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Dramatic video of marsh rescue

The dramatic moment a police drone found a man stuck in marshes after being reported missing from Brancaster beach has been released.

Peter Pugh, aged 75 and from Brancaster, had been walking with friends and family at approximately 5.10pm on Saturday,  June 16, when he became separated from them.

Norfolk police, assisted by HM Coastguard, Hunstanton and Wells Inshore Lifeboat and Norfolk Lowland and Search Service, began searches of the local area throughout the night and into Sunday, June 17.

At approximately 2.35pm the Norfolk Police drone, being piloted by Sergeant Danny Leach, spotted Peter stuck in very dense reed beds and marshland at Titchwell. Sgt Leach was then able to guide a team from HM Coastguard and Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service to him.

The team pulled Peter from a deep muddy creek before providing first aid until the Coastguard rescue helicopter arrived to winch him out.

Peter was then taken by air ambulance to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn where he is being treated for hypothermia.

Sergeant Alex Bucher, who helped co-ordinate the search operation, said: “This is a great example of multi-agency working at its best and through our teamwork we were able to successfully locate Peter and return him back to his family on Father’s Day.

“There is no doubt that without the police drone we would not have been able to locate him in the time we did. The police drone allows us to search areas that are difficult to access and within close range where a helicopter may not be able to get.

“Approximately 50 people were directly involved with this search operation and it was through their dedication and hard work we were able to save this man’s life.”

Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green said: “What a fantastic example of what can be achieved when our agencies work together and our police have the right tools for the job.

“Having pledged to give our officers the 21st century tools, including drones, that they need to keep our county safe, it’s incidents like this that demonstrate just how relevant that pledge was and continues to be.

“Now, almost a year since Norfolk Police launched its initial drone trial, this is yet another remarkable achievement. Well done to all involved.”

You can see the dramatic footage here  https://vimeo.com/275784037

 

Norfolk library events help loneliness misery

Research has shown that loneliness can be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and is associated with depression, high blood pressure and dementia, according to Margaret Dewsbury, chairman of Norfolk County Council’s communities committee.

Since Norfolk County Council launched its In Good Company campaign to tackle loneliness in the county, the library service has more than doubled the number of events it runs which are suitable for people who may be experiencing loneliness or social isolation.

And from June 21-23 more than 20 council libraries will be hosting In Good Company events and activities as part of the national Great Get Together project.

It’s an approach which earlier this year drew the praise of Arts Council England which highlighted the way it was helping to build community cohesion and promote positive ways that people can connect with their neighbours – recognised nationally as the most important way of tackling loneliness and social isolation.

Jan Holden, head of libraries and information, said: “From afternoon teas, knit and natter and board games to colour me calm sessions and book groups, our regular programme of events encourages people to enjoy the company of others whilst taking part in a fun activity or simply chatting over a cuppa.

“For the Great Get Together weekend, we’ve incorporated some extra events into our programme, including Open Gardens at Blofield, Making Music Day at Aylsham, and a sing along and invitation to write a letter to an isolated person at Hunstanton.  We hope lots of people will come along and join – it’s a great way to connect with people and make new friends.”

The first Great Get Together took place last year.  It was the idea of the friends and family of murdered MP, Jo Cox, to mark the first anniversary of her death.  The event aims to bring friends, neighbours and communities together to celebrate everything they have in common.

Councillor Dewsbury added: “Loneliness is a major national issue and we know that it affects people of all ages.

“We are leading the way with our In Good Company campaign and recently announced £2.4m funding to tackle loneliness in the county.  Over the next three years we’ll be working with partner organisations to develop new and innovative ways of improving the health and wellbeing of people affected by loneliness and social isolation in our communities.

“It’s great to see our libraries taking part in the Great Get Together again this year and offering such a varied range of events and activities to help to ensure that no one needs to spend a lonely day in Norfolk if they don’t want to.”

For more information about how you can get involved with In Good Company, visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/ingoodcompany

For events and activities in Norfolk County Council’s libraries visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/libraries

For more information about the Great Get Together visit www.greatgettogether.org


 

Gretel takes a new direction at Sheringham Little Theatre

Directing a drama is a tick on the “bucket list” of battling cancer patient Gretel Brice.
She is at the helm of a youth musical production of the classic story Little Women, an empowering tale of a strong mum fighting adversity to bring up her daughters.
And, with her own daughters Megan and Matilda in the cast at theatres in Sheringham and Great Yarmouth, the show is a poignant and inspirational one for the family, as well as other people with cancer.
Gretel, 49, has had a busy 30-year career in social services, mental and alternative health,and followed her passion for music and dance as a teacher.
But, while running her own complementary health business, a diagnosis of advanced ovarian cancer in March last year, saw her become a patient rather than a healer.
Her treatment included losing many organs in a life-saving 10-hour operation plus four months of chemotherapy.
“It was tough. I lost my hair, eyebrows and eyelashes, and my whole body felt as if it was being poisoned but I was not prepared to lie in bed and suffer,” said Gretel, who lives near Happisburgh.
“I gardened my way through the impacts of chemo to push it through my system and alleviate the symptoms more quickly,” she explained.
As Gretel got stronger, friend Debbie Thompson, director of Sheringham Little Theatre, asked her to chaperone youngsters at the panto.
It led to Gretel choreographing a youth production of Bugsy Malone this spring, and now to direct Little Women from July 5-7. She also teaches dance and drama at St George’s Theatre, Great Yarmouth, where the show will be staged on July 8.
“I was still in pain through Bugsy and have suffered some memory loss through the chemo – so remembering the dance steps meant extra work and lots of determination,” said Gretel.
“But dancing makes my soul dance, and the more I did it, the easier it became. It has been therapeutic – physically, mental and emotionally – and has rebuilt my confidence.”
Book tickets at www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com, 01263 822347.

PICTURE: RICHARD BATSON

‘Learning to live again’ Tiff Youngs exclusive

Claire Mutimer and Suzy Coulson, of The Backstory podcast, with an exclusive interview with Tiffany Youngs, wife of international rugby star Tom, about her cancer diagnosis, treatment, terminal prognosis, shock remission and the impact it has had on her four-year-old daughter and family.

At the age of 28, Tiff Youngs appeared to have an amazing life – recently married to Tom Youngs, the England, Lions and Leicester Tigers rugby player, with a new baby girl Maisie and a lovely family home in Leicester.

However this was all about to be turned on its head when she found out in 2014 that she was suffering from Hodgkin Lymphoma.

The latest Backstory podcast, which went live today (May 22), tells the remarkable story of how Tiff dealt with three years of ill health and numerous different treatments, including a stem cell transplant, only to be told the devastating news in May 2017 that her cancer was terminal.

Tiff said she told her daughter: “I said you know mummy hasn’t been very well, unfortunately mummy has got to go to heaven….and she was like ‘Oh OK so I never see mummy again’.” She was, at one point, given between four weeks and a year to live.

In the interview, Tiff talks to Claire about her health and emotions, and the extraordinary turnaround which sees her now in remission from the disease. This conversation with her daughter was quite different. “I said you know mummy was ill and lost all her hair, mummy’s all better now and so mummy isn’t going to heaven any more….and you suddenly just saw a different person in her…just a spring in her step,” she said.

Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that affects the development of lymophocytes (a type of white blood cell) in the blood, bone marrow and lymph glands. It affects the immune system and is often first diagnosed on finding swollen lymph nodes in your armpits or groin. Around 12,000 people are diagnosed with a type of lymphoma every year. Hodgkin Lymphoma refers to the specific lymphocytes which are affected.

Tiffany’s husband Tom plays for Leicester Tigers Rugby Club, is the current club captain and has received 28 England caps, as well as Lions success. Younger brother Ben also plays for Leicester and England. Ben opted to miss the 2017 British & Irish Lions Tour of New Zealand following Tiff’s terminal prognosis in order to support Tiff and Tom. The brothers grew up in Aylsham. Youngs Park in the town is named after the family after they donated land for the park.

Tiff’s backstory podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, Acast and other podcast directories.  Find out more at thebackstorypodcast.co.uk or follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. If you would like more information then you can get in touch with Claire and Suzy on hello@thebackstorypodcast.co.uk or by calling 07990 582683/07595 335855.

Tiffany with husband Tom and daughter Maisie

Picture: Claire Mutimer

Applications open for Community Transport Fund

North Norfolk District Council’s Community Transport Fund is open for applications and the council will host workshop for organisations interested in applying.

The scheme is designed to support community transport schemes across the district that help vulnerable, disadvantaged and isolated residents of all ages access the services and facilities they need.

The types of project the fund is likely to support include Good Neighbours, Dial-a-Ride, MediRide, and work and study schemes.

Any voluntary organisation that currently provides or wishes to set up a community transport service in North Norfolk is encouraged to apply to the council for a grant.

Council leader John Lee said: “At a time when many authorities are cutting back on community projects, I’m absolutely delighted that because of the sound monetary policies of this council, we are able to provide these funds to assist some of our most vulnerable residents.”

A workshop for organisations interested in applying for a grant will be held at 10am on Thursday, June 7, at the council’s HQ in Holt Road, Cromer. The workshop will outline the application process and, after any grant is awarded, what is required in terms of monitoring, data collection, publicity and promotion.

Applications to the Community Transport Fund can be submitted at any time, and decisions on applications will be made in March, July and November. To be considered this July, applications need to be submitted by June 29.

For more information or to apply for a grant, visit www.north-norfolk.gov.uk and search for “community transport fund”.

To discuss a potential application or to book a place on the workshop, call the Communities Team on 01263 516173 or 01263 516248.

Volunteers and users of North Norfolk Community Bus

REVIEW: Salt, presented by Norfolk theatre company fEAST,

It is a fine balancing act transferring the mood and characters from a book to the stage. We each have an individual appreciation of what is going on in the book but, on stage, we rely on the director and cast to visualise the story for us.

So the years spent by Robin McLoughlin adapting Jeremy Page’s atmospheric novel Salt for the stage were not wasted if the performances in Aylsham were anything to go by.

And the direction by Dawn Finnerty ably set up the mood of isolation in a turbulent north Norfolk landscape which shapes the lives of three generations of one family as they struggle for survival in the wetlands – that wilderness between the land and the sea.

The tragi-comic story is told through the eyes of their youngest member, Pip, played by Sam Thompson, who talks us through four decades of blood, smoke, mud, tears and fish.

The show begins in Morston, in 1944. Pip’s grandmother ‘Goose’ (Sally Blouet) rescues a German airman buried up to his neck in the marsh. Nine months later the German vanishes in a makeshift boat, leaving Goose with a new-born daughter, Lil.

Lil (Katie-anna Whiting) grows up from a strange child to the object of two brothers’ desire, and that’s when her life takes a tragic turn.

The brothers, played by Robin McLoughlin and Tom Girvin, fill the narrative gaps with humour as well as a deep sense of foreboding.

Blustering throughout the tale is Owen Evans as Bryn Pugh, a Falstaff character who acts as minder, friend and mentor to the family.

There are many “gaps in time” as we pass through the decades and some of these transition points are confusing like when the young lovers banish themselves to the Fens to escape the opprobrium of the community before their illegitimate baby is born.

But it is the beauty of the Norfolk dialect and mannerisms, which are effortlessly displayed here by the mostly home-grown cast, and the many references to local place names which give the production a powerful sense of place and time.

It would be hard to single out any one actor as each fulfilled their roles impeccably especially as they were up against some exacting minimalist props – mainly wooden crates and half a broken boat.

If anything is, then the star of the show is that bootiful, gloriously open, mystical but unforgiving patch of land where folk dew dif’runt.

Patrick Prekopp

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Adrian in the saddle for Edinburgh Fringe

Norfolk Youth Musical Theatre director Adrian Connell is taking to his bike to fund ths group’s latest visit to a national theatre festival.
He is currently nearing his target of raising £1,500 to enable the group to take its production of Battle of Boat’ to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Adrian will be completing a fundraising cycle ride from Sheringham to Norwich (37 miles) on Sunday, May 27.
He currently has £964 towards his target.
He said: “All of the cast members have paid for their own accommodation and travel and we are now trying to raise money to pay for venue hire, royalties, radio mics, printing and all the other additional costs associated with putting on a show at the Fringe. They have raised most of it but are £1500 short. Please help me help them to achieve their target.”
Charlie Windle (13), from Norwich, who plays the part of Beagle, did a similar bike ride for 25 miles and raised £472 for the trip. Also Mabel White (11), from Aylsham, who plays Florance, did a bake off at her primary school and raised £54. Both are going to Edinburgh. The group also raised £1,046 at a quiz nigh towards the total needed of £2,500. “So we are nearly there, about £500 to go,” said Adrian.
He added: “I am astonished by the amount of support I have received. I thought the ride would get around £200/£300 but so far people from local choirs, friends who have seen shows and many people who were involved in it have donated.”
Norfolk Youth Music Theatre first performed The Battle of Boat at the Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich in November.
It is a new musical set in a seaside town on the English south coast in 1916. The carefree happiness of a group of young children is short-lived as they find themselves discovering more and more about the First World War that is unfolding around them.
It was written by Jenna Donnelly and Ethan Lewis Maltby, who have been writing together for several years, creating original cinematatic musicals.
Adrian, the former head of music at Broadland High School, started Norfolk YMT in 1995, seeing scores of youngsters getting the chance to perform well-known and more obscure musicals on stage. It’s now his 23rd year and he has directed more than 70 shows. He has been teaching piano privately since he was 19.
He said he enjoys cycling but said: “I like cycling along flats, rolling downhill and walking uphill. I take my bike to Derbyshire and do some tracks and also the bike will go to Edinburgh for some rides around North Berwick.”
As for training, he says: “Whichever way you leave Sheringham you start with an hour uphill. You’re knackered before you start!”
People can donate via JustGiving Crowdfunding Page at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/adrians-fundraising-cycle-ride. Also see more at www.norfolkymt.net.

 

Fundraising is a gift for Victoria

Aylsham High student Victoria Lloyd is forgoing presents for her 16th birthday to help a charity close to her heart.
She asked friends and family to donate to Pancreatic Cancer Research in memory of her grandad Richard Lloyd, who recently died.
“My grandad recently passed away from pancreatic cancer which was unfortunately discovered too late to treat,” she said. “This disease is so incredibly difficult to detect and I am trying to raise money so that other families and individuals do not have to experience the effects of this silent killer.”
On her birthday, Victoria, from Sloley, organised a charity netball game against the teachers.
“I’m proud to say that we got one person from nearly every department which was amazing to see. The game was extremely competitive which made it great fun for the students who watched but even though there were some losers not a single teacher left without a smile on their face.
“Many students and teachers turned up to watch and we raised a total of £128.68 in that one lunchtime.”
Victoria has set a target of £300 by her 16th birthday on May 2, saying: “This year I am asking those who know me to refrain from giving presents and donate to this cause instead.”
As well as the money from the match, she has collected £346 online through Just Giving.
She said: “I can honestly say that this has been the best birthday ever. There is no feeling quite like holding a microphone and speaking in front of all these students that have come to support me and my cause. I had such a close bond with my grandad and he always believed in me no matter what. I could never do as much for him as he did for me but this is a start.
“I would just like to thank everyone who got involved and participated including my sister Holly and my parents. It honestly means the world.”

Anyone who would like to help Victoria can visit her page on Just Giving.