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Stately event to boost funds

A music event in a north Norfolk stately home, raising funds for Sheringham Little Theatre, will be one of the first live events to return to the county.

The theatre cannot yet host full-scale events in its auditorium, but as lockdown eases it is promoting a pioneering outdoor performance mixing music, words and poetry in the walled garden at Mannington Hall on Saturday, August 22.

The world-renowned London Mozart Players will play classical music inspired by the experiences and emotions of four young performers during lockdown – ranging from family and separation to countryside and reflection – as well as positive lockdown stories submitted by the public.

One of the young actors, Jodie Weller, from North Walsham, said: “This will be an amazing experience – particularly being one of the first live performances in north Norfolk after a period which has seen, and continues to see, artistic venues and professionals struggling.

“It is wonderful to be raising money for the Little Theatre, which has been a big part of our lives, and to be bringing a live audience some joy.”

Jodie Weller, Tilda Fassih and Katie Thompson. Photo: Sheringham Little Theatre.

She will be joined by Tilda Fassih, from Sheringham; Katie Thompson, from Knapton; and Charlie Randall, from Aylsham, who are all in their 20s and will be curating and compering the community focused event.

During lockdown they have also been entertaining residents of local care homes with online singalongs – and on the morning of the concert will perform live outside two of the homes, with members of the London Mozart Players.

The London Mozart Players will be performing in the show. Photo: London Mozart Players

Theatre director Debbie Thompson said the event came about through Orchestras Live seeking a community-focused event for the London Mozart Players in north Norfolk, and the Little Theatre’s need for an outdoor fundraiser while the auditorium remained closed for live performances.

People buying tickets will be supporting the Little Theatre and freelance artists as they recover from the financial challenges of the covid-19 crisis. They will also get the chance to choose the event encore – after viewing two potential pieces via an online link.

Due to social distancing guidelines, there will be a limited numbers of tickets available for the 6pm-7.15pm show, which will also be recorded and available online for those who cannot attend.

Areas will be allocated for groups of up to six people. Visitors are asked to bring a travel rug, fold-up seats, and umbrellas in case of rain. There will be no interval.

Tickets are £12 for the live concert, and £6 for the recorded version. Afternoon tea boxes for two, with sandwiches, savouries, scones and cakes, costing £10 can also be ordered in advance. Audience members are welcome to arrive from 4.30pm to enjoy their food in the gardens before settling down for the performance.

If government guidelines change, preventing a live show, the concert will go ahead and be recorded. A 50pc refund would be available on tickets purchased for the live event on the basis that everyone would be able to watch the “virtual” version to support those involved.

For tickets, vistwww.sheringhamlittletheatre.com

Cyclist hurt in crash

Police are appealing for witnesses or dashcam footage after a cyclist was badly injured in a collision on Saturday, July 11, on the A148 near Aylmerton.

The collision happened at 4.35pm when a dark blue Peugeot 207 and a black bicycle were involved in a collision on Holt Road.

The road was closed and the cyclist was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital by air ambulance, where he remains in a critical condition.

If anyone witnessed the collision or the manner of driving or riding near to the time of the collision, please contact PC Aaron Duffy on 101 quoting incident reference NC-11072020-322.

Sing for your coffee…

Singers of all abilities are being invited to Sing Your Heart Out next week, to meet up with others online and enjoy a coffee and a singalong.

Sing Your Heart out (SYHO) is a Norfolk organisation which was formed in 2005 to bring the benfits of group singing to those struggling with mental heath issues.

The North group was launched in 2017 and draws singers from all round the north Norfolk area, with around 45 singers meeting at each workshop, which are usually held at the Lighthouse, Sheringham. 

Songs are taught by ear so there is no need to read music, and there are definitely no auditions

During Lockdown the group has been unable to meet and sing together but the multi talented music tutors have been uploading songs onto the website SYHO Singing workshops in Norfolk  

On July 20, the group will be trialling a new initiative with a Virtual Coffee Morning, with a song, from 10.30 to 11.30 am.

Jane Wells (music tutor) and Angela Mason outside the Lighthouse, Sheringham.

Details of how to participate are on the website and if everyone enjoys it, the trustees will look to ways of obtaining funding to host further coffee mornings.

The music director and her small team of professional music tutors are the only paid members of the organisation and all other work is done voluntarily.

Funding comes from donations by the singers and grants as the singing workshops are ‘free at source’.


Appeal gave railway a boost

The North Norfolk Railway is back up and running, and chairman Steve Allen has updated all the fans of the railway on how its emergency appeal has gone.

Thanking all those who had helped he said: “As of Wednesday we had received approximately £82,000 in donations and share purchases. There is also a further £3,500 pledged taking the total over £85,000, and funds are still coming in, albeit slower now.

“Added to this is the £46,000 lottery grant and the significant and timely £160,000 from the [M&GN Joint Railway] Society for rolling stock purchases, this makes the total just over £300,000. These funds have ensured the railway’s survival during this difficult time.

“The appeal will remain open as there is still a long way to go before we’re back to normal.”

Christmas treat will help ease disappointment

One of Europe’s most popular seasonal shows has been postponed – but while Christmas won’t be Christmas without it, the magic of the season will still be recreated to thrill visitors.

Continued uncertainty around live performances, the Thursford Christmas Spectacular has been postponed until 2021.

The Spectacular has entertained more than six million visitors of all ages from across the globe since opening its first Christmas Eve performance more than 40 years ago, becoming one of Europe’s biggest seasonal shows. The award-winning production, which would normally run from early November, employs around 360 dancers, singers, musicians, variety acts, technicians, wardrobe teams, ushers, caterers and production staff each year – and lots of work has already been put into this year’s event.

John Cushing, CEO, founder, producer and director, said: “This has been a heart-breaking time for me and my team at Thursford as it has been for so many. We have watched and waited, hoping for news and direction as to the implications for mass gatherings and live performances, which, in these uncertain times, remain unclarified at this time.

“We have spent the last few months working tirelessly towards the Christmas Spectacular show, hoping to continue our normal year’s schedule through to the autumn. However, following many hours discussing ways to achieve this, considering restrictions and safety measures, and with the concern for due care of our audience, cast and production team always being foremost in our minds, we felt that our only option was to postpone the show for this year.”

But while the Spectacular may be on pause, an enchanting new festive celebration will light up Thursford as an alternative Christmas treat.

Thursford’s Enchanted Journey of Light will be a magical walk-through experience for all ages running from November 19 until January 3. An all-new indoor Wonderland Trail: a maze of steam engines, fairy-tale characters and an immersive experience of light and sound including one of the UK’s biggest kinetic light displays, will lead to a four-acre Lantern Light Extravaganza: a beautiful, breath-taking outdoor installation of luminous sculptures, from a fantasy forest of jungle animals to the wilds of the North Pole.

Mr Cushing added: “Whilst we allow the cancellation of the Christmas Spectacular this year to sink in, we are delighted to welcome in the Enchanted Journey of Light as a magical festive alternative. The beautiful collection of lanterns will light up Thursford and brighten our hearts. We hope that visitors from far and wide will come and walk the Wonderland Trail with us and, in doing so, continue to support the local community, hotels, B&Bs, rental properties and hospitality venues throughout Norfolk.

“Christmas is a special time of hope, joy, sharing and caring, and after a year filled with uncertainty and loss it is more important than ever that we celebrate all that we are thankful for. We look forward to seeing Christmas Spectacular audiences return in 2021 and hope that many will also visit our Enchanted Journey of Light this year.”

Ticket holders for the 2020 Spectacular will be contacted by the bookings and reservations team or their point of purchase by mid-August 2020, offering the option of an automatic seat transfer to a new date in 2021 or to arrange refund.

Tickets for Thursford’s Enchanted Journey of Light will be £15 each (free for children under three), with time slots allocated from 3pm daily via the Thursford Box Office – www.thursford.com or 01328 878477.

Nothing remotely remote at SHS!

Andrew Richardson, headmaster at Sheringham High School, keeps us up to date with what’s happening at the school in his regular column

Everything about the covid crisis has been about distance. We must be physically apart; we might find ourselves emotionally apart; and we have been compelled to be educationally apart.

Recent press headlines and discussions have focused on the difficulties of engaging students without in-person contact. Some press reports have used statistics gathered in dubious ways to talk about the percentages of students who are actually working remotely. Indeed, a recent study by UCL has suggested that 20pc of students have done “little or no schoolwork” since lockdown.

Whatever the alleged national picture of student engagement in distanced learning, the crucial question that has emerged is: how do we engage learners when we are not together physically? It’s a complicated question and, as with most issues, there isn’t one solution, one style, or one computer program for increasing learner engagement and motivation.

But the answer, as with many things educational, seems to be what many of us call common sense!

Research seems to say that online teachers need to combine multiple strategies to reach learners and, unsurprisingly, they must be behavioural, cognitive and emotional. In short, teachers must set a variety of work. They must reply and feedback early and often, building relationships. There must be regular, simple parental feedback so that the carer knows what work is actually being submitted. There must be a caring ear and a personal call for students and parents.

Here, at Sheringham High and Sixth, we set work which can be done independently and in REAL households with all their individual restrictions such as connectivity issues and multiple use computers. We mark and feed back quickly. We track students fortnightly. Student managers and tutors ring home personally.

So, let me share our actual statistics since the closure on March 23 at Sheringham High, given that 20pc of students nationally seem not to have been engaged by their staff. On average, each of our students has completed 73pc of the work set on time. Only 0.4pc of students have completed no work since lockdown. More than one third of all our Year 7,8,9 and 10 students have submitted over 90pc of their work on time. A quarter have done ALL work set! Since March 23, our students have watched 7,033 podcasts on our GCSE Pod portal with usage doubling since last year.

Between March and June, 3,079 individual pieces of work have been set by our staff for Years 7-10 and 435 for Year 12. Over half of our sixth form students have completed 100pc of the work set.

If we believe what we are told about national statistics and the etymology of the word “remote” (to push away), what we have at Sheringham High and Sixth is an engaged, embraced learning community which is working well and bucking the national trend. Well done to students, parents, carers and staff.

Stay safe.

Jail for man who spat at police officer

A man has been jailed for six months after he assaulted two police officers in Sheringham.

;Dean Cope, aged 31, of Knights Green, Sheringham, appeared at Norwich Magistrates’ Court on July 10, where he pleaded guilty to assaulting an emergency worker.

It relates to an incident in Knights Green on July 9, when Cope assaulted one officer, causing a minor injury, and deliberately spat in the face of another.

Cope was sentenced to a total of six months in prison.

Sgt Toby Gosden said: “Assaulting emergency service workers in their duty is unacceptable at any time but clearly the public health crisis we currently find ourselves in makes it all the more abhorrent and unacceptable.

“I hope this sentence is a warning that incidents such as these against emergency workers will not be tolerated and we will take action where necessary.”

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 .