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REVIEW: Wizard of Oz, Sheringham Little Theatre

It’s panto time at Sheringham Little Theatre and its a real cracker of a show oh yes it is!

The season opened with a matinee on Saturday, December 9. The audience in the packed theatre was whisked away by a tornado from Kansas to the Emerald City in the land of Oz and back again.

The opening sequence where Dorothy (Hana Stewart) and Toto her little dog are whisked away from the farm on the oncoming gathering tornado made a  spectacular scene.

It’s a fast-moving show with plenty of great audience participation throughout and the story was easy to follow for all the children in the audience.

Loraine Metcalfe was a deliciously wicked witch of the west and was boo’d every time she made an appearance. There was also Glinda the witch of the north (Shane Armstrong), who was good and kind to Dorothy. Three great favourites with the audience are the Scarecrow, Lion, and at the Tin Man. Scarecrow was funny and loveable, played with great talent by Harry Williams, his companions along the Yellow Brick Road, the romantic Tin Man (Kyle Fraser) and courageous Lion with a very long tail (Rik Warren), all had the audience enthralled as they went on their journey to find what they were all seeking.

It’s a truly fantastic show and has a lovely leading lady with a beautiful singing voice, great music and young dancers. It all goes to make the best start to the Christmas season. OH YES IT DOES.

“It’s magic,” said Finley, aged 10 years . “Really great,” added said Dylan aged seven. The best ever, say us and well done SLT,  you have done it again. Wonderful.

Kevin and Sandra Stone plus Finley and Dylan

Lions and Tigers aboard RNLI Sheringham Lifeboat

British Lions, England and Leicester Tigers brothers Tom and Ben Youngs have been made honorary members of RNLI Sheringham’s Lifeboat Crew.

Branch chairman Phil Hawes explains: ‘Tom and Ben grew up in North Norfolk and spent their summers on the beach at Sheringham. They’ve grown into exceptional men who through their sport display brilliantly all the qualities we look for in our lifeboat crew – dedicated, hard-working team players who daily strive to be the very best in a physically and mentally tough environment. However it is not only their skills and achievements that impress, it is their humility, honesty and integrity; the way they carry themselves, deal with life’s challenges and treat others. Tom and Ben are tremendous role models and we want to recognise that.”

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Sheringham RNLI. Phil said: “We are an incredibly proud community and have been celebrating our heritage and those who have gone before us. Never before has anyone been offered honorary membership of the Sheringham Lifeboat Crew. We are delighted both Tom and Ben have accepted.”

The RNLI exists to save lives from drowning. Not only are the Sheringham crew, and station on alert every day of the year to launch the lifeboat but in the last year, through visits, the organisation has educated more than 1,000 young people on how to stay safe by the sea and in the water.

The autumn is a busy time for the Youngs boys. Tom is captain of Leicester Tigers leading them in the RFU Premiership and European competitions and Ben, in addition to these, is in the England squad for the autumn internationals.

Travel agents launch fifth annual gift appeal in aid of Break charity

Hays Travel, in Aylsham and Sheringham, has launched its fifth annual Santa’s Sleigh appeal to spread cheer and change the lives of vulnerable children and young people this Christmas.

The team is asking people to pop into either branch and donate new, unwrapped items such as toys, gift sets, toiletries, household goods, stationery items or books in aid of the children and families that Norfolk-based charity Break supports throughout East Anglia.

Break supports young people in care, children with disabilities and families who need support, helping them through difficult times and securing a brighter future.

Branch manager of Hays Travel Aylsham (former CAS Travel) and initiator of the appeal Jo Dobbie said: “I like to be involved with the local community and there is nothing better than supporting a local charity especially in the festive season. I absolutely love Break’s ethos and this is a great opportunity for us to show support.

“I initially started Santa’s Sleigh at the Aylsham branch, and then got Sheringham on board with it too. It created bigger awareness for ourselves and for the appeal and we’re pleased to say they will be joining us again this year.”

Danielle Gravestock, senior fundraising officer for Break, said: “We can’t thank Hays Travel enough for the support they give us each year by organising their Santa’s Sleigh appeal.  We are very grateful to all their staff for organising the appeal and everyone who is contributing goods to support it. These gifts really do make a difference to the children and young people we support.”

Santa’s Sleigh started on Saturday and will run for four consecutive weeks until December 9.

Pictured are branch manager Jo Dobbie, Sam Antoniades-Cork, Mark Heffer and Karen Ashford.

 

Multi-million pound investment in sport for North Norfolk

A £12.6 million investment in state-of-the-art sporting facilities in North Norfolk will go before councillors next week.

The multi-million pound investment would see a £10 million new leisure centre with a swimming pool at the Splash site in Sheringham and a £2.6 million indoor tennis centre with gym at a new North Norfolk Community Sports Hub in Cromer, with satellite tennis facilities across the district at Fakenham, Wells and North Walsham.

The proposals will be considered at the council’s overview and scrutiny meeting next Wednesday. The reports will then go to Cabinet on December 4. If the proposals are supported they will go to full council on December 19 for the funding to be agreed.

Tom FitzPatrick, leader of North Norfolk District Council, said: “We know that keeping fit and active is important for residents. These ambitious plans would see a £12.6 million investment in sport and active leisure; that’s a wise investment for the Council as well as good news for the community who will benefit from better sports facilities.”

The North Norfolk Community Sports Hub would be created in partnership with Cromer Academy and part-grant funded by the Lawn Tennis association (LTA) and should be built by mid-2019 if councillors approve the proposals.

The new facility will include:

  • Three indoor tennis courts
  • Changing rooms
  • Toilets
  • Reception area
  • New bar/lounge and viewing gallery
  • 20 station-gym with an area for free weights and fitness
  • Studio space for fitness classes

In addition, a grant from the Lawn Tennis Association will provide for improved tennis facilities across the district, to drive up participation.

Building costs are estimated to be £2.6m for a ‘framed fabric’ indoor tennis facility or nearly £4 million for a traditional built facility.

Nick Amis, chairman of Cromer Lawn Tennis and Squash Association, said: “It has always been my aim to increase the sporting facilities at our club and we have been fortunate to have received support for very many years from NNDC in various forms. This project will enable us to increase our already well established coaching programme for 140+ juniors. We will be able to accommodate all ages and abilities in the new facility, bringing in other local clubs to use the new indoor courts and keeping fitness levels up, which is a key part of the NNDC plan for healthy living.”

Cromer Academy principal Dr Geoff Baker said: “These are fantastic and creative proposals that will make a lasting difference both to our pupils and the wider community.

“Sport is already a really important part of life at Cromer Academy and this investment will give our young people even more opportunities to take part both as individual players and in teams, and develop key social and leadership skills.”

The feasibility study for the replacement of the Splash Leisure and Fitness Centre in Sheringham considered three options: refurbishment of the existing site; a new build and a new build plus a health spa facility.  The new build option was by far the best value and will be taken forward if the proposal is approved by councillors.

It is recommending that a new leisure centre with a swimming pool is built on the site, partly funded by the sale of land for a hotel development.

The new build option, without the health spa, would see:

  • A £10 million investment in a new leisure and fitness centre
  • A 25m six lane pool
  • A learner pool
  • A splash pad/ fun water
  • A 50 station gym health and fitness suite
  • One large dividable studio
  • A spin studio
  • Two treatment rooms
  • A café

The study estimates that the new leisure centre will take around two years to complete and be open to the public from October 2020. Splash will continue to be open as usual to customers and members while future investment plans are considered by the authority.

PICTURE: CHRIS TAYLOR PHOTO

REVIEW: Farndale at Sheringham

The first night of the Cromer and Sheringham Operatic and Dramatic Society (CSODS) production of We Found Love and an Exquisite Set of Porcelain Figurines Aboard the SS Farndale avenue showed off the company’s great talent.

To deliberately act badly requires a great skill which the members of CSODS managed to pull off well, although there was now and again times where the acting seemed to lose direction.

The play, by David McGillivray and Walter Zerlin Jn, is one of a series of comedy-farce plays featuring the exploits of a group of members of an amateur dramatic society and their ventures into the world of the thirties musical comedy.

The three ladies of the Farnsdale Townswomens Guild Dramatic Society, played by CSODS members Chrissie Robertson, Nona Gray, Kerry Davis and also including the very funny Nick Bird, attempt to bring the elegance, glamour and enchantment of a thirties musical to the stage.

This is a riot of a performance – collapsing scenery, a man cast as a woman, a woman cast as a man, romantic interludes between unlikely couples, a sea captain with a full beard wearing a skirt and heels, a very questionable underwater sequence and shipwreck on a tropical island. The ladies of the Farndale Avenue Dramatic Society certainly carry on regardless and rise above the terrible acting and dubious scenery to bring the thirties back to the stage.

Once again a good performance by CSODS at Sheringham Little Theatre.

Kevin and Sandra Stone

Hotel may help pay for new Sheringham Splash

North Norfolk District Council has today, October 25, announced that a multi-million pound investment in council leisure facilities at Sheringham could be on its way, partly paid for by a new hotel.

Part of the land around Splash will be made available this week for a hotel development on the site.

The potential sale of the site would help to pay for an improved leisure centre at Splash, which is now almost 30 years old.

Marketing part of the three acre site will be carried out by commercial property experts, Pygott and Crone, on behalf of the site owners, North Norfolk District Council, with a range of options available for the exact positioning of the hotel on the site. Any funds from a hotel will be directly used to part fund the new leisure centre.

A feasibility study on the future leisure centre – either a refurbishment or a new build – is due to go to North Norfolk District Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the 8th November.

The study was commissioned over the summer, following the Council’s Cabinet decision in June setting out the Council’s proposed options for new sports facilities.

Splash will continue to be open as usual to customers and members while future investment plans are considered by the authority.

Councillor Tom FitzPatrick, leader of North Norfolk District Council said: “This is an imaginative proposal and one that would see the local authority invest in future sporting facilities and build the area’s reputation as a centre of sporting excellence.

Councillor Judy Oliver, cabinet member for asset commercialisation and a Sheringham (South) ward member said: “This is at an early stage and it shows the potential of the scheme to generate improved facilities for local people while safeguarding facilities for our ever increasing number of visitors. We are committed to keeping all the current leisure facilities – the leisure centre and skate park – on the site.”

Councillor Maggie Prior, cabinet member for health and wellbeing added: “Keeping fit and active is vital and we know that funding new sporting centres is often beyond the resources of local authorities. By taking this approach we will be able to see whether the new sporting centre could be partly paid for by a hotel in Sheringham. It’s a clear opportunity to improve facilities for all.”

Councillor Brian Hannah, member for Sheringham North, said: “I’m very pleased to support the continuation of sports facilities on this site, sport and fitness is of huge importance to all ages in this community.”

Key facts:

  • 168,000 customers visited Splash last year (2016)
  • Splash was opened in May 1988 by HRH Diana, Princess of Wales
  • It currently offers a gym with 28 stations, 2 dance studios, 1 badminton court plus a leisure pool

The council’s 2015 Indoor Leisure Facilities Strategy recommended that the Sheringham facility was protected – either by a new facility or modernisation.

The proposal has been drawn up to guarantee the ongoing provision of the Sheringham Skate Park and Sheringham Sporting Association’s football and cricket facilities on the current and adjacent sites.

Following consideration of the report by Overview and Scrutiny, it is likely that the council’s cabinet will consider a full business case for the proposal at its meeting on the  December 4 2017 and if necessary, any Ccouncil budget decision will then go to the  December 19 Full Council meeting.

In addition, the council is about to test the market for a new leisure and pool operator to take on the Council’s Leisure Contract which is due for renewal on  March 31 2019.

The current contract covers Fakenham Sports and Fitness, Splash Leisure and Fitness in Sheringham and Victory Swim and Fitness Centre in North Walsham and the procurement process will run at the same time as any improvements to the Sheringham site.

Leisure facts:

  • All three leisure centres are highly successful with 462,000 visits in 2016/17
  • People for Places runs the current Council’s Leisure Contract

Spooky talk and musical at haunted seaside theatre

A theatre which has a resident ghost is hosting a spooky “fight night” on Halloween.

Reports of a mystery figure in the auditorium at Sheringham Little Theatre stretch back decades.

And on Tuesday, October 31, local actor, storyteller, writer and ghost walk host Steve Banks will be exploring local spooky stories, myths, mysteries and legends.

Steve, who also works in the theatre box office, said: “The show will explore our fascination with the paranormal, all things ghostly and things that go bump in the night.

“We’ll be looking at famous unexplained mysteries, famous encounters with the spirit world as well as some local stories that people may not have heard before.  It’s going to be great fun, but don’t get too comfortable…there could be a sting in the tail.”

The show is suitable for those aged 14 and over and is not for the faint-hearted.

Young people can also create and star in their own spooky show through a Halloween Musical Theatre Course the previous week.

The venue’s regular panto choreographer Vicky Feetham is running an intensive three-day course for eight to 18 year olds running from tomorrow (October 25) to Friday (October 27), culminating in a show at 6pm on the Friday.

For tickets and more information contact the Sheringham Little Theatre box office on 01263 822347 or www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com

Steve Banks

 

One-off chance to cycle un-opened NDR

For one day only, cyclists are being invited to explore the westernmost sections of the A1270 Norwich Northern Distributor Road before they are opened to traffic.

The new dual carriageway is nearing completion between the A1067 Fakenham Road and the Drayton Lane roundabout, and these stretches will be open to cyclists from 10am to 4pm on Sunday  October 29 as part of the Norfolk Walking and Cycling Festival. These sections of road, and Drayton Lane to A140 Cromer Road, are expected to be opened to traffic in November, provided good progress is maintained on the major A1270/A140 junction.

Martin Wilby, chairman of Norfolk County Council’s environment, development and transport committee, said: “We are very pleased to give local people a chance to see the road before it’s open to general traffic, and to explore the new cycle-ways and links to Marriott’s Way and communities such as Horsford and Thorpe Marriott.

“This will be a one-off opportunity to ride on a traffic-free main carriageway, but maintaining and improving permanent cycle links is an essential part of the project. Once the whole NDR is finished, it will still be possible to use new and existing paths and quiet lanes to get from Fakenham Road to Postwick without setting foot or bicycle wheel on the road itself.”

Volunteers from main contractor Balfour Beatty, and from Norfolk County Council’s NDR and  ‘Pushing Ahead’  teams will be joined by others to provide supervision at key locations, including the Fir Covert Road and Reepham Road roundabouts, where cyclists will have to crossing live traffic.

John Birchall, NDR public liaison officer, said there had been many requests to run or cycle on the main carriageway before it opens to vehicles. “The 29th is primarily a family cycling event, and explorers will be able to decide for themselves how much of the three miles of dual carriageway or connected paths they ride. We are aiming to focus on runners when the last sections of the route, north of Postwick, are nearing completion next spring.”

Access on and off the NDR itself will be at the Fakenham Road, Fir Covert Road, Reepham Road and Drayton Lane roundabouts, but people coming from further afield will be able to park at the site compound off New Drayton Lane (NR10 3AN). Marriott’s Way also connects to the new cycle paths along the NDR, but is less suitable for road bikes. A leaflet and plan can be downloaded from the Pushing Ahead website.

 Photo: Pashley