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Every day is a holiday for Elsie

Elsie Aiken had to put down the crossword to make a cup of tea when we went to see her.

She had just finished reading a short story in The People’s Friend (a good one, apparently) and had come in from making sure the weeds were staying away from her immaculate garden.

Not so remarkable on a Wednesday afternoon in Hoveton … but Elsie has just celebrated her 106th birthday.
Born in Barnet, the eldest of three siblings, Elsie knows exactly what to credit for her longevity. ‘I’m fortunate,” she said. “I don’t take any tablets, I haven’t seen my doctor in years…

“I have a lovely life. I get up when I like, I go to bed when I like,” she added with a twinkle in her eye. “My daughter says I mustn’t do something or other, but when she’s not there I can please myself.”

Elsie’s earliest memory is watching a German Zeppelin crash to the ground when she was about four years old.

“I woke up and the room was lit by a red light,” she recalled. “When my dad realised I was awake he said ‘come and see because you’ll never see anything like this again’.

“The basket had caught alight and the flames were going up and I saw it burn, fold and crash down. I was about four. I didn’t think about the men in the basket.”

She went out the next day to find it but did not know where to look – but it was not the last time she would hear about it. When she married for a second time at the age of 85, she moved to Cuffley, Hertfordshire, where the remains of the airship had landed.

“I went out for a walk and saw a stone plaque. When I went to have a look, it was where the Zeppelin had come down,” she said. “It had taken me 85 years to find it!”

Sharp as a tack, Elsie left school at 14 without any qualifications, saying she always strived to be top of the class but was always thwarted by one girl. “I was always next to her – sometimes only by one point – but I never beat her.”

After all these years does she remember her? “Betty Enderby.”

After leaving school, Elsie went to work in a silk factory until she married George in 1930. The couple had four children – Barry, who died, aged 48, and Sharon, Graham and Adrian, who all live with in a stone’s throw of each other in Hoveton. She also has 11 grandchildren but says she has lost count of the great-grandchildren.

She enjoyed bringing up her family as well as working, including as a cashier in the canteen at Legal & General for many years. George, who had been a fireman, worked as a gardener until they decided – aged 68 and 70 – that it was time to take a break.

“But then we were sitting there one day and I said ‘We’re wasting our lives, what can we do?’,” she said. The answer came in an advert for a gardener and a cleaner.

The couple had always enjoyed dancing. Elsie made her own dresses and was a regular winner at fancy dress contests. Even after she was widowed she carried on dancing – which is how she met her second husband when she was in her 70s.

“I went sequence dancing with my sister and her husband, and one night the hall was double booked so we went somewhere else,” she said. “We all sat in different places and Arthur came and sat near me. We got talking and when we went back to the usual hall he didn’t go back to his usual place…”

The pair were dancing partners for seven years but she eventually gave in to his proposals when she was 85, moving to Worlingham, near Beccles. “They read the banns on Sunday and we were married three weeks later. He didn’t let the grass grow.”

Elsie moved to Hoveton when she was widowed 17 years ago. And she thoroughly enjoys her life, spending time with family, doing her crosswords and visiting garden centres – although she does complain of forgetting things at times. “Every day is a holiday,” she said. “And it suits me a treat.”

Cool customers needed for Norfolk competition

Electrical retailer JB Postle has a cool competition with a Norfolk theme this summer.
They want people to make use of their artistic skills to create a wrap-around design on a Smeg fridge. The only criteria is that the design has to be Norfolk linked hence #FabNorfolk as the competition title!
Nikki Filby said: “The design #FabNorfolk could be anything people associate with our lovely county, maybe Cromer Pier, the crabbing industry, the lovely landscape, the seaside, our iconic buildings in the city or just simply a chance to promote your Norfolk Charity, Business or Organisation”
The competition, which runs now until September, has two winning categories – an individual entry and one for organisations. The group category could mean a business, charity or sports organisation and you can enter as many times as they wish!
The individual winner will receive a bespoke day or night out in Norfolk for four people worth at least £200 and will depend on the interest and age of the individual winner! It could be anything from a trip to the zoo or a night out on the town! Whatever you choose, you are guaranteed to have fun in our home county!
The group design chosen will receive £200 to donate to a local Norfolk charity of their choice, so if you want to raise money for an important cause, get your thinking hat on!
“We wanted a way to engage with the community and celebrate our wonderful county so we thought this would be a great way to find out what Norfolk means to people whether they live here or are visiting” said Nikki.
JB Postle have a Smeg blackboard fridge which has been touring JB Postle’s local branches in Aylsham, Cromer, Sheringham and North Walsham and has even been seen on Cromer Pier. The team will be taking the fridge to Worstead Festival on July 29 and 30 where there will be some surprises on the day and a chance to take part in the competition.
Nikki said any business which might like to have the fridge to visit them should get in touch to give staff the chance to get artistic with chalk pens.
The competition was launched on Cromer Pier and entries have now started to come in.
“We’re really looking forward to seeing what people come up with,” said Nikki. “Look out on social media for news!” You can follow each of the JB Postle branches on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by searching @JBPostle
Call the Cromer store on 01263 512134 to find out more about hosting the Smeg blackboard fridge and if you would like to volunteer as a competition judge, call Nikki on 01263 735326.

Free child seats checks

Norfolk County Council’s road safety team and crews from Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service are once again taking to the road during the school holidays to host more than a dozen free child car seat checks across the county.

More Norfolk children are killed or seriously injured whilst in a car than they are as a pedestrian or cyclist. One in three child car seats are incorrectly fitted in Norfolk but almost all of these can be fixed immediately.

Child car seats are a legal requirement in the UK and make children far less likely to be seriously hurt in a collision. But they must be correctly fitted and adjusted to offer maximum protection, and it is easy to get it wrong. The events are running until August 16, 10am until 2pm at the locations listed below.  Families are invited to come along to get their child seats checked and to ask our team of experts about any aspect of road safety.
The county council’s road safety experts are also using the 18 free child seat safety checks to encourage parents to keep children rear facing in the car for much longer than families traditionally do in this country.
Scandinavian countries routinely keep their children in a rear facing seat until they are four or five years old. Research proves this is five times safer than the UK approach of putting a child in a forward facing seat at around nine months old.
Iain Temperton, the county council’s road safety manager, said: “I would urge anybody carrying young people to visit one of our events. It will only take five minutes but that will be time well spent if it improves the safety of the next generation of road users.”
Alistair Steele, consultant anaesthetist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn said: “During my time as an air ambulance doctor and as a trauma doctor I have seen too many children severely injured from car accidents. In addition to the messages about driving safely we really want to help parents and carers get the right advice about child safety in cars, and there is a confusing array of restraints and booster systems available.
“The best thing to do is to take advice from a professional car seat fitter to ensure you’ve not only chosen a safe seat but also it is installed correctly.”
Child seat safety check events are taking place in the following locations from 10am until 2pm:Mon 24 July  Norwich – Tesco Harford Bridge
Tue 25 July  North Walsham – Sainsburys
Wed 26 July Sheringham – Tesco
Thu 27 July Aylsham – Tesco
Fri 28 July  Stalham- Tesco
Sat 29 July Holt – Budgens
Mon 31 July Norwich – Longwater Sainsburys
Tue 1 Aug Wymondham – Waitrose
Wed 2 Aug  Thetford – Sainsburys
Thu 3 Aug Diss – Morrisons
Fri 4 Aug Great Yarmouth – Asda
Mon 7 Aug Dereham – Tesco
Tue 8 Aug Downham Market – Tesco (2pm-6pm)
Wed 9 Aug Kings Lynn – Sainsburys
Thu 10 Aug Fakenham – Tesco
Fri 11 Aug Swaffham – Tesco
Tue 15 Aug Norwich – Sprowston Tesco
Wed 16 Aug Norwich – Hall Road Asda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sign up now for summer holiday sports challenge

The summer holidays are on their way – what are you going to do with your time?
A full week of active, healthy fun will be on offer this summer for young people who sign up to Challenge 23.
Challenge 23 is an action packed week of sporting activity for children aged six to 14, based at Stalham Sports Centre.
For the 23rd year this summer North Norfolk District Council’s expert coaches will create a whole week of fun games, sports and activities, in the form of the ever popular Challenge Week.
Challenge 23 kicks off on Monday, August 7, and runs every day until Friday, August 10, It costs £90 per head.
The week combines a safe and welcoming environment, the chance to make friends, excellent coaching and lots of opportunities for adventure. Days run from 9am-3pm, except for Friday which is 8am-5pm.
Friday will include a trip to the Horstead Centre and include canoeing, crate stack, tower experience and team challenges.
This will be followed by an end of week presentation back at the sports centre and a party for everyone to enjoy.
Maggie Prior, cabinet member for leisure, health and wellbeing, said: “Challenge Week is a fabulous, excellent value opportunity to take exercise all week, trying out different sports, games and activities, while having a thoroughly enjoyable and fulfilling experience.
“It’s delivered by our highly talented staff who know how to combine learning new skills with lots of fun.”
There is a Challenge 23 open day in advance of the full event where you can come and meet the team, learn all about Challenge, ask questions, sign up and try out activities for free. This will be held on July 16 10am-2pm, at Stalham Sports Centre.

For further information, there is a dedicated Challenge 23 event page on Facebook, visit www.north-norfolk.gov.uk/book, call 01692 580864 or email john.hall-galley@north-norfolk.gov.uk.

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 gangstagranny@birminghamstage.com 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 www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk or call the box office on 01603 630000

 

REVIEW: Running Wild is ‘a feast for eyes, ears and emotions’

The Children’s Touring Partnership took to the stage in Norwich last night with Running Wild, an adaption by Samuel Adamson of the Michael Morpurgo book of the same name.
This was a feast for the eyes, ears and emotions. Laughter, sadness and at times fear are felt through the scary rainforest adventure of of nine-year-old Lilly. The story has a serious message of both animal conservation and relationships and love, between humans and animals – elephant Oona, who is puppeteered by four people,  orangutans, a tiger, a crocodile and rainforest birds.
The audience is totally immersed into the sights and sounds of the Indonesian rainforest. The clever set design and lighting along with the sound effects add to the experience. The physical theatre skills of all the puppeteers was pure genius. You literally watch them breathe life into the puppets… they actually come to life before your eyes. I became so invested that I no longer saw the puppeteers.

The movements, motion and animal sounds are created by the cast and you just know that they must have spent hours watching and researching real animals in order to recreate and mimic.

A special mention must go to 12-year-old Annika Whiston, who played the lead role of Lilly and rarely left the stage. She portrayed the role beautifully and with great maturity. Every emotion and relationship she had I felt, bringing me to tears, more than once, much to my own daughter’s horror.

Morpurgo was inspired to write this modern-day Jungle Book by the real-life story of Amber Owen, who was on holiday in Phuket with her mother and stepfather in 2004, and enjoying an elephant ride on the beach when the Boxing Day tsunami hit.  The elephant ran inland and saved her life. When the author read of Amber’s story, he said it was “the one bit of hope amid the destruction”.

The production will be working during the tour to support the Born Free Foundation’s global elephant conservation projects.

There has been great take up by schools with a number of performances throughout the day times but it is most definitely not just for children.
There are still tickets available, if you have not seen it then I urge you to make the time. I promise you will not be disappointed. It will make you laugh and possible cry but most of all it will make you think.

A must-see piece of theatre.

 

Running Wild is on until April 29. Wed, Fri and Sat 7.30pm, Wed & Sat 2.30pm, Thur 11am. Tickets £7-£21.  BOX OFFICE 01603 630000.  www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

 

KIM and RUBY CHAMBERS

 

 

 

 

 

Pictures: Dan Tsantilis

Employers encouraged to shape next generation in North Norfolk

Employers will be given the opportunity to help youngsters increase their understanding of the world of work via a series of events organised by North Norfolk District Council.

Held in partnership with the New Anglia Enterprise Adviser Network, they will crteate an opportunity for employers to meet staff from the district’s schools and colleges.

The events – which are free – will explain to businesses how to become an Enterprise Adviser, promote and highlight the benefits for businesses that work with young people, and build on the skills and enthusiasm of North Norfolk’s young people.

Businesses that want to find out how to prepare and shape the next generation of employees and entrepreneurs can book a place and then head along to The Atrium in North Walsham tomorrow (April 25), Cromer Academy on Wednesday (April 26) or Fakenham Academy on Thursday (April 27). All three events are at 4.30pm-6pm, and refreshments will be provided.

There will be the opportunity to network with businesses that are already working with schools in North Norfolk, and learn about the activities that businesses can deliver. These range from work experience and workplace visits – which will suit larger businesses – to mock interviews, mentoring and talks, which any business can offer, including small businesses and the self-employed.

Enterprise Advisers are volunteers who use their strategic knowledge and experience to help senior staff in schools draw up a careers delivery plan for students aged 11-18.

To find out more or to book a place, please contact the Economic Growth Team at economic.growth@north-norfolk.gov.uk or on 01263 5166009.

CCTV appeal following alcohol and cash theft in Hoveton

Police are appealing for help to identify a woman following an incident in Hoveton earlier this month.

Between the times of 7.20pm and 7.30pm on Sunday 2 April 2017 a quantity of alcohol and cash has been stolen from the VB of Wroxham Ltd store in the Riverside Centre.

Officers would like to speak with the woman captured in the CCTV images in connection with the incident.

Anyone who may recognise her, or anyone with information, should contact PCSO Laura Charter at Hoveton Police Station on 101.

Alternatively contact the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via their anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.