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Exercise highlights issues for blind in North Walsham

The group of people making their way with caution through North Walsham might be have attracting plenty of attention from passers-by, but half of them had no idea.

They were taking part in an awareness exercise to highlight some of the problems the blind and partially-sighted have when navigating the town on a day-to-day basis.

It was organised by Guide Dogs East Anglia and involved local police officers, police cadets and two members of the community Scott Vallance with his guide dog German Shepherd Benji, and Paul Monaghan with Gizmo, the more usual Labrador. Pauline and Doug Parker were also in attendance with trainee puppy Duffy.

Helen Sismore, community engagement officer for Guide Dogs East Anglia, said: “Today we have been able to raise awareness regarding obstacles that people who are blind or partially sighted face on a daily basis. These can be A-Boards, vehicles parked on kerbs or tactile pavings, overhanging parked vehicles into the pavement space when parking, cyclists, and the impact of dog attacks on Guide Dogs.”

There are two million people registered with sight loss in the UK. This is set to double by 2050 and 180,000 people with sight loss rarely leave their homes because of the above hazards and the feeling of not being safe when out and about.

Helen said: “The exercise today helps to build awareness in the community and highlight what the issues are. With a little bit of foresight we can help to make our communities safer so they become inclusive to all especially people who are blind or partially sighted. Think about where you are parking, think about where you are placing your A-board. Does it make the pavement too narrow? If you are a dog owner does your dog lunge or bark at working dogs? Correct it or move away! As a cyclist respect the person you are cycling behind either dismount or tell them you are behind them. Simple steps make all the difference.”

PC Davison said: “I found it terrifying. When you can’t see the traffic seems so loud and so very close to you. I was completely dependent on the person who was guiding me around the town and had to trust them completely to describe hazards around me.”

Chief Insp Wes Hornigold said: “For me, it was great to be able to get involved with members of the blind community, having already been invited to talk at the North Walsham guide dog forum. I was amazed how difficult it was to simply navigate around the town and showed to me how important it is for our paths and walkways to be clear of obstructions.”

The 10 police cadets who took part were all members of the local group which meets on Thursday evenings during term time.

The group is open to youngsters aged 13-16 and sessions are held at the police station. An open evening is planned for Thursday, March 1, at 7.30pm for those interested in finding out more about the group and joining.

For more information email NNCadets@norfolk.pnn.police.uk.

West End stars put Aylsham dancers through paces

Two stars from the West End hit musical 42nd Street have given the cast of Aylsham High School’s own production a tap dancing masterclass.

Adam Denman and Becky Herszenhorn spent a whole afternoon with about 25 members of the cast, going through complex tap routines and giving their choreography some extra pizazz.

The show is pulling in massive audiences in London after opening in the West End in October. And by coincidence, Aylsham High School bought the rights to perform the show. The cast has been perfecting its tap dancing since September and youngsters managed to wow the two stars from the West End during the coaching session.

Adam said: “I didn’t expect this calibre of skill. They are absolutely fantastic.” Becky added: “We found out today some of them had never worn a pair off tap shoes before rehearsals. Hopefully we have been able to pass on some of then energy and excitement of the West End show.”

Adam and Becky spent three hours working with the students, making sure the split-econd timings were spot on and that Aylsham’s stars hadevery bit as much glitz as their professional counterparts in London. When the show opens in Aylsham there will be a cast of 40 plus a professional orchestra.

42nd Street is a musical about a musical, the cast of a show battling against the odds to put on a hit. It’s packed with famous numbers such as We’re in the Money, Lullaby of Broadway and, of course, the big hit number 42nd Street.

Director and Aylsham High drama teacher Hazel Martin said: “To have two stars from 42nd Street in the West End come all the way out to Aylsham to help us perfect our show has been a really amazing experience for all of us, our cast have been buzzing with excitement. Adam and Becky have been wonderful, they’ve really helped us raise our game to new heights.”

Producer Tanya Wiseman has worked tirelessly to get the sets built and arranged for Becky and Adam to come to Aylsham for the coaching session. She said: “I’m so immensely proud to see the students achieving those extra finishing touches and can’t wait for opening night.”

42nd Street at Aylsham High School runs from March 14-17. Tickets from the school or Ticketsource.co.uk

Picture: TIM CURTIS

Young talent takes on literary classic as musical

Norfolk’s young talented actors are maing up the cast in a new production for Norfolk Youth Music Theatre.
The musical of Jane Eyre is based on the famous romantic novel by Charlotte Brontë, the musical tells the story of orphan Jane from her unhappy childhood to falling in love with the master of Thornfield Hall, Edward Rochester, who employs her as governess to his ward.
Their union seems doomed, Jane flees, disaster strikes Edward – but there is a happy ending.
The lead role of Jane is played by former Aylsham High student Ellen Smith, who is currently studying drama, history and film at Paston College, as well as getting involved with Far East Theatre Company’s performances.
She has performed with the Norfolk Youth Music Theatre many times, including Rita O’Grady in Made in Dagenham, Cosette in Les Miserables and Crystal in Little Shop of Horrors. Ellen has also performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival twice with NYMT and with Cromer and Sheringham Operatic and Dramatic Society.
Ellen, 17, is currently in the process of auditioning for drama schools across the country. She said: “Acting is something I enjoy more than anything, and being a part of such a lovely, talented company makes the experience even more enjoyable. Jane Eyre is such a fantastic part to tackle, I will need to draw on all of my emotions when portraying this iconic character.”
Amy English, 17, is also a former Aylsham student, now studying drama and performing arts at Paston, where she is involved in the show Illyria. Doctor Who fan Amy said: “I am a huge fan of the show, but most of all I love acting, and hope to go to drama school and pursue a career in theatre.”
Current high school student Elizabeth (Libby) Lumb is playing Adele in Jane Eyre.
The 12-year-old has appeared in a few shows previously, such as The Sound of Music and The King and I at Aylsham High School, and was part of the choir in the touring West End production of Joseph and His Technicolor Dreamcoat.
She said: “I love acting and want to continue as long as possible. I  also like walking my dog, Douglas, and having fun with my friends.”
Sophie Millington, 10, and Jeremiah Humphreys-Piercy, 16, are also starring.
Sophie, who plays the young Jane, is in Year 5 at Town Close School and loves acting, singing, dancing and Brownies.
“I play the violin with Norwich Suzuki Group and I also play the piano,” she said.  “As well as taking part in school productions, I have performed in Bill Kenwright’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at the Marina Theatre, Lowestoft, and have sung with Blake at Cromer Pier, Rebeca Newman at Norwich Playhouse, and Classical Reflection at Sheringham and Trimingham.
“My biggest interest is theatre and performing and my favourite sport is netball.”
Jeremiah plays magistrate Mr Eshton. He studied at CNS where he began to enjoy drama, playing John Hale in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, and Banquo in Macbeth.
He currently attends Paston Sixth Form College, where he is studying A-level drama and is appearing in the college’s production of Illyria this month. Jeremiah enjoys making films and YouTube videos in his spare time. He hopes to go to drama school and start an acting career

Music and lyrics for the production are by Paul Gordon, book and additional lyrics by John Caird. It is directed by Adrian Connell.
For tickets contact the Norwich Playhouse box office on 10603 598598 or visit www.norwichplayhouse.co.uk

North Walsham care service nominated for award

Extra Care Home Services in North Walsham has been nominated for a Skills for Care Accolades award that celebrates the outstanding achievements of the very best adult social care employers in England.

They have been nominated in the Best Employer under 50 category which recognises Extra Care Home Services for the work it does in supporting the people who access their services.

The business provides practical and personal care support to individuals in their own homes in the North Walsham area. They won two awards last year at the Norfolk Care Awards 2017 for Motivational Leadership and Rising Star and this year they are also shortlisted finalist in the category Excellent Person Centred Care and Support and will find out if they have won at the Gala Night at Sprowston Manor on February 22.

Sarah Thompson, owner and registered manager said: “When we found out that we had made the final of the Skills for Care Accolades we were delighted because it is a reward on a national stage for all our team, and the hard work they put in to make sure we offer high quality services for the people we work with.

“It is a recognition that our investment in the development of the people who work for us has paid off, and for all the hard work people put into making sure they have the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to do a great job. It is amazing to be recognised at National level for the work we believe so passionately in. We are up against a care home from Essex and a home care company based in the Bournemouth area.”

Skills for Care has been hosting the Accolades awards for the last 14 years honouring hundreds of organisations who all share a genuine commitment to developing the skills and knowledge of their workforce.

They will find if they have won at the Skills for Care Accolades awards night in London on Thursday,  March 1.

Sarah pictured centre at a previous awards last year.

Marathon mission for North Walsham man

Teacher Stephen Brown is on a mission to raise money for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).
Having worked alongside children for nearly nine years, he wanted to do something to support those who don’t have the life they deserve and is currently in training to run  the London Marathon in April.
“As a child, I grew up in a loving family home and was cared for and loved deeply. Sadly, not all children have such privileges,” he said. “In 2016, it was recorded that more than 58,000 children in the UK suffered some form of abuse – 58,000! This unbelievably high number shocked and saddened me so, so much.”
The NSPCC works tirelessly supporting and counselling children who have suffered some form of abuse; whether it be physical, emotional or sexual.
And Stephen’s marathon effort on Sunday, April 22, will be to raise awareness and money for the NSPCC.
“I would be so grateful to anyone who is willing to donate to this amazing cause and help inspire me to complete my challenge,” he said.
Stephen, who recently moved to North Walsham, has a Just Giving page where people can donate and also follow his progress, with blog updates. He currently has £195 towards his target of £2,200.
He added: “If you do see me out running in North Walsham, please give me a wave or a hoot from your car.”
“Please realise that any donation is hugely appreciated and will go a long way towards helping me reach my goal and, more importantly, helping children who deserve a better and safer life.”

See more at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stephen-brown62

 

Norfolk Christmas drink/drug drive results

More than 100 people were arrested during the Norfolk Christmas drink-drive campaign with almost 1,000 people breathalysed.

The month-long campaign, launched on December 1 2017, targeted drivers getting behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Patrols and roadside checks were carried out with Norfolk having a 8.55pc fail rate.

A total of 947 tests were carried out with 81 drivers providing positive readings. Of the 172 drug tests conducted 56 drivers failed.

This year 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.

In Norfolk:

  • Neil Grimwood, 56, from Lone Barn Road in Norwich was stopped after driving erratically. He provided a positive breath test of more than three times the legal limit. He was arrested on Saturday December 2 and at court on Friday December 5 where he was disqualified for 26 months and ordered to pay a £3,200 fine.
  • Martin Banfield, 46, from King Street, Norwich was stopped after being seen driving in an erratic manner in Neatishead. He was stopped and provided a positive breath test of more than three times the legal limit. He was disqualified for 28 months, ordered to undertake rehabilitation activity and given an electronic tag and curfew between 6pm and 6am for one month.
  • Peter Thomas, 44, from The Archway, Lowestoft was breathalysed following an RTC involving a brick wall. He provided a positive breath test and was arrested on Wednesday  December 13. He appeared at court the next day and was disqualified for three years and ordered to pay £400.
  • Zilvians Neveckas, 34, from Havelock Road, Great Yarmouth was arrested on South Quay in Great Yarmouth on Wednesday December 27 after a member of public reported his driving. He failed a breath test and was more than three times over the legal limit. He also did not have insurance and was driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence. He was seen at court on Friday 29 and disqualified for four years, ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work and sentenced to eight weeks in prison suspended for two years.

Chief Inspector Kris Barnard, head of the joint Roads Policing and Firearms Operations Unit, said: “It’s always disappointing to see that people are still prepared to take the risk and get behind the wheel under the influence of drink or drugs, although it is a minority.

“Dozens of people caught during the campaign would have started 2018 with a minimum 12 to 18 month driving ban, which will have massive implications on their professional and social lives.

“We target drink-drivers all year round and my plea to motorists considering getting behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs is don’t – it’s simply not worth the risk.”

During the 2016 campaign 1,320 tests were carried out with 85 drivers failing.

Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green, said: “It is clear some drivers still don’t grasp the fact that driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is dangerous and unacceptable and a selfish thing to do. .

“It is just not worth the risk and should not be tolerated by the community. We all have a part to play in keeping our roads safe. Do yourself a favour, do everyone else a favour and don’t drive under the influence of drink or drugs and don’t let your friends or family do so.”

 

Body found in search for North Walsham man

Police believe the body of the young man found this morning near North Walsham was that of missing 20-year-old Ian Tang.

The body was found in an area of woodland at Swafield at 11.15am by a small group who had joined around 200 members of the community, the Fire and Rescue Service and Lowland Rescue in the search at 10am this morning.

Ian went missing after leaving Club KA in North Walsham at 2.30am after spending the evening with friends. CCTV in the town shows him alone, walking towards the B1145. He was sighted later near the bypass and was last seen between 5.45 and 6am near the Pigney’s Wood/Swafield area by a passing motorist.

At a briefing at North Walsham police station this afternoon, Wes Hornigold, Chief Inspector for North Norfolk and Broadland, said they had yet to officially identify the body but were working closely and supporting the family while this was carried out.

And he praised the huge community effort which had aided the search. “It was absolutely fantastic to see such a real community effort, people really came out in force, giving up their time to help. It was a testament to the community spirit of North Walsham. I was overcome with the amount of people who came to North Walsham police station this morning.”

Members of the community had also been out the evening before searching in the dark.

He said Ian was obviously well-liked within the community and said: “Our thoughts are with the family at this time.”

He said a formal identification was expected today or tomorrow and the investigation would continue to piece together what happened, though Ian’s death was not being treated as suspicious at this time.

Police and volunteers had carried out door-to-door inquiries and posters had been put up in the town. An appeal had also gone out on Facebook asking for help in the search.

Ian worked at Rossis Leisure in North Walsham as well as attending college. Fitness classes at Rossis were this afternoon suspended out of respect to him. Operations manager Chris Carr said the staff were coming to terms with the tragedy. “Ian was a well-liked member of the team and many staff here were very close to him. Our thoughts are with his family and friends,” he said.

Chief Inspector Wes Hornigold

 

 

Staff do their bit for Christmas

Staff at North Norfolk’s largest social landlord have been embracing the true spirit of Christmas – by donating to a reverse Advent calendar to help less fortunate people enjoy the festive season.

Staff at Victory Housing Trust have each been donating 24 items of food, drink and festive treats to the Advent Calendar – which has seen several boxes of goodies delivered to the Cromer and District Foodbank for distribution to those facing a less than merry Christmas.

Collection organiser Kari Ashling, a tenancy management officer at the trust, delivered the boxes to the Foodbank in time for the items, which also include necessities such as toothbrushes, shampoo and nappies, to be included in the charity’s seasonal distribution.

“The reverse Advent calendar is such a good idea which encourages us to think about the real meaning of Christmas,” said Ms Ashling.  “Colleagues at Victory have really embraced the idea, and we are delighted to be able to donate so much to the Foodbank at the time of year when demand for what it does is at its peak.”

Last month the Foodbank, which has distributed more than 30 tonnes of food to people in crisis across north Norfolk over the past year, was the recipient of a £5,000 grant from the Victory Housing Community Fund to help support the cost of its two part-time project managers.

Further details of the work the Foodbank does, along with details of how to donate and to get help, can be found at www.cromerdistrict.foodbank.org.uk.

Kari Ashling of Victory Housing Trust presents the Christmas goodies to Cromer and district Foodbank joint project managers Tim Morton and Miranda Hall
PICTURE: Andy Newman