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New move on pub plan for North Walsham

The future of a key building in the centre of North Walsham, which attracted expressions of interest from pub chain JD Wetherspoon and is owned by North Norfolk District Council, will be reviewed and all possible future options identified.

The former town council offices on New Road have been the subject of interest from the company since 2014, but no final contract has ever been signed, despite North Norfolk District Council’s best efforts.

The new cabinet at North Norfolk District Council, chosen at a full council meeting on May 15 following the local elections on May 2d, has decided to look again at what the building could be used for.

Virginia Gay, cabinet member for culture and wellbeing, and ward member for North Walsham Market Cross, said: “This is an important building at the entrance to our attractive market. It’s an absolutely crucial asset for North Norfolk.

“We want the best result for our town, which has great potential to become a significant destination, and its people. But we have an obligation to protect the interests of all North Norfolk’s council taxpayers and ensure that they receive best value for their money.

“The Wetherspoon question has hung over us for far too long and that hasn’t been fair on anyone.

“We are concerned for the future of this building and we will look at all possible options to make sure that it no longer stands empty and unused.

“North Walsham is an increasingly vibrant community, a great place to live, work and study, and this building needs to play an important part into the future.”

An options appraisal for the building will be brought to a future meeting of the cabinet.

North Walsham Town Sign

Grant boost for canal lock restoration

Work will start this summer on restoring Ebridge Lock, the best-known of the six along the North Walsham and Dilham Canal.

The project, estimated to cost up to £35,000, has been made possible thanks to a £26,000 EU LEADER grant to the North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust which is working with the canal owners to regenerate the 19th-century waterway.

The funding will cover the cost of manufacturing the top gates and “stop planks”, which block off the lock enabling repairs to be carried out. 

Volunteers will carry out the restoration with some professional help and the trust is appealing for donations to cover the cost of specialist contractors, materials such as bricks for the lock walls, and equipment hire.

“The Ebridge Lock area has become a magnet for locals and tourists to walk, fish, boat or just sit since the Old Canal Company (OCC) restored the reach to Ebridge,” said  trust chairman Ivan Cane.

“However, the waters are only held back by a wall of cement bags placed at the top of the lock some 60 years ago. This grant will lead to the replacement of the bag wall with new gates – that will sustain the present level of water for people and nature, as well as being a visual reminder of the past. This will also be the first stage in the restoration of the second lock on the canal.”

Bacton Wood Lock, one mile upstream, has been restored over a 10-year period by the OCC, which owns that stretch of the waterway, and volunteers.

Once nearly nine miles long, the canal opened in 1826 to ferry cargoes to and from mills and communities along its route. But it went into decline with the arrival of the railway and the last wherry sailed it in 1934.

Disuse led to the waterway becoming choked with vegetation and Ebridge Lock, along with the rest of the canal infrastructure, rusted, rotted and crumbled. 

It is the most visible of the canal’s locks, standing beside the road from North Walsham to Happisburgh, on Ebridge Mill Pond.

Centenary of conception for cherished town hospital

It is a milestone year for North Walsham’s War Memorial Hospital. For a century ago a public meeting sowed the seed for its creation.

The hospital’s Friends group is asking for public help in tracking down information about that historic first gathering.

And they are also using the 100th anniversary to recruit more members to carry on the tradition of community support for the much-loved health care unit.

The original hospital was opened in August 1924, but its conception was five years earlier – as the nation recovered from the pain and carnage of the Great War.

A meeting was held in 1919 to seek local people’s backing, and funding, for a “cottage” hospital. It aimed to care for the community’s sick and to remember the local soldiers who gave their lives in the war.

Records of the meeting are scarce for the Friends would like to hear from anyone with local history or family archives which might shed a bit more light on that vital first meeting.

Friends chairman Keith Jarvis said: “Our hospital was born through public support, and we are proud to carry on the tradition.

“Even though the hospital is run by a health trust, the extras we provide make a difference to the lives of patients, families, friends and staff. We are looking for new members to support our efforts – and have some fun and friendship along the way.

“And we hope there may be people out there who can help with our detective work in tracing more details of the public meeting that started it all.”

The foundation stone for the original hospital was laid on September 18 1919. The unit was opened in August 1924 by Princess Marie Louise. Today’s hospital, opened in 2012 after the original was demolished, is run by the Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust.

Thanks to continuing public donations the Friends pay for improvements and extras beyond the basic “health service” budgets – from a £22,000 revamp of the day room to Christmas gifts for patients.

To find out more about the friends and to make contact visit the website https://www.northwalshamhospitalfriends.org.uk/

The hospital opening in 1924 (PICTURE: North Walsham and District Community Archive)


Hospital Friends members in the revamped day room (PICTURE: Richard Batson)

All systems go for Aylsham Food Festival!

Music and magic are on the menu at this year’s Aylsham Food Festival, presented by Slow Food Aylsham.

The ever-popular event returns this week with a packed weekend of old favourites and family entertainment.

Alongside regular features like the Country Market, Farmers’ Market and Slow Brunch will be the walkabout musical act Banana Ukulele Band and magician and children’s entertainer, Robbie James.

Organised by Slow Food Aylsham (SFA), the festival will be in its customary early October slot, from Friday 5th to Sunday 7th.

SFA chairman Patrick Prekopp said: “While the focus of the festival will, of course, be on food and particularly local produce, we want to make people think differently about food. It should be fun, and we hope to sprinkle a bit of magic and stardust around too.”

The programme kicks off a week earlier with a “fringe taster”, Rosie With Cider, on Friday, September 28, at the Town Hall. Rosie Warren and her dad David, from Aylsham, will demonstrate the art of cider-making using a cider press – accompanied by Aylsham folk musician, singer and cartoonist, Tony Hall on melodeon. Bring your own apples and sample fresh apple juice, or David’s home-made scrumpy, or buy from the barrel. It starts at 6.30pm and tickets are £1 at the door.

The festival proper starts on Friday morning (October 5) with the weekly Country Market in the town hall where you can sample a wide range of home-baked, home-grown and home-made products.

Later, it’s An Evening with Richard Hughes at Aylsham High School (6.30 for 7pm). Celebrated Norfolk chef Richard will talk about his 40 years in the business – from pot-washer to proprietor of the Lavender House Restaurant, Norwich Assembly House and his renowned cookery school. This will be followed by a beef and ale pie supper prepared by the Slow Food group. Cost is £15 per person.

On Saturday morning, come and say “Yellow!” to the Banana Ukulele Band who will entertain visitors to the monthly Farmers’ Market, where there will also be a variety of attractions for adults and children. On hand, too, will be the popular local jazz band, One Foot in the Groove, making sure there are no gaps in the entertainment.

Saturday evening is devoted to wine tasting. Led by Brian Sullivan, from Harper Wells, wine merchants of Eaton, there will be a selection of wines and cheeses in the Heritage Centre at 7pm. Tickets are £17 per head from the Heritage Centre.

The Big Brunch on Sunday not only features the famous fry-up and the all-you-can-eat continental buffet, but table magician Robbie James as well. Catered and served by members of Slow Food Aylsham at the Town Hall, this family event usually sells out fast. Tickets are £7 per person.

All tickets available at Barnwells Newsagents in the Market Place or phone 07519 361812. Watch for updates on www.slowfoodaylsham.org.uk or search on Facebook and Twitter.

The Banana Ukulele Band who you can see Saturday morning in the marker place.

Richard Hughes who will be giving a talk on Friday evening.

REVIEW: Habeas Corpus, Maddermarket

Norwich Players gave the audience a lot of laughs as they performed Alan Bennett’s Habeas Corpus at The Maddermarket Theatre.

The play is set in the middle-class, respectable seaside town of Hove in the late 1960s. The action takes place in and around the home of Arthur Wicksteed, a general practitioner played by Trevor Burton, and his wife Murie,l played by Gill Tichborne. The couple have a son Dennis, a sexually repressed hypochondriac, played by Laurence Grunbaum. The sexual revolution of the 1960s has passed the Wicksteeds by, but a hint of what they perceive as the permissive society is drifting in to the folk in and around the family. The doctor has a mental battle with what he sees as his professional life and his natural randy instincts. The result is a romp through the hang-ups of respectable people losing their dignity and also their trousers in the style of a good farce.

The audience enjoyed and applauded the bumbling celibate cleric, the flat-chested spinster, the pompous Sir Percy, the sales representative of false breast enlargements and the old colonial lady and her attractive young daughter. Linking all the characters together is Mrs Swabb, played by Jude Wyatt, who knows all their secrets and weaknesses.

Kevin and Sandra Stone

Fascinating photos from Hellesdon past

Fascinating glimpses into Hellesdon’s past can be seen in these photographs from Tony Adams’ family album.

Tony, of Reepham Road, a Broadland District Councillor for Hellesdon South East and a member of Norfolk County Council, has lived in the parish since moving as a little boy with his family from Exeter in 1947.

Many of the places he was familiar with during his childhood are now lost under housing estates.

CORONATION TEA: This party scene was taken in June 1953 at a children’s tea celebrating the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The venue was the old Firs Stadium, famed for its speedway racing. It’s been replaced by homes on Meadow Way and Meadow Close. Do you recognise any of the faces?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOUNDARY STADIUM: In the following photo, Tony and his older brother Geoffrey are pictured behind their home on City View Road with the Boundary Greyhound Stadium in the background.

Tony remembers that there was a football pitch in the stadium where he used to go and watch Norwich City’s B team play.

The area behind his home was completely open space where children would throw down a couple of coats to mark goal and play their own football matches.

That open land is now Coronation Road, Coronation Close and Sceptre Close.

 

 

 

 

 

CITY VIEW ROAD: City View Road pictured in the early 1960s:

 

 

 

 

 

 

AIRMEN’S BARRACKS: Once airmen’s barracks for men stationed at RAF Horsham St Faith, these Fifers Lane buildings were used from the 1960s onwards as accommodation for UEA students. They’ve since been redeveloped with housing.

  • If you’ve got old photos and/or memories of Hellesdon and don’t mind sharing them with fellow residents, please email them to news@justregional.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aylsham is ready to light up

Aylsham is gearing up for its festive lights switch on this Friday.

The fun starts at 5.30pm when a procession will leave leave St Michael’s School and choral group Vocalites will perform in the Market Place. The main event is at 6pm, when the lights will add sparkle to the town centre, followed by a performance at 6.05pm by Sutton School of Dance. Santa will be in Eclipse hair studio from around 6.15pm and the Bure Valley School Choir will be performing in the Market Place at 6.20pm, followed by a second show by Sutton School of Dance. There’s then the chance to hear local band Agent Orange from 7pm.

There will be the Christmas Tree Festival in the church with the Town Band playing and stalls plus refreshments by the WI and a children’s workshop in the Town Hall. There will also be stalls plus the Salvation Army Band in Red Lion Street, plus the shops will be open late. The Market Place will also have fairground rides and stalls.

There’s food in the Market Place including Coxfords barbecue, Broadside Pizza, The Almond Kitchen, Raj from the Farmers Market with Indian food, Whites barbecue, hot chocolate/coffee and the Black Boys and the Unicorn will be open, as will Piggy’s and the Old Tea Rooms.

All timings are approximate.

Vote for Hellesdon’s Inca as top PAT dog

 

A Hellesdon woman’s gentle, much-loved pet has made it to the finals of a national competition to find the nation’s top therapy dog – and needs your vote to win the crown.

Eight-year-old Inca and her owner Sheena Scrimgeor have been making a positive difference to the lives of scores of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust  patients from across both counties for the past six years.

Inca, a Labrador-Staffie cross, is a Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog, visiting people in hospitals, and is in the final six of the charity’s PAT Dog of the Year contest.

She and Sheena beat hundreds of other entrants from across the country – including 70 from the eastern region alone – to make the shortlist and now need the public’s support to help them lift the title.

The pair will find out whether they have won on live TV at next year’s Crufts Dog Show, which takes place at the NEC Birmingham in March. Sheena said she was “blown away” to find out Inca had been shortlisted.

“I’m very pleased for the patients as they made a great effort to write lovely statements to support Inca’s entry in the competition,” she added. “The only sad thing is that my mother won’t be able to watch. She thought the world of Inca and loved Crufts and watched it every year, but died in March at the grand old age of 101.

“She would have loved to see Inca up on stage in the arena in front of crowds of people being recognised for the work she does. “If Inca wins, I will dedicate the award to her. I’m sure she would have been proud of us both.”

Staff and patients have been sending messages of support for Sheena and Inca. They include this, from Veronica Rackham, of Thurne Ward, Hellesdon Hospital: “Inca is a beautiful dog with a lovely calming nature. She is gentle and loving and will happily sit and be stroked by everyone. I believed she has a very positive impact on all she meets and I know that her visits are very eagerly awaited and enjoyed by many.”

Sheena and Inca visit Hellesdon Hospital every Monday, The Julian Hospital on Tuesdays and the Norvic Clinic on Fridays, as well as fitting in regular visits to Hellesdon High School, a prison and the University of East Anglia. * Vote for Inca by filling in the form in the current edition of Yours magazine or by visiting www.yours.co.uk/PATDogs. Voting closes on December 31.