Successful start for recycling scheme

Broadland residents have played a role in the early success of a new kerbside recycling scheme.
In the first week alone, Broadland District Council collected more than 2,000kg of textiles, five large wheelie bins of batteries and enough small electrical items to fill 110 240-litre sized bins.
Councillor Judy Leggett, Broadland’s portfolio holder for Environmental Excellence, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the amazing response.
“Our residents rightly care about the impact they have on the environment and they are the best recyclers in the county.
“The new service has made it easier for them to recycle even more and divert waste, which is fantastic for our residents and the county!”
The new weekly collection service launched on April 4, allowing residents to leave out small electrical items alongside their rubbish and recycling bins.
People are asked to group the items and tie them up in separate carrier bags to be put next to the bin and left out by 6.30am on collection day.
Only items in standard plastic bags (not black sacks) will be collected. For larger items, the council offers a household bulky waste collection service for £28.80 for up to three items and £9.60 per additional item.
Broadland has also announced the launch of its new contract for all waste collection services, including street cleaning, with Veolia. The 10-year contract started last month and has an option for an extension of up to a further 10 years.
Cllr Leggett said: “We’re very pleased to be continuing our very successful working relationship with Veolia through the award of this major new contract.
“The contract brings together an excellent service for residents with innovative new approaches, which will help to make our waste and recycling services more effective and even more environmentally friendly.”
Every vehicle in the fleet is fully powered by Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), a bio-based liquid fuel made from vegetable oils and animal fats.
For more information about Broadland’s waste collection services, see

GREEN MACHINE: Cllr Judy Leggett with one of the new vehicles fully powered by HVO.

Dances from the movies

Dancers from across north Norfolk, including Aylsham and Wroxham, will be taking part in a stage show featuring routines from famous movies.
The Movie Magic show, being staged by the Broadland School of Dance, will be held at Norwich Theatre Royal on Sunday, May 1.
Students from across north Norfolk attend the school and more than 200 will take part in the Theatre Royal production.
They will perform routines from a selection of iconic films including Encanto, Pirates of the Caribbean, Shrek and many more.
Performances will take place at 2.30pm and 7pm. See for ticket details.

Huby clocks up 1000th game

Forty-eight years ago, Stephen ‘Huby’ Hagon made his football debut in the North East Norfolk League.
Now, nearly half a century on, Stephen has just clocked up his 1000th appearance in the league – at the age of 64.
But Stephen’s amazing longevity in the game doesn’t end there as, in fact, he’s played more than 1,700 games in total due to his added involvement in Sunday veterans’ football.
Stephen, who lived in Aylsham before moving to Oulton Street, was given the VIP treatment and made captain for the day as he turned out for Erpingham Reserves against Hemsby on April 16.
“It was fantastic and quite an emotional day,” said Stephen, who currently plays at full-back. “There were a lot of people watching and it was a beautiful sunny day.”
Father-of-two Stephen was presented with a special commemorative shirt, with the words Huby 1,000 written on the back, and he received an ovation when he was substituted after an hour. Erpingham lost the game 9-2 but Stephen still loves playing the beautiful game whatever the scoreline.

“Sometimes I can’t believe it,” added Stephen, whose nickname comes from his father Hubert.  
“I don’t know where the years have gone. As long as I can run up and down the pitch and don’t make myself look too stupid, I will carry on.

“I’m playing against kids whose fathers I used to play against and they turn up and say ‘Huby, are you still playing?’”
Stephen made his debut in the North East Norfolk League for Marsham on March 9, 1974. He came on as a winger in the game away to Trunch, which Marsham lost 6-0.
As well as Marsham and two spells at current club Erpingham, Stephen has turned out for Aldborough, Corpusty, Aylsham Wanderers’ A, Gimmingham, Happisburgh and Buxton. On Sundays he plays for Erpingham Veterans and Cromer Crab Veterans.

He has a career total of 57 goals and he has been sent off just once.
Stephen, who was a gardener for the National Trust at Blickling Hall for 47 years, added: “I enjoy every game I play. I just love my football and it’s not always the winning that matters – it’s the taking part.”

SPECIAL DAY: Stephen ‘Huby’ Hagon made his 1,000th appearance in the North East Norfolk League. PHOTO: SUSAN LEDGER

“These people could be us”

When Darren Ward saw what was happening in Ukraine following the Russian invasion he knew he wanted to do something to help.

But initially he didn’t envisage that he would be driving to Poland with more than three tonnes of aid and replacing it with Ukrainian families fleeing the country to live somewhere safe.

“We were on holiday and saw the news that Russia had invaded,” he said. “We thought we had to do something to help these kids and women. We couldn’t just sit and do nothing.”

An appeal was started around the area, with clothes, toys, medical items and toiletries and sanitary goods flooding in. Darren took a week off work at 24-7 Taxis and, together with his friend Adam, set off in a van and a minibus bound for Medyka, a town on the border between Poland and Ukraine where thousands of families have ended up.

“We got there and there were all these people. Droves and droves of people,” said Darren. “An old guy and his wife had walked 67 miles with just a handbag. He looked me straight in the eye and asked if we could take them. We already had mums, kids, dogs… that was the worst bit, the look on that guy’s face.”

The two men did manage to take several families away and on to Krakow or to railway stations, where they made sure they got safely on the train. He said they were also constantly reassuring them that they were not like the people traffickers and other “shady” men with vans he saw at the aid centre

“The kids were on their phones to their dads and we were telling them that they were safe, that they were OK,” said Darren. “It’s a real hot mess out there. They came out with nothing – one young mum and her kids came with just a Trunki and a rucksack.”

The following day they went back to take more families from Medyka. “I hadn’t driven all that way just to get two people out,” said Darren, who has accused the UK government of not doing enough to get more of the displaced families back here or sending more aid where it is needed.

“There’s so much space there – they could easily land a helicopter with loads of aid.”

And with flights from Krakow to Luton costing “about £12” he said more people could be helped if visas were easier to get.

But in the meantime he plans to do more. He flew back, leaving Adam and the vehicles there to help others, but with diesel for the one-way trip alone costing £2,000, he is turning his attention to helping people when they arrive here.

“We have appealed for things which they need when they arrive. They have left with nothing and need all sorts of things. Anything unwanted can be sold to raise money to buy what is needed.”

He has not ruled out another trip – this time with more people.

And to make this possible he is hoping to get sponsorship from local businesses and hear from others who would like to join him.

“I’d like to have two teams of a bloke and a woman, which is more reassuring,” he said. “You can’t see it or smell it or feel it here in Norfolk and we can’t keep turning on the news and doing nothing. These people were going to work, having a coffee, living their lives one day, and the next they had nothing. They are just like us. It could BE us.”

To offer to help Darren, or to see what donations are needed, email or call 07916 247247. There is also a GoFundMe page – https://gofundme/3ee09901 – where you can donate and find out more about how local people are helping.

Award for taking the lead in sustainability

The Bure Valley Railway won a top honour at the Heritage Railway Association Annual Awards last month for its work on sustainable steam.

The railway was the winner of the HRA Award for Environmental Innovation thanks to taking a leading role in the development and trialling of e-coal – a project becoming increasingly relevant with the end of UK coal supplies and European supplies restricted following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Andrew Barnes, managing director, said: “We are proud to be taking a leading role in the environmental sustainability of steam railways and at the same time be recognised as one of the top steam railways in the country.”

E-coal is made of waste biomass from the olive oil production process, which is blended with coal dust – both of which would otherwise go to landfill – giving a 42pc reduction in carbon dioxide.

The trials, which are ongoing, have the engagement and support of The Advanced Steam Traction Trust, the Heritage Railway Association and Network Rail.

The railway was also runner-up in the HRA Outstanding Visitor Attraction category.

At the other end of the line, at Aylsham station, The Whistlestop Café has reopened with a new menu of homemade cakes and a loyalty card for frequent travellers.

It will be open seven days a week, with special events also lined up.

Coal Trials at Bure Valley Railway

Storm set to batter Norfolk

Norfolk is bracing itself for the arrival of Storm Eunice, with winds of up to 80mph set to hit the county.

Public transport has been disrupted and many attractions have closed their doors as everyone battens down the hatches in preparation for what meteorologists say will be the worst storm to hit the UK in decades.

The county has been put under an amber warning, meaning it is quite likely that bad weather will affect people, possibly including travel delays, road and rail closures and power cuts.

It is still clearing up in places from Storm Dudley, which battered the coast last weekend and resorts including Cromer and Sheringham are ready for another pounding.

Cromer bore the brunt of Storm Dudley and is now ready for another battering from Storm Eunice. Photo: PAUL MACRO

Trains services have been disrupted with some services being cancelled and others changed to hourly or two hourly. Greater Anglia is asking people not to travel unless they have to and to check before setting off for the station.

KLM has announced that it will have no flights in and out of Norwich airport and motoring organisations and the police are telling folk to take great care if they have to travel on the roads.

All Norfolk’s recycling centres will be closed all day, as will all Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserves. Breydon Water has been closed to boats and Blickling Estate, Wroxham Barns and Bewilderwood have also shut up shop.

Love Light Norwich, an illuminated display on the city’s most iconic buildings has also been called of tonight but it is still scheduled for tomorrow.

The main force of the storm is set to hit around noon.

Shows Are Just The Ticket

A comedy romp set in north Norfolk is one of the highlights of the new season put on by Norwich Theatre this spring.
Showing at Norwich Theatre Playhouse in April, The Birds and the Bees is one of a great selection of drama, singing and dancing being shown there and at the Theatre Royal.
James McDermott’s new version of the 2016 Canadian play relocates the action to north Norfolk for what is described as a “hilarious comedy romp” which “tackles topics of sex, love, science, family, and the artificial insemination of turkeys”.
The play – a collaboration with Ipswich’s New Wolsey Theatre and Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds – is on stage from April 20 to April 30.
Stephen Crocker, chief executive and creative director of Norwich Theatre, said: “The spirit of determination and love for theatre unites all three venues, and The Birds and the Bees will offer audiences good light-hearted fun, which is just what is needed right now.”

Other feel-good shows planned for the new season include The Addams Family (at the Theatre Royal, April 26 to 30); The Magic of the Beatles, which pays tribute to the fab four at the Theatre Royal on May 11; a night of music from Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons in Big Girls Don’t Cry on May 18; and the sounds of the Beach Boys in Good Vibrations on July 20.

Frankie Howerd was one of Britain’s best loved comedians for many years but he had a secret life nobody knew about. The story of his clandestine life with Dennis – which lasted from the 1950s until Frankie’s death in 1992 – is told in Howerd’s End, a new play at the Playhouse on May 26.

The year also promises interesting “Evenings With…” including one with Andrew Cotter and his two labradors, Olive and Mabel.
The sports broadcaster added a new string to his bow during lockdown when his online contests between his dogs captured the heart of the internet. All three will be at the Theatre Royal on May 9.

May 15 sees Gill Sims – the woman behind the hugely popular Peter and Jane Facebook page – being interviewed on stage.
Dates have also been set for some 2023 performances, including Rambert Dance’s Peaky Blinders: The Redemption of Thomas Shelby from January 17 to January 23 and the eagerly anticipated Broadway and UK smash-hit musical Sister Act, which will run from January 9 to January 14.

Tickets are on sale now and can be bought from the Norwich Theatre box office on 01603 630000, or visit where you will find more details of the performances.

Former youngest mayor of Cromer to lead North Norfolk District Council

Tim Adams, who in 2015 was the youngest ever mayor of Cromer, has been elected unanimously as leader by the majority Liberal Democrat group on North Norfolk District Council.

He will be nominated as council leader at the meeting of the authority on February 9, following the resignation of Sarah Butikofer due to personal issues.

Tim said: “North Norfolk District Council is a successful and award-winning council. Looking ahead, we have a number of outstanding major tasks to complete before the election in 2023, but clearly lots of aspirations for what we will be looking to achieve after.”

Tim Adams will be nominated as the new leader of North Norfolk District Council at the next meeting.

Paying tribute to Sarah Butikofer, he said: “I wish to pay tribute to Sarah. She has shown immense strength through some incredible challenges, from the early collapse of the previous Conservative administration to the district council’s response to covid, and everything in between.

“The Council has won awards for the help we were able to give to local businesses and managed to maintain many essential services where other councils in the UK have really struggled.

We delivered the Reef swimming pool in Sheringham despite all the shortages of building materials, but the delivery of additional temporary housing and further developments in our services to help households in need are especially close to my heart.”

He said the party was intending to take more action on the environment, adding that the council was “about halfway towards planting 110,000 trees” as part of its bid to cut carbon emissions.

In addition to representing Cromer on the district council, he is an elected Norfolk County Councillor and remains a Cromer town councillor.

Tim set up the successful Cromer Cares Charity and sits on various other voluntary and community groups.

He also drew attention to plans which will deliver the next budget shortly. The Local Plan, significant coastal protection works between Mundesley and Cromer, more inward investment into North Walsham, and the continued work to upgrade of public toilets are all ongoing projects.

Sarah Butikofer said: “I am delighted that Tim has been selected by the Liberal Democrat councillor team to become our new group leader. I congratulate him on his election and look forward to proposing him to take over as leader of the district council.

“I have immensely enjoyed working with him and know the residents of the North Norfolk can rely on him to take us all forward.”

She will continue as a district councillor for the Runtons and Beeston Regis.