Appeal following serious collision in Horstead

Police are appealing for information following a serious collision at Horstead yesterday (Sunday 19 January 2020).

A white Peugeot Partner was involved in a collision with a grey VW Golf on the B1150 Norwich Road at approximately 1.30pm.

The driver or the Peugeot, a man in his 60s, was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital with serious leg injuries, whilst the driver of the Golf, a woman in her 50s, was also taken to hospital with serious arm, leg and chest injuries. Anyone who may have witnessed the collision, the manner of driving of either vehicle prior to the incident, or has dashcam footage, should contact PC Andrew McDonnell at Acle Roads Policing on 101 quoting incident number 178 of Sunday 19 January.

Les Mis star is living the dream

To adjust the title of one of the best known songs in Les Misérables, Dean Chisnall is not Dreaming A Dream but living it. Ahead of the lavish production’s Norwich arrival, Dean tells JOHN BULTITUDE he has fulfilled a career ambition by playing Jean Valjean.

Norwich Theatre Royal is a venue which has a place in the heart of Dean Chisnall. On his visit to the city in 2015 where he played the title role in Shrek, he told journalists one of his career dreams was to portray Jean Valjean in Les Misérables.

Five years on, he is poised to do just that when Cameron Mackintosh’s iconic production returns to Norwich Theatre Royal for a five-week run.

“I still can’t really believe it. This is the reason why many of us do what we do. It is the reason why I got into musical theatre and it is one of the first shows I ever listened to,” said Dean.

“It is not a role, it is a privilege and I have always thought of my work like that. This show is really the ultimate privilege. There is no greater feeling and no greater responsibility.”

The touring role follows a successful run in the West End in the same role for Dean plus a glittering career which reads like a Who’s Who of best-known musicals including Blood Brothers, Mamma Mia, Love Never Dies, La Cage Aux Folles and Never Forget.

But his current part is one he has aspired to and takes very seriously. Dean explained: “The wonderful thing about the production is that you get to come in and put your own take on it but you never lose sight of why you do it. When the orchestra strikes up, you are very aware of the honour, the privilege and the history of the show’s last 35 years.”

But the journey to portraying this iconic character comes after an awful lot of preparation to ensure every member of the audience enjoys the perfect performance. He said: “The one thing I can say with my hand on my heart is that I have worked hard. Cameron Mackintosh is the definitive producer and he is the boss. He is so wonderful in what he brings to people’s lives as he produces shows of the highest order and he won’t allow anybody else in them without his say so. I find that is sensational for someone who has been doing it for such a long time.

 “That is because he cares. There is no greater privilege for an actor to know that his producer cares to that extent and that is a great pay off for us all.”

That dedication is repaid by the reaction of those who see it. Dean admits the audience are thoroughly immersed in the story. He said: “You can hear the audience’s emotion and you can sense it. Even though the clue is in the title, it is a very sad piece. It is the most uplifting piece of musical theatre as well because you get that shared experience and, although it is a really physical role, you feel wonderful when you come off stage.

“Mentally, it is also a real drain. There may be some productions where you can, to an extent, fake it but you cannot fake this show. There is such a journey for Jean Valjean. If you think about it all at once, you will go crazy but if you think about it step by step, I find that is the best way to portray it and to tell the story.”

The epic story, which takes to the stage from March 4 to April 4, is set around the French Revolution and is also an ideal way to escape the stresses and strains of life, according to Dean. “People can just come and forget. Whatever the reason you have come to see it, it is relevant and it is pure escapism. For three hours, you can escape from what is going on in the world as it is a tricky place to be right now. That is why our job is an ever bigger privilege,” said Dean.

Les Misérables will mark a welcome return to the Norwich Theatre Royal stage for Dean after previous visits saw him play The Narrator in Blood Brothers and the iconic role of Shrek.

His time playing the green giant certainly helped broaden his skills. Dean laughed: “Sitting there for two hours before each show being transformed into Shrek was very hard. The onstage part was a privilege to do but the off-stage part meant you really had to zone out and it was also so hot. You would come off stage with half your chin hanging off. I remember when I came to Norwich, it was extremely hot and we had a real heatwave.”

And Dean is also looking forward to spending more time in Norwich. He said: “I love the city. It has such a lovely vibe. When I have been in shows there before, I have not been there for long and so I did not get to see too much of the city. With this one, we will be there for a nice period of time and I am looking forward to exploring.”

So while it may be intense and moving but uplifting on stage, there is a definite air of excitement for Dean as he makes his long-awaited return to Norwich in a part he enjoys playing day after d

Les Misérables runs from Wednesday March 4 until Saturday April 4, 2020 at 7.30pm with Thursday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm. Tickets £10-£66.50. Discounts for Friends, Corporate Club, Over-60s and Under-18s.

Book at or call the box office on 01603 630000.

Dean Chisnell
The cast of Les Miserables. Picture: MATTHEW MURPHY

Broadland Dance spectacular!

Hurry and get your tickets for Broadland School of Dance’s (BSD) spectacular show at Norwich Theatre Royal this Sunday, November 24.

There are two performances, at 2.30pm and 7pm. You can buy tickets here:

BSD, which holds classes in Aylsham and Wroxham, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

The school’s show is called Icons and will feature more than 230 students, from aged three upwards, taking part in 50 individual routines and songs.

Former pupil Rose Mason, now a professional dancer, will also be taking part with some of the school’s most advanced dancers.

Rose, and fellow professional dancer Rachael Crocker, has also helped the teachers with choreography.

The show is a celebration of iconic music, song and dance  – which organisers say will have you dancing in the aisles.

“We have ballets from iconic composers and musicals old and new, with some favourites you are sure to recognise!” said teacher Katy Carroll.   

“We hope you will enjoy our spectacular display of talent featuring dance genres from ballet, modern, jazz, tap and contemporary and new to BSD Acrobatic Arts. You will also see some of the singing talent within the school.”

£15,000 for community projects

Community projects could benefit from up to a £5k investment as the Victory Housing Trust Community Fund opens for its latest round of funding.

The fund, which is offering £15k in total, is inviting bids for activities and initiatives which are making a difference in Victory’s area of operation, which is mainly in North Norfolk.
The funding can be used to meet different needs, such as for capital projects, venue hire, equipment, start-up expenses, and training across themes including health and wellbeing, community cohesion and tackling disadvantage. A key criteria is that all applications should involve or have the potential to involve residents of Victory Housing Trust.
The fund was launched in 2008 to make a difference to people’s lives and since then Victory has awarded more than £500,000 through 174 grants. In the most recent round of funding, in April 2019, £20,500 was awarded to six projects. This included £2,500 to Lighthouse Charity Trust to set up a Men’s Shed in Sheringham.
The deadline for applications is September 27 and all the bids will be assessed by a panel made up of Victory residents, supported by the Norfolk Community Foundation which administers the fund on Victory’s behalf.
Lisa Collen, interim managing director of Victory Housing Trust explained: “We are looking forward to offering this investment to some great causes in our area an,d if you have a community project which fits our criteria, please do make an application.”
Applications for grants can be made by any organisation or group established for charitable purposes, provided there is a formal structure which allows for monitoring of activity and feedback – official charitable status is not necessary.
Anyone wishing to find out more and apply can do so via the Norfolk Community Foundation website:

Wroxham FC and Victory Housing Trust join forces to support women in football

Wroxham FC and Victory Housing Trust have joined forces to develop and promote junior and women’s football in an exciting new partnership.

Building on the club’s recent successes in the area, the partnership will allow Wroxham FC to establish three new teams for different age groups – Under 6s, Under 14s, Under 16s – and launch a brand new women’s team.

The partnership between the North Norfolk based housing association and the club will also bring kit, training, and enhanced facilities for the whole community of Wroxham, and the surrounding areas.

Club Chairman Lee Robson explained “I’m delighted that Victory has partnered with us. It takes a lot of volunteer hours, hard work and money to set things up buying kit, equipment and making sure coaches are qualified and developed.

“In 2018/19 we invested around £14,000 in setting up our junior section and we are keen to invest again this year to build a sustainable club. The partnership will help to provide kit for the women’s team, coach education, and establish our Wildcats Centre for girls at Rackheath which starts at the end of August.”

Victory decided to get involved with the partnership as it supports its work in the local community, as Managing Director Christine Candlish explained: “We are excited by this new partnership, our involvement hopes to aid not only in the growth of a local football club, but also increase the offering of both physical and social activities in the area.

“It is important that we continue to promote participation through sport in our communities and particularly women in sport. The club has shown an ability to inspire people to develop, achieve and make lifelong friendships through football, and this is something we want for both our residents and communities”.

Father’s 250-mile challenge for NICU which saved his son

A father of a six-year-old boy is taking on a formidable challenge to raise money for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where his son spent the first week of his life.

Henry Hume was born at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in March 2013 following what had been a routine pregnancy for mum, Justina and dad Tom as they waited for the birth of their first child.       

However, things quickly took an unexpected turn for the worse and baby Henry was rushed to NICU with persistent pulmonary hypertension which is a failure of the normal circulatory transition that occurs after birth.

Now, Tom, who is a vet and director at Westover Veterinary Centre, and his business partner Toby, an experienced triathlete, plan to run, cycle, swim and canoe about 250 miles starting on July 11 to raise money for NICU as a thank you to the staff on the unit for caring for Henry who is now a happy and healthy six year old.

Tom explained how joy quickly turned to fear following the birth of his son: “In layman’s terms, Henry’s lungs hadn’t inflated so his blood kept choosing the easy route, through the hole in the heart that all babies are born with, but in the process it was bypassing the lungs and circulating around his body without being re-oxygenated.

Being a vet I had some limited understanding of the numbers on the intensive care monitors. The figure that I will never forget is the level of his oxygen saturation. In animals, anything less than 98% is abnormal and below 90% we would be pretty worried. I am fairly sure the numbers are similar in human medicine and I was watching as Henry’s number fell and fell, eventually bottoming out at 45%.

The NICU team were incredible, there were five of them crowded around this tiny baby. He was too small to get intravenous access via his arms so they had to cannulate his umbilical vessels to establish IV access.

He was then anaesthetised and placed in a coma to allow them to mechanically ventilate and inflate his lungs. Henry was in the coma for a week, but slowly the support machines were withdrawn and he went from strength to strength.”

Tom added: “We will both be eternally grateful for the lifesaving care in the first six hours after his arrival and then ongoing during that week.

“Ever since that day I have wanted to raise money for NICU to show my appreciation for such an incredible service and also to try and help their resources and enable them to help others.”

Tom and Toby will take on some huge challenges after setting off on July 11:

Day 1 – set off from North Walsham, run seven miles to Aylsham before swimming eight miles of the River Bure to Coltishall where they will camp for the night.

Day 2 – canoe 35 miles from Coltishall to Yarmouth.

Day 3 – cycle of 130 miles to Hunstanton.

Day 4 – run 30 miles from Hunstanton to Stiffkey.

Day 5 – run 30 miles back to North Walsham.

Tom said: “The biggest challenge in training has been getting enough time to get the miles in. I have come to the conclusion that it will be ‘alright on the night’ and that my memories of Henry’s battle to survive will be all the motivation I need to keep my moving.”

In the past, money raised for NICU has helped to pay for incubators, kangaroo chairs for parents and babies, enabled us to enhance the environment and also provided specialist training for staff.” If you would like to sponsor Tom and Toby and support NICU, visit

Henry and Tom Hume

A fab night of music at Theatre Royal

I never got to see the Beatles perform live, possibly due to the fact that I wasn’t born until 1966.

My discovery of the Fab Four came much later when, as a 12-year-old, I found a stack of LPs and a portable record player belonging to my stepmum, a huge fan who also never got to see them live.

So last night’s performance Let It Be at the Theatre Royal was a right treat for us both.

The show looked back at the musical history of the “mop tops” through the recreation of signature performances such as the Royal Variety Show and Shea Stadium, interspersed with newsreel and adverts from the time. How we chuckled as the newly-married bride lit up with the voiceover slogan “time for a Capstan”.

The four performers were faultless musicians, swapping from guitar to piano and back. The joke back in the day was that Ringo Starr wasn’t the best drummer in the world, he wasn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles. You certainly couldn’t have said that about Ben Cullingworth as a believable Ringo. He was joined on stage by Richard Jordan as John (he passed the test with my stepmum, John was her favourite), John Brosnan as George and Emanuele Angeletti as Paul.

The first half was a tour through the Beatles’ back catalogue from early days to the Sgt Pepper years, the second half an imagined reunion for John’s 40th birthday taking in each band member’s solo material. This included a stunning version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps with the guitar solo masterfully played by ‘George’. George didn’t event play that on the original, it was Eric Clapton.

The audience ranged in age but had one thing in common, they knew the words to all the songs and were encouraged to sing along and get up, clap and dance.

A couple of crowd pleasers ended the concert – Let It Be and Hey Jude – before a standing ovation. A truly uplifting evening of music from one of the worlds best and biggest bands.

“Kill* for a ticket” – Patsy Webster (stepmum)

(*Don’t actually kill someone, obviously. The show runs until Saturday and tickets are still available.

Gay Webster

Pictures: Paul Coltas

No Great British Prom at Blickling this summer

The Great British Prom will be taking a break this year with a view to returning to the Blickling Estate in 2020.

Lisa Ward of organisers Revival Productions said: “We have been running this type of concert for many years and experience shows us that sometimes it’s good to have a break, with a view to coming back with renewed vigour.

“The Great British weather worked against us last year, however, we know that this event has become a firm favourite in the Norfolk calendar and so we are planning to come back bigger and better in 2020!”

Jo Bosch, visitor experience nanager at Blickling said “Our summer concerts are something we look forward to all year and are a highlight of our annual programme. 

“Classic Ibiza promises to be even bigger and better this year and we really welcome the approach our partners at Revival Productions are taking in asking what their loyal supporters would like to see at the Great British Prom event at Blickling in 2020.”

Revival Productions are asking the Great British Prom audience what they’d like to see for 2020. The traditional proms event or perhaps something different? You can have your say by visiting the Great British Prom Facebook page and commenting there, or email with your thoughts.

Lisa added: “Tell us what you’d love to see! We have a year to plan something very special for our Norfolk audience.”

Classic Ibiza will be returning this year on Friday August 9. For full event details please visit or call 01283 841601.


Blickling Great British Prom 2017, Photo by Simon Finlay Photography.