Search is on for young dancer to star in family show

The search is on for a local performer to join the cast of a laugh-a-minute family show featuring characters created by David Walliams.

The producers of Gangsta Granny, which comes to Norwich Theatre Royal on July 13-15, are looking for someone to play the role of Diane in the show opposite the professional cast.

The successful performer will have a short solo dance in the middle of the show as well as being part of the finale routine. They must be 16 years old in August this year but be able to play a character who is 11-12 years old.

The successful dancer will get a video link to learn the routine. They will not need to rehearse with the cast but will need to commit to each performance of the show in Norwich.

To apply for the role, just email and the production team will get back with more information.

Alison Fitzjohn, of Birmingham Stage Company which is producing the show, said: “It is a fun role to play. It will also be great for an up-and-coming dancer to have a show like this on their CV. Gangsta Granny is creating a buzz around the country and audiences are loving the chance to see this favourite book brought to life.”

The show itself tells the story of Ben who usually spends Friday evening with Granny eating cabbage soup, cabbage pie and cabbage cake. But his weekly visit gets much exciting when Granny reveals a secret which sees the pair of them embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

To book, log onto or call the box office on 01603 630000


CCTV images released following Sprowston theft

Police are appealing for help to identify a man and woman following an incident of theft which happened in Sprowston last month.

It occurred around 7.40pm on Monday 27 March 2017 where a 24 inch television has been stolen from the Co-op on Cannerby Lane.

Officers would like to speak with the man and woman captured in the CCTV images in connection with the incident.
Anyone who may recognise the man or woman, or anyone with information, should contact PC Sam Hales at Sprowston Police Station on 101.

Alternatively contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via their anonymous online form at

DJ Sara Cox joins the race on Ladies’ Night

Radio 2 and BBC TV presenter Sara Cox, a keen amateur horse rider as well as a professional DJ, is hosting a night of music at the seaside course’s July 19, Ladies’ Night.

Racecourse executive director Glenn Tubby said: “Ladies’ Night is always a special event in our summer calendar but Sara’s dance music will really be the icing on the cake. We are hoping fans of 80s music will turn out in force to enjoy their favourite sounds after an evening of racing action.”

Sara, a farmer’s daughter from Bolton, is well known for her festival DJ-ing as well as for her Sounds of the 80s show on BBC Radio 2 and also now for her live 24-hour danceathon which raised more than £800,000 for Comic Relief in March.

But she is also an equestrian sports fan. Sara has ridden in charity races at Goodwood and beat top jockey Frankie Dettori – a regular rider at Great Yarmouth – in a training ride ahead of the QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot.

Sara took part in a fun showjumping competition, Only Fools on Horses, for BBC Sport Relief in 2006. Now fully recovered, four years ago she broke a collar bone in a riding accident.

At Great Yarmouth Racecourse she will DJ after an evening of flat racing and play a set featuring dance-driven music ranging from the 80s up to today’s chart hits.

Sara said: “I’m really looking forward to my visit to Great Yarmouth racecourse. I’ll hopefully get to see some magnificent race horses before getting the Ladies’ Night crowd dancing with tracks from some of my favourite bands and artists from the 80s. Who doesn’t like 80s music? It was the soundtrack to my generation, with classic songs from music legends.”

Tickets and packages (£16-£34, with group discounts for 15 or more) and information available at or call 01493 842527.

Sprowston neighbours share postcode lottery win

Four Sprowston residents are celebrating thanks to their lucky postcode!

The Creance Road neighbours, who play with the postcode NR7 8JW, won People’s Postcode Lottery’s Street Prize on Sunday (2 April 2017).

Roger Barron, who plays with two tickets, couldn’t believe it when the team at People’s Postcode Lottery showed up to present him with his cheque for £60,000. “I was very surprised,” he said. “I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.”

Roger (76), a retired heating engineer, has three children and five grandchildren to treat with his winnings and is thinking of treating himself to a holiday.

“I usually go on holiday with my friend,” he said. “We both lost our wives at similar times and enjoy each other’s company. We’re off to Turkey this year but winning the money means I can plan something extra special for next year.”

Peter Longman (51) was equally shocked when he realised he had won £60,000 by playing with two tickets. “I’m delighted,” he said. “And my daughter was over the moon to meet Jeff Brazier!”

Peter, who works as a lorry driver, is looking forward to planning a trip with his two daughters and wife with his winnings.

Anne-Marie Pound was delighted with her £30,000 win. “This has come at such a perfect time,” she said. “My daughter Charlotte has just been accepted into Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts and I was worried about affording the fees – I don’t have to panic now.”

It really is life-changing for me. It’d been a pipe dream for a while to visit Australia to visit my uncles and cousins who I haven’t seen for over 20 years,” she said. “Now I’m planning the trip for Christmas with my son and daughter.”

And finally, Margaret Shergold was thrilled with her £30,000 cheque. “We have our golden wedding next year so we’ll plan a big holiday,” she said. “It’s great that so much money goes to good causes from playing.”

Jeff Brazier, People’s Postcode Lottery Ambassador, said: “We had a really fun day meeting Peter, Roger, Anne-Marie and Margaret and surprising them with their winnings. For a chance to have me knocking at your door, sign up today!”

A minimum of 30% of ticket sales goes directly to charities and players of People’s Postcode Lottery have raised more than £182 million to date for good causes across Great Britain and internationally.

A project near the winners that has received support from players is The Bramerton Society, which was awarded £1,169 last year for the Bramerton Community Orchard.

Margaret Shergold was shocked with her £30,000 win

People’s Postcode Lottery Ambassador Jeff Brazier with winner Anne-Marie Pound

Peter Longman celebrates with Jeff Brazier

Roger Barron with his winning cheque

The Creance Road winners with their cheques

Hellesdon and Sprowston among most desirable places to live

If you live or work in Hellesdon or parts of Sprowston then you should be the envy of the rest of the country, according to a study by Royal Mail to identify the most desirable places to live and work in England based on postcode.

The findings were released on the last day of February and highlight the NR6 postcode as the second most desirable place to live and work in England, behind CH63, Bebington, Wirral.

The study, which was undertaken by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), looked back at the past two years and calculated the most desirable areas based on a range of factors including good schools, access to green spaces, good employment prospects, working hours, affordable housing and average commuting times.

The research was conducted by reviewing a number of data sources at the local level, including the 2011 Census, the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Indices of Multiple Deprivation, General Land Use database and numerous releases from the Office for National Statistics.

The inclusion of NR6 in Norwich leads an increase in the number of areas in the south included in the top ten. In 2015, there were just three postcodes from the south compared to six this year. Good local schools and lower unemployment helped facilitate the change.

Hellesdon Parish Council chairman Shelagh Gurney said: “Whilst it is undoubtedly flattering to be rated so highly in this study, it is a testament to the tireless work of civic, community leaders and groups, and the residents of Hellesdon as a whole that this has been achieved. However, it comes with a price. As soon as a community becomes desirable to live in, for all the right reasons, housing prices escalate and consequently affects the opportunity for first time home buyers to afford to live in Hellesdon.

“Hellesdon has many desirable qualities as mentioned in the report, but we should not become complacent about the need to continuously improve services and the environments for our residents. Schools are very good, with high levels of achievement. Community facilities are good, but I know that residents want better recreational opportunities which other areas already offer, such as sports halls and running tracks.

“Shops are varied and offer good service levels to support our community. There are also many small businesses which offer high stands of service to our residents.

“Employment statistically is very high. Home ownership is at a high level, but Hellesdon does need more social housing to cater for growth. The loss of the green open space of the golf club, although not publicly accessible, will, in my view, have a detrimental effect on our community, and although we will eventually see the build of 1,000 new homes, this will come with consequences which many will perceive as most undesirable, such as more traffic and more stress on our community services.

“As a councillor I am conscious of the need to maintain and enhance the parish in which I work and live, but clearly this is not sustainable without the dedicated support, devotion and efforts of the people who work and live in my community, so in essence this accolade is a delightful recognition of the community spirit which dwells in the heart of our parish of Hellesdon.”

Top ten most desirable places to live in England:
1. CH63 – Bebington, Wirral
2. NR6 – North and North West Norwich
3. BH18 – Broadstone, Bournemouth
4. M33 – Sale, Greater Manchester
5. PO32 – East Cowes, Isle of Wight
6. SO53 – Eastleigh, Hampshire
7. IP5 – Ipswich, Suffolk
8. LS18 – Horsforth, Leeds
9. S18 – Dronfield, North East Derbyshire
10. RG6 – Earley, Reading

GREEN SPACE: Mountfield Park in Hellesdon.

GREEN SPACE: Harrison’s Wood in Sprowston.

Hellesdon Parish Council chairman Shelagh Gurney.

Even a skip is getting involved in World Book Day!

A skip with a difference is hitting the streets of Norfolk and Suffolk this week to celebrate World Book Day.

Great Yarmouth skip company WT Skip Hire has created a landscape on the side of a skip featuring characters from 20 pieces of children’s literature. The work was created by celebrated Norfolk artist Mik Richardson and customers booking a skip through the company may find it soon arrives on their drive!

The skip was unveiled at Sparhawk Infant and Nursery School, Sprowston, this morning. Following an assembly with Mik, children were able to see the skip and identify as many of the characters as they could. Children at the school are also decorating the other side of the skip with their hand prints.

The exhibit is part of a week-long set of activities being organised by the school to celebrate World Book Day, which is officially March 2nd.

WT Skip Hire director Gary Thurtle says: “World Book Day is an inspirational idea and really gets children engaged in literature at an early age. Mik’s work is a joy to look at, and we thought it would be a great way to connect Mik’s imagination with the imagination of local children.

“Once it is completed the skip will be put to work, so will be a mobile piece of art for people across Norfolk and Suffolk to marvel at.”

Emma Davies, headteacher at Sparhawk Infant and Nursery School, says: “Sparhawk are very excited to be part of this fantastic project. We are already preparing for an exciting action packed week- from hidden book tokens in the library to creating a whole school story. Having an illustrator like Mik will spark children’s imaginations and offer inspiration to all.”

The creation is the sixth between WT Skip Hire and Mik Richardson. Previous work has been done live on Great Yarmouth seafront and at the Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival.

WT Skip Hire provides domestic and commercial skips across Norfolk and Suffolk.

Sprowston teachers go the extra mile – vertically!

Two brave teachers from Sparhawk Infant and Nursery School will be swapping play parachutes for the real thing next month when they take part in an annual skydive fundraiser for Leeway, a local charity which supports families who have experienced domestic abuse.
The challenge was made by new headteacher Emma Davies, and Devon Ainley and Ben Wilson jumped at the idea.
Mrs Davies, who has been assistant headteacher at Sparhawk since 2015 and took over from former headteacher Priscilla Crane in January, said: “Leeway is a local charity that deals with taboo issues and I felt raising awareness of this superb charity would help break down some of the barriers. So within my first week of becoming headteacher of Sparhawk I sent an email to all staff and asked who would be interested. You can imagine their reactions.”
But Ben and Devon were willing to take up the challenge and the whole school is now behind them in their efforts to raise £600.
“I am always proud of these two young men. They are an asset to the Sparkhawk team and we are very lucky to have them,” said Mrs Davies.
“When they both agreed to do the jump, it didn’t surprise me! That’s the type of men they are – always thinking of others and going that extra mile – only this time vertically!
“The children are all very excited and we have invited them to come and watch the event. I will be there, feet firmly on the ground, waiting for Ben and Devon to land.”
The skydive will take place on March 19 at Beccles Airfield and follows last year’s successful event, when 22 people jumped from a plane at 13,000ft to fundraise for Leeway. The charity supported more than 8,000 people suffering from domestic abuse in 2015/16 and the money raised from the skydive will help Leeway to meet increasing demand for its services.
And Devon and Ben are holding on to this thought to get them through the nerves.
Devon said: “I’m feeling a mixture of nerves and excitement. The charity does such great work for our local community and I am proud to be a part of it.
Ben added: “I’ve always had this on my bucket list, so when the opportunity came along for such a great local charity I couldn’t say no.”
Mandy Proctor, CEO of Leeway, said: “It is great to have a local school supporting us too, sending out a strong message against domestic abuse.”
Leeway is looking for more jumpers to take part in this year’s event. It’s a fun and breath-taking experience and it costs just £50 deposit to secure your place – but if you raise at least £300 of sponsorship you will get your skydive for free.
If you’re interested in signing up for the skydive, go to or call 01502 476131.
You can support Ben and Devon by attending their fundraising quiz night on March 3. It costs £5 per person to enter and you can have a maximum of six people per team. Speak to Sally in the school office on 01603 406406. Alternatively, you can sponsor them at

Sparhawk Infant and Nursery School teachers Devon Ainley (right) and Ben Wilson will be doing a skydive for domestic abuse charity Leeway in March. PICTURE: WIRELOOSE PIX PHOTOGRAPHY

Pupils at Sparhawk Infant and Nursery School are excited about two of their teachers doing a charity skydive in March.

Shocking dash cam footage of Sprowston head-on crash revealed

The benefits of installing dash cams were highlighted recently when footage of a head-on collision on Blue Boar Lane was released by dash cam manufacturer Nextbase.
The crash took place last July and was captured by Steven Jefferson’s dash cam, which he’d installed to protect his brand new Honda CR-V.
“We were returning home from a trip out and had just passed the garden centre on Blue Boar Lane,” said Steven, who lives in Old Catton and was travelling in the car with his wife Helen. “A small group of cars led by a silver Vauxhall Corsa was passing the apex of the bend by the entrance to Sprowston Sports and Social Club, but instead of straightening out the Corsa ran onto to our side of the road and collided with us.
“There was no time to react at all. The wide angle lens on the dash cam makes the distance between us look more than it actually was. As the Corsa hit us there was a loud bang and the airbags went off as well as breaking the dash cam mount. The combined speed of the collision was probably around 60mph and our car was pushed off the road.
“It took a while for what had happened to sink in. My wife and I were shocked by the impact and being restrained by our seatbelts.”
Thankfully, Steven and Helen were able to walk out of the car unaided. However, the occupants of the other car weren’t so lucky and had to be cut out.
While waiting for an ambulance, trained first aiders from Sprowston Sports and Social Club helped get the couple sat down and kept Steven’s head still.
“When we were seen at hospital my wife was found to have multiple tiny crack fractures of her breast bone and I had soft tissue injuries affecting my neck, chest and left leg,” said Steven. “Both our injuries were expected to resolve with time and have done so.
“Afterwards we heard that both people in the other car suffered injuries such as broken bones. We had three ambulances, two fire trucks and a number of police cars attend the scene. The road must have been closed at least an hour as both cars had to be towed away.”
Shortly after the incident, the police recovered Steven’s footage for evidence purposes. The following week a copy of the footage was sent to both Steven’s hire company and his insurers.
“Thanks to the footage the car hire company agreed I was not at fault and so did my insurer,” said Steven. “The Corsa owner’s insurer admitted liability without any further investigation or delay. Without dash cam evidence there would have been a serious delay in establishing liability and loss of no claims bonus as the other party was contesting what happened.
“My policy included entitlement to a hire car, and legal support to recover the excess and other losses including travel costs, mileage and care and assistance amongst other options I had added to the policy. If liability had not been admitted by the other party’s insurers I may not have been able to recover these costs.”
The Corsa driver had no recollection of the event and later surrendered his driving licence. The police will be taking no further action.
Richard Browning, director at Nextbase, said: “Unfortunately, accidents like this happen all the time in the UK and are obviously incredibly stressful for all involved. In Steven’s case, his dash cam footage helped to speed up the claim process with his insurer as well as proving his innocence.
“In an instance where the other party does not have recollection of the event, video footage becomes a crucial piece of evidence – without a dash cam this may well have ended up a split liability settlement.”
Needless to say, Steven has installed dash cams in his new car. “I’d recommend dash cams to everyone,” said Steven, “but it must be remembered that your misdemeanours will also be recorded, so it works both ways.”
He also added: “I would like to thank those who helped us from Sprowston Sports and Social Club and anyone else who helped.”
For more information about dash cams visit

Steven and Helen Jefferson. Picture: Li Dawson

Picture: Nextbase