and entrants must be 11 or over. Under-16s must be accompanied by an adult when they complete their run.

Click here for the Aylsham route and here for the North Walsham one.

Times can be submitted via Total Race Timing where participants can also enter the race via https://totalracetiming.co.uk/race/157 for the Epic Aylsham 5K and https://totalracetiming.co.uk/race/160 for the Epic North Walsham 5K.

The event is being sponsored and supported by Coxford’s Butchers, Clarion Futures, Aylsham Growers, Ben Burgess Aylsham, Aylsham Runners, North Walsham Community Shop, Co-op, Waitrose, Dewing Grain, Cecil Amey and Papworth Butchers.

For more information visit the Epic Facebook page, on @epicnorfolk and by using the #epic5k.

Keenan’s racing ahead for a dream future

While most 12-year-old boys were playing motorsport games on their PlayStations, Keenan Tully was out driving the real thing as he got a taste for motor racing at an early age.

Now 20, Keenan is an established race car driver on the local circuits, with big plans to make it big in the American sport of Nascar racing.

“I didn’t have any roots in the sport,” said Keenan, who lives in Aylsham. “I’m a first generation fan, my dad was never into it, he preferred football. My friend was already racing and I watched him and it sort of started from there. I started racing in the Junior Formula and then moved into adult racing when I was 16.”

His first race, aged 12, was in a full size car and spent a lot of time at the race car track at Swaffham, which held test days most weeks.

“You pay to have the track to test and to practise and learn,” he said. “I have raced at Yarmouth, Ipswich, Swaffham, Birmingham and Essex and won 17 trophies.”

The former Reepham High School pupil also drove in the USA when his family lived there for a time, which is where he discovered Nascar, the most popular motor sport in the states.

“We lived in California a couple of years ago and I got found out by a team, which was incredible. My dream is to race there full time.”

Nascar has a long and proud history, but despite its 100 years of popularity it has remained an American sport, which is why Keenan and his brother, Zach, are moving to North Carolina so he can follow his dream.

“North Carolina is where about 90pc of the Nascar teams are based, so that’s the place to be,” said Keenan. “

He hopes to attract a sponsor once he is there so he can compete professionally – and he wonders if the novelty of being a British driver might be a help.

“My mum is from California, so I have an American passport,” he said. “When I was racing there, people loved that I was British and fans would come round and ask me to talk just to hear my accent!”

All racing including stock car and hot rod racing is currently paused in the UK, and Keenan had his last race back in February.

Shortly after lockdown he broke his kneecap and he is working hard to get back to racing fitness for when the season begins with a behind-closed-doors meeting at Swaffham on July 18 – no mean feat with gyms also closed.

Keenan Tully’s dream is to become a Nascar driver and is moving to America to follow his dream.

At the moment everyone is equal in the league table of drivers but in the past Keenan has come second and third, including a second place in the East Anglian Championship in 2018 and was third in the national standings in the year before.

“I will carry on racing between now and my move and save up so I can buy my own car or find sponsorship,” he said. “It’s not a cheap sport and the only way to get into it is to hope a team sees you and supports you. Right now I am self-funding.”

With a full time job as a mechanic for Lotus Racing Team in Long Stratton and his own mobile car valeting business, Keenan is working hard to support his racing, to fund his move overseas and to get fit after his injury.

His determination even saw him shed six stone in order to get into racing shape when he weighed in at 18 stone in 2016.

“It’s all I’ve ever really wanted to do, and I’ll work hard to get there,” he said.

Keenan is looking for partners who could help him with his adventure. If anyone can help they can email him at keenantullymotorsport@gmail.com or visit his Facebook page.

Google grant for local publisher is Just the job…

A hyperlocal magazine publisher which refused to let the pandemic stop it getting the local news out has received a grant from Google.

Just Regional, an organisation which produces 10 news magazines in Norfolk, received the grant from the technology giant’s relief fund – a scheme designed to help news titles through the coronavirus crisis.

Editor Tracey Bagshaw said: “This is amazing news. It has been well documented that some large organisations have felt the pinch, but small organisations such as us have also had to adapt to survive, and it’s great to see that effort recognised.”

Just Regional paused printing its monthly magazines in March, mainly to protect its team of more than 100 delivery boys and girls, turning its attention to putting stories online via its website, Facebook and Twitter.

Its online interactions grew up to 1,000pc in all areas as readers logged on for daily updates, breaking news and features.

It returned to print in June with a merged publication covering all areas. The well-received magazine was delivered to 50,000 homes in six market towns and four Norwich suburbs. Another edition is about to be delivered, with a further one in production later this month.

Tracey Bagshaw, Group Editor.

“We never stopped during the lockdown as we were determined to keep giving people a mix of vital information, local news and some of the more heart-warming moments which were going on in our communities,” said Tracey.

Just Regional has been producing popular hyperlocal magazines for 12 years. Owner Lee Todd said the importance of local news could not be overestimated and he was thrilled that it had been recognised in this way.

“Google, this massive international company, has backed us – a company based in Aylsham, a small Norfolk market town – because it believes in what we are doing,” he said.

“They were impressed how we kept going through the pandemic and that we are rising from the ashes, unlike some bigger publications which are struggling all across the country.

“Our readers and advertisers have stuck with us throughout this and we are grateful for their loyal support.”

Richard Gingras, vice-president of news at Google, said: “Local news is a vital resource for keeping people and communities connected in the best of times.

“Today, it plays an even greater function in reporting on local lockdowns or shelter at home orders, school and park closures, and data about how covid-19 is affecting daily life.

“But that role is being challenged as the news industry deals with job cuts, furloughs and cutbacks as a result of the economic downturn.”

The Just Regional offices in Aylsham town centre. This is a central location for the 10 areas covered.

Protest against road closures

Traders in North Walsham launched a protest in the town centre today, saying the new traffic restrictions have pushed them back into a new lockdown.

The Market Place was closed to all through traffic from today, with the loss of parking spaces and through traffic adding to concerns of businesses which have already been closed for around six months – first because of gas works and then again covid-19 restrictions came in.

The protest was organised by Bob White, who owns the Showcase Gallery, who said the closure was unnecessary and could be the final nail in the coffin for some businesses.

“Just as the town was getting back to life, we are hit with a brick wall,” he said.

The protest had the support of around 20 businesses as well as shoppers and residents who say that shopping will be made difficult because of the lack of parking spaces and changes to the bus routes.

They all held banners made by Mr White which read “No traffic, no custom, no future”.

North Norfolk District Council has said the measures will be under frequent review and were brought in to comply with regulations and keep shoppers safe.

But Mr White and his fellow protesters believe that they are bringing in “pedestrianisation by stealth” which is not what any of them want.

“We are all experienced businesses, and this is not what we want and not what North Walsham needs,” he said.

Help keep live venues alive

One of the area’s leading live-music venues believes that a campaign to raise money for grassroots venues hit by the sudden loss of revenue from gigs is vital for its survival, writes ADAM AIKEN

#saveourvenues, which is being run by the Music Venue Trust, has been backed by a number of high-profile brands and artists, including Dereham rockers Bad Touch, whose latest single has been adopted to help the campaign.

One of their first live gigs was at the Brickmakers and B2 Venue in Sprowston Road, Norwich, and co-owner Charley South said the lockdown had been “financially crippling”.

During normal times, the venue offers live music every night, with more than 100 bands performing each month, but that has all changed during the pandemic.

“With landlords only deferring rent, and no sign of rescue from the government, the future looks bleak,” she said. “Already we owe our landlords £28,000 in rent from March to date, and the debts keep accruing every day.

A special montage put together by the Brickmakers team to call for support for venues such as theirs.

“The Music Venue Trust is working tirelessly to try to secure a rescue package from the government for us and other grassroots venues across the nation. This campaign is vital for our survival. Without it we are just one of many venues that face permanent closure.”

Marshall Amplification – a brand known for the iconic music equipment used by some of the world’s leading artists – has launched a T-shirt as part of its support for the campaign.

The T-shirts which have been designed to boost the #saveourvenues campaign inspired by a song by Norfolk band Bad Touch.

The “I’ve Got the Music in Me” T-shirt is inspired by the new single from festival fixtures Bad Touch. The Dereham band included their cover of the 1974 Kiki Dee hit on their fourth album, Kiss the Sky, which was recently released by Marshall Records to widespread critical acclaim.

Frontman Stevie Westwood said: “What is a band without a venue? We’ve been together a decade now, and over that time we’ve been very fortunate to play in some awesome venues – not just the ones with the big stages or professional sound systems but some that had next-to-nothing and were still electric to play in.”

Bad Touch had already shown their support for #saveourvenues by recording an isolation song, Keep On Smilin’, in support of the campaign.

“Sadly, many of these culturally integral places, both big and small, have now shut their doors for good,” said the singer. “Some have been holding on by the skin of their teeth and with the support of their local gig-going community for years. With the added weight of the lockdown, the pressure for some has proven too much to bear. So when the chance for us to work with the Music Venue Trust came up – an excuse to make a noise, share some love and smiles, and hopefully prevent some more doors from closing – we jumped at the opportunity.”

Charley, who is a musician herself and who played her very first gig at the Brickmakers 30 years ago, said: “Our venue is just one of many around the UK where musicians cut their teeth and hone their craft. Without small venues such as ours, there are no bottom rungs on the ladder. Bands need to have somewhere to start out, to learn, to make mistakes and to improve and then to grow.

“Without these fundamental starting points there will be no future Rolling Stones, Oasis or Ed Sheeran. All those legendary artists started out in grassroots music venues and Ed Sheeran played B2 Venue several times when he was starting out.”

www.saveourvenues.co.uk