Charity starts at the Brickies

The Brickmakers pub has had a busy year with several charity events netting cash for some good causes.

And landlady Claire Brooks said she was grateful to everyone, locals and visitors, for their help in making things such a success.

“We’ve just had another great event here with our Bike Show. The car park front and back was full, and the garden, too!” she said.

“It’s amazing. We’ve been here only eight months and we’ve raised nearly £15,000 for charity.

“We have such lovely customers plus the bands and the promoters that have helped us achieve this.

“As well as our usual events we’re looking forward to our next all-day event – Pork Fest 2, on Saturday, October 7.”

Amounts raised so far at the pub this year include:

Easter Charity Day

It’s On the Ball Testicular Cancer £1,265

Keeping Abreast £1,265

Diabetes Punk Weekend


Bike Show

National Association for Bikers with Disabilities £325

Kayla’s Appeal


Future Fest Future Projects £4,500

Pork Fest 1

Cancer Research UK £1,317.50

Norfolk SEN Network £1,044.95

Brick Fest

£1,200 towards a defibrillator plus £1,024 to the Norfolk Accident Rescue Service

Soprano takes centre stage

A Wroxham-based soprano will be taking centre stage at a special concert in Norwich at the weekend.

Katalin Prentice will be the soloist with the Pakefield singers when they present Glory and Grandeur, a concert for organs and choir, and featuring anthems including Mendelssohn’s Hear My Prayer and Buxtehude’s Toccata in F as well as works by Mozart and Mascagni.

“I feel honoured to be invited to sing the soprano solos with the Pakefield Singers under the direction of conductor Vetta Wise and to be a part of this truly magnificent musical project,” said Katalin, who is Hungarian and has lived in the UK for 11 years and in Wroxham since 2015.

A dentist by profession, she stopped working when pregnant with her first daughter – she now has two – and said classical music and singing has always been her passion.

“Shortly after I moved to the United Kingdom I started vocal training with Nan Christie in London, and soon after relocating to Norfolk I met my lovely singing teacher, Vetta Wise, who has been guiding me on my musical journey ever since,” she said. “With her help and support in 2017 I completed the one-year opera course at the Associated Studios Performing Arts Academy in London, gaining a diploma in opera singing. In 2019 I finished my Trinity College ATCL Performers diploma with distinction.”

Complications with both her pregnancies took their toll and she said it has taken her a while to retrain her voice, but she has now been chosen for this important role at St Peter Mancroft on Saturday night.

She also recently took part in two international competitions, winning an honourable mention at Odin International Music Competition and the Grand Prix at the Alpin Triglav 2021 International Music, Dance and Fine Art Competition.

“As a result of winning the competition in July 2022 I performed at the prize winners’ gala concert in one of Europe’s most prestigious concert halls, the Crystal Hall in Rogaška Slatina (Slovenia) representing the United Kingdom,” said Katalin.

The concert is at 7pm and tickets are £12.50, under-16s free. Tickets can be bought on the door or from

Nurseries make the grade

Two of the four nursery schools run by Once Upon a Time in Sprowston have received national recognition for going above and beyond the minimum requirements in paediatric first aid.

The nursery schools – on Wroxham Road and White House Farm – have both been awarded Millie’s Mark by the National Day Nurseries Association. This is run in collaboration with the Department for Education and Millie’s Trust.

Becky Potter, nursery manager at the Wroxham Road nursery, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have been awarded Millie’s Mark at two of our nursery schools. It is an exceptional achievement for a childcare setting.

“Only a few nurseries in Norwich have been accredited with this award. It means our staff are committed to maintaining high first-aid standards and reassures parents that their children are safe while in our care.”

Millie’s Mark is named after Millie Thompson, who died after choking in a nursery in 2012.

Her parents, Dan and Joanne, have campaigned for many years for all nursery school staff to have paediatric first-aid training.

Millie’s Mark goes one step further, as it demonstrates that nurseries have not only met this as a minimum requirement, they also work hard to keep these crucial skills in the forefront of employees’ minds. This means they remain competent and can apply paediatric first aid in any situation.

Becky added: “Our other two settings are also on track to accomplish the same award later this year.”

Enjoy a dog day afternoon

May 1 will be a BARK holiday this year as pooches will be going on parade at the Overstrand Fun Dog Show.

It’s time to dust off your best collar and put your best paw forward for the highlight of the north Norfolk canine calendar.

Each year more people and their dogs arrive at the Sea Marge Hotel for 12 classes including waggiest tail, look-alike, best rescue, and scruffiest/fluffiest. The Best Village Dog wins the Mickey Sewell Perpetual Cup, named after the show’s original organiser.

Contestants from last year’s show.

There’s also an agility course, stalls, a raffle and cakes and the hotel bar and restaurant will be open.

Dog show regular and helper Paul Cullen said: “It’s a fabulous day out for both dogs and their owners. It’s not Crufts but the competition is fierce. Last year, there were more than 170 dogs and the event raised £1,100 for the village.

“Everyone is welcome to attend: mutts, mongrels, pups, hounds, and pedigrees. You can also bring your dog.”

Classes include a lookalike competition.

The show was started in 2015 by villager Mickey Sewell in collaboration with Overstrand Together, which helps organise events and activities in the village.

Registration starts at 1pm, with the first class at 2pm. General admission is free and each class costs £1 to enter.

Event organiser Bruce Stratton said: “This is great day out for all the family and lots of fun for everyone. All money raised goes back into the Overstrand Together village fund. We hope to see lots of wonderful dogs and their owners here for the Bank Holiday.”

Now Louisa can put her feet up

Marathon mum Louisa Dye has finished her 500-mile charity walk – smashing her target and even managing a bit of a boogie to celebrate.

Louisa set off to walk 500 miles in March to raise money for the oncology unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in memory of her parents, Christine and Stuart Clarke, who both died from cancer.

And she said she was delighted at having completed her challenge.

“I partied the night away last night,” she said on the morning after she took her trainers off for the last time.

“I even managed to wear heels for two hours before moving into flip-flops!”

Sponsorship and donations from strangers she met during her walk – the equivalent of a marathon almost every day – means she has raised nearly £7,500 but she is keeping her Just Giving page open until May 1 for anyone inspired by her story.

Her own inspiration came from her favourite song – I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – by The Proclaimers, who sent her a message to get her on her way.

During the walk she was joined by her dog, Stanley, husband Roger and children Emily and Henry as well as friends, family and children from Langley Prep School, who turned out for one of the stretches.

And although she will be enjoying a well-earned rest, the 44-year-old said there was lots to keep her busy in April.

“We have a house full of birthdays this month,” she said. “There’s never a dull moment.”

To donate, visit

New training centre will help county build for the future

A new centre to train people for work in the construction section has been officially opened in Hellesdon.
The Norfolk Adult Learning Training Centre is based at the Hellesdon Hall Industrial Estate and has been developed in response to an increased demand in the county.

Adult Learning submitted a successful bid to the Community Renewal Fund and secured £568,000 to develop a sustainable construction curriculum and two new construction training centres for adult learners in the county.

Cllr Margaret Dewsbury, cabinet member for communities and partnerships at Norfolk County Council, said: “This new centre is one of two new facilities which will enable us to focus on the need to increase training opportunities in the construction industry within the county, including sustainable practices and training that helps to support our green agenda.

“We welcomed our first learners to the new Hellesdon centre in November last year and are looking forward to welcoming more learners in King’s Lynn when our next new centre opens in the spring.”

From January 2022, Adult Learning introduced the construction curriculum at a temporary training centre at Wensum Lodge in Norwich. In the initial 12 months, 600 learners completed courses in a range of construction skills, the most popular being carpentry. In the next year, the service plans to increase its delivery to 1,000 learners.”

Denise Saadvandi, head of Norfolk Adult Learning, said: “This new centre is going to be a real asset for preparing the future workforce.
“We’ll be able to provide state-of-the-art hands on experience so that when people start their careers they already have a wealth of experience in order to hit the ground running. As a service we are committed to ensuring that people have the rights skills to enable them to have good careers in the county.”

An Adult Learning spokesperson added: “Thirty-three per cent (198) of our initial construction learners were female, and this compares well with the 1 per cent of construction operatives who are female in industry. The current pay gap for construction operatives is 23 per cent.
“By providing skills and qualifications we aim to address this issue so that we both increase the proportion of female construction workers, and our female learners will secure better paid jobs in industry.”

Will’s offering a treat that money can’t buy

A day at a motor-racing event is on a lot of people’s wishlists, although tickets can be well out of the range of a lot of fans.

But Wroxham racing driver Will MacIntyre is aiming to treat some lucky fans to a VIP day at the races, meeting British Touring Car drivers, F4 drivers and Porsche drivers and seeing behind the scenes.

“They can go on pit lane walks and paddock tours with me. It’s time to give back,” said Will, who is gaining success in F4 driving.

Will is holding a competition which will help increase his profile and to give anyone buying a £5 ticket the chance to get two passes to an experience of a lifetime.

With 60 tickets up for grabs, spread over 10 weekends including meetings at Snetterton, Donington and Silverstone, he hopes the winners will be people who deserve a treat.

“Who do you know that wouldn’t get this opportunity to get close to the action and even sit in and be photographed in the cars?” he said. “Who do you know who, due to financial reasons or illness, wouldn’t ordinarily be able to attend a VIP day out?

“Perhaps you have a mate who always helps others, maybe a friend who’s struggling?”

Anyone buying a ticket can nominate someone to receive the prize and say why they deserve to be chosen.

Days at the track can cost £180 or more, but a tour with Will, meeting other drivers, sitting in the racing cars and getting access that’s normally reserved for drivers and their crews is something money can’t buy.

Will is back from training in the UAE where he finished fourth, sixth and seventh out of 40 drivers.

His attention is now turned to training this month in preparation for the start of the season in April. And he hopes to be taking fans with him to some of those races.


I will walk 500 miles….

Encouragement from friends, family and strangers – and a message from a pop duo – is keeping Louisa Dye going during a charity walking challenge.

Having never done anything like it before, she decided that she would raise money for the oncology unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital by walking 500 miles during March.

The inspiration came from her favourite song – I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – by The Proclaimers, and the Scottish duo even sent her a message to get her on her way.

“It’s my end-of-the-night party song – everybody knows me for that,” said Louisa. “My husband messaged their manager and everybody he could think of to tell them what I was doing, and on the first day I got a video message! I just couldn’t believe it. I was so excited!”

And with that to spur her on, she said she had no choice but to crack on – even after her first day’s walking left her hardly able to move or put her trainers on.

“I had to talk myself back into it and tell myself I’d got to get on with it,” she said.

“To get the miles in I worked out I needed to do four marathons a week. I’ve gone full out. The first day I did 30 miles and then the next it was 30½… My husband came to join me and we got so far down Marriott’s Way we realised we weren’t going to get back for the school run. We had to run part of the way home and we had two minutes to spare!”

And although she says she is aching and has “the blisters from hell”, she is determined to reach her target of £5,000 in memory of her mum and dad, Christine and Stuart Clarke, who both died from cancer.

Louisa, who is 44, has been leaving her home on Wroxham Road at 8.30am and not getting back until 4pm or 5pm.

“I’ve been to Whitlingham, the UEA, and round Dussindale. One day I walked to Whitwell station. I’m doing around 60,000 steps a day.”

Her dog Stanley accompanies her for some of her walks, as does husband Roger and their children, Emily and Henry.

They will be joined by some of their friends at Langley Prep School at the weekend for a special leg of the journey.

Louisa said she listened to podcasts and feelgood playlists to keep her going, but she said people often saw her T-shirt and got chatting as she walked, which gave her a boost.

“Two ladies stopped and asked about it and last night I looked at my page and they had sponsored me,” she said.

And while she still loves “her” song, she said: “I’m now wishing they only walked 300 miles…”

To donate, visit