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‘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

Forage and glamp along North Norfolk coast

Fancy a nice meal or two, enhanced with a spot of foraging along the North Norfolk coast?

From June 15-17 and September 14-16, glamping company Margins has teamed up with chef and forager Simon Hunter Marsh (a local Norfolk Food Hero) and his partner Kate Anderson, to offer an opportunity for people to learn about and cook from nature’s bountiful pantry.

Gin Wilson-North, from Margins, said: “Everything will be set up ready to welcome you when you arrive in our fully-equipped safari style tents plus all meals are included, although you do have to find and forage most of the ingredients.”

Guests will walk from their camp at Stiffkey, foraging along the coastline and countryside in that area, learning what they can and can’t eat, what the health benefits are, how to prepare and cook foraged finds and ultimately sit down together to enjoy meals of local produce enhanced by foraged culinary delights, which will undoubtedly include samphire.

To find out more including cost and what is included go to www.walkandglamp.co.uk

 

 

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.

 

Go wild with TV’s Nick at Pensthorpe

TV presenter, author and naturalist Nick Baker is set to open The Pensthorpe Conservation Trust’s annual community event Wild About the Wensum on Saturday, May 12.

Intrepid explorer and natural history expert Nick, who has presented Weird Creatures (C5), The Really Wild Show (BBC One) and Springwatch Unsprung (BBC Two), will officially open the event, meet members of the public and host a bug hunt.

Wild About the Wensum, now in its 12th year, is a special one-day event held by the Pensthorpe Conservation Trust with the sole focus on encouraging people of all ages, especially families who often don’t get the chance to be outdoors, to enjoy the Wensum Valley, within which Pensthorpe Natural Park is located.

This year’s theme, Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow, takes a look at the plight of the hare in the English landscape and celebrates Norfolk as one of the last strongholds for hares in Britain.

Local wildlife groups and nature charities such as the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Wensum Alliance and Norfolk Bee Keepers Association will be in attendance plus there will be a special trail to follow and free hands-on nature activities to try.

Deb Jordan, co-owner of Pensthorpe Natural Park said: “We are thrilled that Nick Baker, someone as passionate about the natural world as we are, will be joining us for our community day. Nick shares our enthusiasm for re-engaging with nature and nothing encapsulates our desire to inspire our visitors more than Wild About the Wensum. We want to encourage all generations to get outdoors and embrace the delights of nature – it’s accessible to all!”

Nick said: “Pensthorpe not only boasts a fabulous location within Norfolk’s environment-rich Wensum Valley but it is a great example of an attraction with a cause – keen to do nothing more than encourage visitors to reconnect with the outdoors. It’s an ethos which is very close to my heart and I look forward to joining them and being part of the event.”

Nick will be hosting a meet and greet in the picnic area at 10am, officially open Wild About the Wensum at 11am, run an interactive bug hunt for children at 2pm, and at 3pm will host a book signing and talk entitled How to Make a Naturalist.

As part of his day at Pensthorpe, Nick will also be invited to judge an art and photography competition, which 39 local primary and junior schools have been invited to take part in.

As the event is aimed at families and those in the local community, Pensthorpe reduce admission prices to a nominal fee of £2 per person for tickets booked online in advance, and £3 per person on the day. Under 3’s are free. Please note there will be an additional charge to access indoor play area Hootz House.

To book tickets or for more information visit pensthorpe.com.

Pictures: PAUL CARTER and STEVE ADAMS

 

Residents urged to be vigilant after spate of burglaries

Police in North Norfolk and Broadland are urging residents to be vigilant after a spate of burglaries across the area recently.

18 burglaries have been reported since 31 January 2018 with properties being targeted in Wells, Holt, Little Barningham, Morston, Little Snoring, Sheringham, Ludham, Stalham, Potter Heigham, Foulsham, Aylsham, Acle, Halvergate and Woodbastwick.

Chief Inspector Wes Hornigold said: “We are investigating a number of burglaries which have taken place across the districts during the past two months and I am appealing for anyone with information to contact police.

“In some of these cases the premises have been left insecure, therefore I would urge residents to take some time to review their home security and take some simple steps to prevent them from becoming victims of crime. Many thieves are opportunistic, so please ensure your doors and windows are locked at all times – and if you go out, leave a light or radio on to give the impression someone is home.

“Also, if you are going away for the night, please ask a friend or neighbour to keep an eye on your property and consider using timers on lights.”

“If you see any suspicious activity in your area, please contact police on 101, paying particular attention to any unfamiliar vehicles and registration numbers; however; please call 999 if you believe a crime is in progress.”
Further home security advice includes:

• Remove window keys and keep them in a safe place. However, everyone should know where the keys are kept so they can escape in an emergency
• Fit five lever mortise deadlocks to all external doors to BS3621
• Fit multi-locking systems to patio doors or install mortise security bolts with removable keys at the top and bottom of both doors
• Considering fitting a letterbox cage or restrictor which prevents burglars from putting their hands or gadgets through the letter box and trying the latches from the inside.
• Never leave a spare key in a convenient hiding place such as under the doormat, burglars know all the usual hiding places
• Never leave your house or car keys in or near a door or window

How sister’s suicide ‘informed’ my work – Norman Lamb

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb was the latest person to be featured on The Backstory, a local podcast looking at the stories behind the news. He talked to Suzy Coulson about mental health and his own sister’s suicide in 2015.

Norman Lamb’s interest in mental health is well-known. “We all have mental health, we’re all on a continuum,” he explains.
As care minister in the coalition government he pushed for new standards in mental health care provision and has continued to keep mental health high on the agenda.

What’s less well-known is the personal experiences that have informed his work. “Informed but not formed”, as Norman explained to Suzy Coulson of The Backstory podcast.
The interest, it’s clear, was there already. Suzy was meeting Norman to find out more about what motivates his work and why he has chosen to be open about the mental health difficulties his own family have experienced.
“We’re all ultimately vulnerable, we’re fragile human beings and adversity can strike any of us at any moment,” he said.
Norman’s son, Archie, has suffered with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder since his teens. Now a successful music manager, having launched the career of grime artist Tinchy Stryder and collaborated with Jay Z, Archie has made a success of his life but there have been some dark times in which Norman and wife Mary found themselves negotiating the mental health system in a bid to get the right support for their son
“I remember the moment he said to me, ‘Dad why am I the only person going mad?’ For a parent to hear that, that’s quite hard.”
Then, in 2015, Norman’s sister Catherine killed herself after a period of severe depression.
He said: “Our family has gone through the trauma that very many families around our country experience with the loss of a loved one through suicide.”
Before any of this happened, Norman had already launched Zero Suicide Ambition, an initiative that strives to preotect every life.
“The evidence is there for how we can save lives but we’re not giving it enough priority. There’s nothing that’s more important than saving lives. The knock-on effect of a suicide is profound so it’s a really important objective.”

To hear the full interview with Norman Lamb, subscribe to The Backstory podcast with Claire Mutimer and Suzy Coulson on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. Full details can be found at thebackstorypodcast.co.uk. If you’ve got a backstory to tell, an experience that has shaped your life in some way, then Claire and Suzy would love to hear from you. Email hello@thebackstorypodcast.co.uk or call 07595 335855.