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‘Join us to protect Sprowston’s heritage’

Sprowston residents worried about the amount of new development in their parish are being urged to join a club set up to serve and protect the community.

The non-political Sprowstonite Community Club was formed with those aims 22 years ago but has lain dormant for many years.

Moves to reinvigorate the club follow fears about the long-term future of the popular Sprowston Sports and Social Club (SSSC) on Blue Boar Lane.

The site, on land owned by the Gurney family, is slowly being encircled by bulldozers as hundreds of new homes are built, according to Terry Toomer, who has been associated with SSSC for 30 years and is also one of the Sprowstonite club’s founding members.

Negotiations are under way with the Gurney Estate to renew SSSC’s lease.

But Terry and other SSSC chiefs are worried that the site, which has been used by the community for about 100 years, is vulnerable and could be sold off.

He would like fellow residents to join the Sprowstonite club to demonstrate the amount of local support there is for the SSSC and for protecting Sprowston from too much development.

The SSSC, run by volunteers as a non-profit making organisation, has between 600-800 members and is used by residents of all ages every week, for a large range of sports activities, plus parties, wedding receptions, christening celebrations, and wakes.

Football and cricket teams have been playing on the land, known as Harrison’s Meadow, for about a century, according to Terry.

During his time in Sprowston, Terry, a former SSSC chairman, has seen the club blossom from what he described as “a wooden building like a Scout hut” to a multi-purpose asset for the community.

Three extensions have been added, plus a toilet block, upgraded dressing rooms, a sports court, and bowls lawn. About 95pc of the work was carried out by volunteers and funded by the club.

“Sprowston is quite a special place to be and the people who live here need protection. Because of the development taking place round Sprowston, the fear is the club site would be used for houses and Sprowston would lose 100 years of history. This is our heritage and I hope that thought will spur people on to get together to support it,” said Terry.

“My dream is that Sprowston Town Council or Broadland District Council buys the site for the community. It would be a wonderful gesture by the Gurneys if they would let that happen.”

  • Anyone interested in finding out more can contact the Sprowstonite Community Club on 07510 1490 22.

Sprowston Sports and Social Club

Sprowston Sports and Social Club’s outside facilities include a full-size football pitch, two mini-soccer pitches, a sports court and bowling green.

Through the week the club is used for short-mat bowls, pilates, soccer tots, yoga, football, darts and pool, as well as a variety of private celebrations and other functions.

Over the years the club has raised many thousands of pounds for good causes.

What the councils say

Terry Toomer and Richard Shorten, another former chairman of Sprowston Sports and Social Club, have asked Sprowston Town Council and Broadland District Council whether they would consider buying the site to safeguard its future for the community.

Sprowston Town Council told Just Sprowston Terry had been asked by the council to find out whether the premises were for sale and, if so, to give the landlord the council’s contact details.

“Mr Toomer has not been back to this office to advise of the outcome of this conversation,” said town clerk June Hunt.

“The council felt it would be ill advised to ask the question of the landlord with a tenant already in situ at the club.

“The town council has requested Broadland District Council to place this property on the Community Asset List for Sprowston but this request has been refused.”

Just Sprowston asked Broadland to explain why it had been refused. A spokesman said: “The nomination for listing was refused on November 22 2016. The reasons for refusal were: The Gurney Family Trust had owned the property for many years and had a commitment to make it available on long leases for sports and leisure use.

“The club lease was secured under the 1954 Landlord and Tenant Act so the club had an entitlement to remain in occupation for the foreseeable future, subject to the lease terms being adhered to.

The present lease was due for renewal and the club had been offered a new 10-year lease.

“We appreciate that circumstances may have changed since the time the decision was made and it is open to Sprowston Town Council to resubmit a nomination.”

JOIN US: Sprowstonite Community Club founder members pictured in 1996. From left: Beverley Stebbings, Nigel Stebbings, Terry Toomer, Terry Haigh and Sharon Poynter


FOOTBALL: a Sprowston team pictured in 1920. Back, from left: Captain Raper, Charlie Wegg, Stanley Fowler, Walter Shorten, Bob Guymer, Berto Blyth. Middle: Lenny Shorten, Arthur Carter, Geoff Key. Front: Robbie Young, Teddy Dawson, Bob Pointer, George Duffield, Jimmy Carter

CRICKET: a Sprowston cricket team in 1922. Back, from left: Cecil Clabburn, Arthur Humphrey, AR Humphrey, Berto Blyth. Middle: Donny Wright, Eddie Dawson, Stanley Pointer, unknown. Front: Jack Carter, Arthur Wegg, Walter Shorten, Stanley Medler

CONCERN: Terry Toomer

 

 

 


 

EVER NEARER: distant building work can be seen in this view across part of Sprowston Sports and Social Club’s bowling lawn and football pitch

 

Her Business Brew, a busy year so far

Women’s networking and support group Her Business Brew had a successful inaugural conference to mark International Women’s Day as part of a year of events.

Held at Epic Studios in Norwich, the Her Conference attracted women from all backgrounds, especially businesswomen and those interested in finding out more about networking or starting their own business.

Organiser Serena Fordham, who is behind Her Business Brew, said: “The HER Conference 2018 aimed to bring together women from different groups, businesses, backgrounds and locations across Norfolk and surrounding areas, and I feel we wholeheartedly achieved this.”

“The day showcased inspiring speakers, connected female entrepreneurs, provided educational and empowering masterclasses, as well as raised awareness and funds for women-focused charities.”

Her Business Brew members voted for Leeway as the charity of the year, and an optional donation can be made at each meeting, which are held monthly in four locations in north, south, east and central Norfolk.

Leeway has six safe houses and provides advice, support and information to any adult or child experiencing domestic abuse in Norfolk and Waveney. It was established in 1974 with the help of a £200 start-up grant from Norwich City Council. Over the past four decades, the charity has grown considerably.

Mandy Proctor, Chief Executive of Leeway, said: “We are delighted to be chosen as Her Business Brew’s charity of the year. I would like to thank them for supporting Leeway and showing a commitment to ending domestic abuse. The money that they raise will enable us to continue to provide a high-quality service to those experiencing domestic abuse and help Leeway to continue to raise awareness of domestic abuse within the local community.”

Serena added: “I am proud that myself and the Her Business Brew Team brought everything together to celebrate International Women’s Day with so many incredible local women. The event, which was sponsored by Trusted Law and East of England Co-op, was also in memory of my friend, Sarah Ellis, who left this world too early last year, and my main emotion when I opened the event to see so many faces smiling back at me, was sheer fulfilment of feeling Sarah’s legacy would live on through this event each year.”

Speakers at the conference included Mumbelievable blogger Ursula Taverner, Britannia café founder Davina Turner and Rachel Welch, who has been involved in a project helping Ugandan women with sanitary wear.

This year has also seen the launch of For HER, a new women’s Business, Body and Life Online Chat Show.

Serena said: “For HER is an online group focused around issues affecting women, in business, body and life, and is the home of the bi-weekly online chat show, where women discuss their viewpoints and opinions on women-related topics.”

“The group and chat show intend to raise and expose an array of issues affecting women in all aspects of their life, as well as to raise awareness of charities and social enterprise projects that can help and support women.”

“The idea of the For HER community is to keep the conversations from the chat show going, so that if women are struggling to keep going right now, they have the assurance that they are not alone.”

She has now also launched the For HER Revolution, a members’ subscription package, which offers lots of benefits to any women, on all aspects of business, body and life.

She said: “This project will help to fund the charitable projects, and hopefully later be able to provide grants to women entrepreneurs and social enterprises that aim to also help other women.”

A Her Fitness Fundraiser will be held on Saturday, May 19, 10am-3.30pm to raise more funds for Leeway, to help them to carry on supporting women and children experiencing domestic abuse.

For more information email Serena and the Her Business Brew Team via, love@herbusinessbrew.co.uk. You can also find Her Busienss Brew on Facebook or via its website www.herbusinessbrew.co.uk.  Also see www.for-her.co.uk.

PICTURES: SAM ROBBINS

 

Location, Location, Location looking for buyers

TV property experts Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer (pictured) are looking for homes in the Norwich area for a new season of Channel 4’s Location, Location, Location. The presenters will be helping people find their dream home this spring. Chain-free buyers struggling to find the right property are welcome to apply.  Programme chiefs will be talking to potential buyers over the next few weeks. A spokesman said: “Whether you’re upsizing or downsizing, buying your first property or hoping to find your ideal forever home, you could have two top property experts on your side. Whatever the budget and however tricky the search – we would love to hear from everyone! Phil and Kirstie may be just the helping hand you need! The online application form can be found via: www.shortaudition.com/Location-Location-Location

Sprowston duo’s brave charity parachute jump

Two Sprowston residents are among three members of the Heritage Will Writers team who will be braving a tandem skydive on April 14 to support Norfolk charity Nelson’s Journey.

The Sprowston duo – Hayleigh Thornhill (IT consultant) and Kyle McCallum (admin assistant) – will join call centre manager Alan Tooth at Beccles Airfield to jump from 13,000 feet and freefall at 120 mph before their parachutes open.

So far they have raised over £1,100 between them for Nelsons Journey which supports  children and young people who have experienced the death of someone close to them.

At the start of the year, Norwich-based Heritage Will Writers joined the NJ Twenty20 scheme – A commitment taken by 20 Norfolk businesses to raise a minimum of £1,000 each to help celebrate the 20th year of Nelson’s Journey.

Heritage Will Writers’ managing director, Kathy Long, said: “We are so proud of Hayleigh, Alan and Kyle for doing such a brave thing for Nelsons Journey. We are blessed to have individuals who are always looking for opportunities to fundraise for charities, and as a company we are keen to support this with an in-house charity team.

“I am lucky enough to have been shown around Nelsons Journey’s Smiles House recently and get a real understanding of the fantastic work that they do to support bereaved children. That is why we are committed to raise as much as we can for Nelsons Journey to help them celebrate their 20th birthday.”

Nelsons Journey funding and marketing manager Sophie Berry said: “Heritage Will Writers have really embraced the challenge to raise funds in our 20th year.  A skydive is not for the faint hearted and we hope that those taking part will remember the experience for years to come.”


 

REVIEW: Jerusalem, Maddermarket

Jerusalem, Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich Players

The Norwich Players production of Jez Butterworth’s acclaimed play, Jerusalem, shocks and jolts from the opening scenes.

The powerful play has a charismatic rebel as its central character, who is against all middle England society holds sacred.

Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron is a man living his life on the edge of society in a clearing in a wood. He lives in a caravan and deals in, and is often high on, drugs and alcohol. His lifestyle is a magnet for a group of young people who society has given up on

Rooster is played by Nick Meir, who gives a performance that is disturbing and also very moving. He believes in the spirits that live and have lived in the mythical past in the woodland of his home in Wiltshire. His existence in the forest is under threat as the local council want him gone so they can cover his wood with a new housing estate and they are making plans to evict him.

There is also the annual village fair held on St George’s Day which is the climax of his struggles and battles with the council and the group that surrounds him.

This is a production which questions whether an alternative lifestyle can exist along side the commonplace and it is very skilfully played by the cast. The energy, enthusiasm and talent makes this a compelling production.

The play is running at the Maddermarket Theatre until Saturday (March 24).

Kevin and Sandra Stone

Birthday bash for Cecil Gowing school

A 50th birthday party invitation has gone out to all former pupils, staff and governors of Sprowston’s Cecil Gowing Infant School. And head teacher Isabel Stubbs is hoping members of the Gowing family will hear about the event and turn up on the day, Tuesday May 15 at 2pm. Mrs Stubbs is keen to find out about the man who gave his name to the school as she only has scraps of information about him. She believes Cecil Gowing may have been a pilot injured in the Second World War whose family donated the land for the school on Falcon Road West. “I’d love it if members of the Gowing family came along so that I could hear the whole story,” she added. Mrs Stubbs hopes all visitors will bring along any memorabilia they still have, and chat over their memories. She has invited Dr Jess French, a former pupil, who is a vet and a presenter on CBeebies, and hopes she will speak at the event. A Morello cherry tree will be planted on the day, echoing the weeping silver pear planted by Cecil Gowing at the school’s opening, on April 3 1968. The school is also creating a garden to mark its 50th birthday. All 180 children at the school enjoy gardening outside at the school every week.

Cecil Gowing plants a tree at the school opening ceremony, helped by the first headmistress Miss Strapps


 

 

Cecil Gowing addresses guests at the opening ceremony, telling them of his association with Sprowston schools, dating back to 1925

(Below) pupils at work creating a garden at Cecil Gowing Infant School

 

Broadland householders facing council tax rise

 

Councillors at Broadland District Council have agreed a 4.3pc council tax rise, the equivalent of an extra £4.99 per year for an average Band D property.

Earlier this month Norfolk County Council agreed a 5.99pc rise in its share of council tax and a 5.5pc budget increase has also been approved for policing in the county during 2018-2019.

Broadland also increased its share of the council tax last year, following a  seven-year freeze.

“No one wants to see a rise in council tax. However, it is important that we are able to help those most in need and continue to maintain high quality services,” said councillor Trudy Mancini-Boyle, Broadland’s portfolio holder for finance. “We have restricted our increase to £4.99 in order to achieve this, although I appreciate that residents will see a rise in other aspects of their bill.” 

The council will continue to look for other sources of income and, following the success of the Carrowbreck Meadow development, has recently secured help from central government for a new housing development in Great Plumstead through its company, Broadland Growth Ltd.

For the second year, residents will be receiving a Buy in Broadland discount voucher booklet with their council tax bills. Designed to support local business, the voucher booklet will provide residents with 96 different discounts and offers for Broadland businesses, giving them the chance to discover new places to enjoy and perhaps rediscover some old favourites.

The council tax rise will be included in bills for 2018/19 which residents will be receiving in the coming weeks.

 


 

REVIEW: Relatively Speaking, Maddermarket Theatre

The Norwich Players put on a great performance on Friday (February 16),  giving the Maddermarket audience plenty of laughs.

Relatively Speaking, which runs until Saturday (24th)  is one of Alan Ayckbourn’s earliest successes, but this production has been updated from the original 1960s to the early 1980s by director Jo Edye.

The action centres on the lives of two couples, both of whom share a dark secret that they don’t realise is connected.

The four actors, Teresa Baron who plays Ginny, Rohan Gotobed who plays Greg, Russell J Turner who plays Philip and Jo Davis who plays Shiela, interact with great skill and superb comedy timing.

The twists and turns in the play tie the characters in hilarious knots, which has the audience laughing as they work their way out of the muddles they get into.

A surprising and inspired interlude was the first scene change, which had a strong 1980s feel with the hit songs from the era, and four women in 1980s dress, who managed the scene change in true and comical style. Fabulous.

A great night and a great performance by the Norwich Players.

The play runs until Saturday. For tickets, call the box office on 01603 620917 or see www.maddermarket.co.uk.

 

Kevin and Sandra Stone