Aylsham’s Alice Hoare commemorated with blue plaque

The Broadland District Council Blue Plaque Scheme launched today (11 January), with the unveiling of three plaques commemorating women from Broadland’s past who made valuable contributions to their community.

Alice Hoare, Lucy Sewell, Mary Sewell, Margaret Sewell, and Anne Wright were selected to be the first people memorialised by a panel made up of Broadland District Council’s Chairman, Heritage Champion and Economic Development Portfolio Holder, with the help of information provided by the council’s Economic Development and Conservation teams.

The Blue Plaques, which were made by local business The Anglia Sign Casting Company, were unveiled by Broadland District Council Chairman Judy Leggett, Vice Chairman and Member Champion for Heritage Karen Vincent, and Portfolio Holder for Economic Development Jo Copplestone at a special event in Hayman Lodge, Catton Park.
The plaques will be installed in early 2019 in the parishes that have relevance to the women being commemorated – Old Catton, Buxton and Aylsham.

The launch focused on celebrating the achievements of remarkable local women as a way of honouring the recent centenary celebrations of the first women to vote. Future plaques installed as part of the scheme will commemorate both men and women from the district.

Broadland District Council Chairman Judy Leggett said: “This very special initiative commemorates notable people from all walks of life, who have made an important contribution to our district historically. With the first plaques we are installing, we hope we have created a fitting tribute to women who made an impact on the lives of others. They stand out in Broadland’s history for different reasons but they all shared a common desire to help those less fortunate in their communities.”

Broadland District Council Vice Chairman and Member Champion for Heritage Karen Vincent added: “We are very grateful to the kind contributions of many of our local parish councils, the record office, volunteers, families of the women, and other organisations who helped us research the lives of the women we unveiled plaques for. We’re looking forward to exploring the backgrounds of more people who served their communities throughout our district’s history and the panel is ready to welcome more submissions.”
In attendance at the event was Chloe Smith MP, relatives of Alice Hoare (one of the women being honoured), children from Sewell Park Academy, local historians, and councillors.


Launch of the new Broadland District Council Blue Plaque Scheme at Hayman Lodge in Catton Park. The first 3 plaques in the scheme were unveiled by Judy Leggett, Broadland DC Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Member Champion for heritage Karen Vincent and Portfolio Holder for Economic Development Jo Copplestone.

Mark Wallinger’s latest work arrives in Aylsham

One World, a new work by internationally-acclaimed artist Mark Wallinger, has arrived in Aylsham as a football!

The work was commissioned by Liverpool Biennial and 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary and was inspired by the famous Christmas truce of 1914, when soldiers from both sides emerged from the trenches and met in No Man’s Land to exchange gifts and play football.

Wallinger has taken the football itself as his canvas. He has transformed it into a globe of the world using photography courtesy of NASA. He also takes inspiration from the celebrated image of earth taken during the Apollo 8 lunar orbit on December 24 1968. Captured at the moment of earthrise, it is an image of enduring beauty, depicting a peaceful planet floating in the vastness of space.

The Football Foundation, which has thousands of grant recipients across the country, selected Aylsham Community Sports which runs Youngs Park, home of Aylsham FC at random, to receive two of the balls. They will be on display at Youngs Park for a period before a decision is made about what to do with them.

Mark Wallinger said: “It is just over 100 years since the Armistice was agreed in 1918, and 50 years since the earthrise photograph was taken on Christmas Eve 1968. One World is my contribution to the legacy of those precious moments – spreading a message of peace for the world. Time to stop fighting and start playing; playing the beautiful game. Let’s take that image of a precious and fragile world into the future and celebrate the joy of playing together.”

Stephen French, Chairman of Aylsham Community Sports (Youngs Park), said: “We are delighted to have been chosen to receive two of these specially-commissioned footballs.

Youngs Park is open every weekend and anyone is welcome to come and see them”

Christmas birds to go under the hammer in Aylsham

A Christmas tradition which is now in its 66th year is to take place on Thursday 20th December, when hundreds of turkeys, geese, chickens and ducks from local producers go under the hammer at Keys annual Christmas poultry sale.

The annual sale dates back to 1953, when Geoffrey Key held the first Christmas sale just months after the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The sale has taken place at Keys’ Aylsham saleground in every year of the Queen’s reign, and is traditionally the firm’s last sale of the year.

Hundreds of people are expected to descend on the town to bid for the birds
– mostly private individuals there to buy the main attraction for their Christmas lunch.

The majority of the birds, which include Norfolk Black and Bronze turkeys, and free-range geese and ducks, have been raised by small-scale local farmers.

Keys director Kevin Lines said, “We love the Christmas poultry sale, as it really marks the start of the festive season for us – and for the many, many people who come to the sale to buy the bird which will be on their Christmas Day table.

“It is really nice to bring together local producers and local consumers, especially in these days when people want to know where their food has come from. It remains very popular with farmers and producers, as well as those who come to bid.

“Unlike much supermarket poultry, those coming to our sale will know exactly who has raised their bird, and in many cases will be able to chat with the producer themselves.

“Our business has been transformed in recent years by innovations such as online bidding, but it is good to see some traditions living on and remaining very popular.”

Keys started out in 1953 as a small livestock market selling mainly poultry, and by the end of the 1950s had become one of the largest of their type in the country. A young Bernard Matthews purchased his first turkeys from the firm.

The Keys annual Christmas poultry sale takes place on Thursday 20th December from 11am. Viewing of the birds on offer starts at 9am on the morning of the sale. More details at Auctioneer David Gould on the rostrum at the Keys annual Christmas poultry sale[/caption]

Use your phone in Aylsham church on Sunday!

Using a smartphone during a church service? It’s no longer a cardinal sin in Aylsham where Sunday (November 25) morning’s congregation will be encouraged to look at their screens and send messages as they sit in the pews.

Rev Canon Andrew Beane will be using the latest Swedish technology at the 10.15am service to find out what his parishioners think.

As churchgoers arrive at St Michael’s parish church they will be able to download a free app and enter a code displayed on a screen.

During the service Canon Beane will be asking various questions and, by pressing buttons on their smartphones, the congregation’s answers will be almost-instantly recorded and displayed for all to see, for example in the form of numbers and bar charts.

The “interactive presentation platform” is called Mentimeter and is widely used in business boardrooms but is a rarity in British churches.

Nicholas Baines, a spokesman for Mentimeter, said: “It’s breaking the taboo of using phones in church. I believe Andrew might be talking about perceptions of Advent and his questions will be around that theme. Depending on people’s answers, he might adapt his sermon. It allows him to interact with his congregation virtually instantly.”






Dancers tap towards world record

Around 60 tap students recently took part in a nationwide event to try and break a world tap dancing record.

The Tapathon event was in aid of Children in Need and raised funds through T-shirt sales and sponsorship.

Tapathon is held in hundreds of different locations throughout the UK and involves dancers of all ages and fitness levels in attempt to break a world record as well as raising funds for the BBC charity.

The current world record is 7,596 dancers all doing the same routine to the same music.

The Aylsham part was hosted by Broadland School of Dance and took place at the ACT Centre last Sunday afternoon.
Before the record attempt, the students were also invited to the regions recording of Children in Need live from Norwich Castle. Some of the students and dance teacher Michelle appeared on the TV.

Whilst hopeful that this year’s attempt is good enough to beat the current world record, the dancers will have to wait a week or two for the exact number of participants to be verified.

Katy Carroll, who owns the dance school in the town, said she was delighted with how the day went: “A big thank you to all of my tap dancers. Today has been so much fun and everyone had a big smile on their face as well as having them painted like Pudsey Bear!”

The Tapathon dancers

Michelle with dancers at the BBC broadcast.

Police appeal on A11 crash involving young Aylsham woman

Police are renewing their appeal for anyone with information about a serious road traffic collision on the A11 this month to come forward.

A black Renault Clio and a white Vauxhall Corsa collided near to Station Lane in Ketteringham at approximately 8.30pm on Thursday, October 11.

The driver of the Vauxhall Corsa, Laura Bocking, age 21, of Aylsham, is in a stable but critical condition at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. She has life-changing injuries.

The driver of the Renault Clio was uninjured and their passenger received minor injuries.

The occupants of the Renault, a man and woman aged in their 20s from Norwich, were arrested on suspicion of burglary and causing serious injury by dangerous driving. They were taken to Wymondham Police Investigation Centre for questioning, and later released under investigation.

Officers are still carrying out enquiries and have spoken to a number of witnesses but are appealing for anyone who has yet to come forward or who may have dashcam footage to contact PC Gemma Hamilton-Rout at Wymondham Roads and armed policing team on 101.

Just Regional celebrates first decade!

Yes that’s right, it was 10 years ago when the first issue of Just Aylsham first popped through letterboxes.

For those who don’t know the story, business owner Lee Todd was keen to see a local magazine full of local stories for his home town and so the idea of the hyperlocal Just name was established.

The Aylsham magazine was soon joined by one dedicated to North Walsham and the business then expanded along the coast, into other parts of Broadland and finally around the outskirts of Norwich.

Today, the Just magazines hits 50,000 dooormats in 10 areas, with free pick-ups in libraries, information centres and shops.

Just Regional serves 10 towns and city suburbs in Norfolk with four-weekly titles (three-weekly in Aylsham) and also covers all of those communities with Summer and Christmas special publications.

Built on a belief that hyperlocal news can be presented using high specification paper, quality journalism, excellent photography and professional sales, the business has grown from two part-time staff to 10 office staff and 120 distribution staff with their offices in Aylsham, a location central to all of the areas covered.

Lee said: “We’ve done an incredible job in Norfolk showing how hyperlocal can work, in a competitive marketplace, both for advertisers and readers.

“A lot of publishers have talked about hyperlocal for a long time – we have actually done it and made a success of the model.

“However we couldn’t have done it without our advertisers who have supported us right from day one. A big thank you to them and a happy anniversary to us!”

A big fan of the publications is BBC Radio Norfolk presenter Nick Conrad, who said: “Just Regional produce outstanding magazines run by wonderful people who love and champion their towns and villages. As the owner of a local business who has worked with Just Regional, these guys really get behind you and believe in you. Over the past decade they have woven themselves into the fabric of the communities they represent”.

The first issue of Just Aylsham from October 2008.

Aylsham business man jailed

A man has been jailed for four years after he stole nearly half a million pounds from his elderly mother to pay off loans and fund his lifestyle.

Gary Woodley, 66, of Norwich Road, Aylsham and formerly the owner of The Forge and Aylsham Garden Centre, pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position and theft following a previous hearing at Norwich Crown Court.

The court heard how Woodley became a power of attorney, along with his brother, for his mother in 2013 in relation to property and financial affairs after 89-year-old Kathleen Woodley was unable to do this herself and was moved into a care home.

In February 2016, Woodley’s brother raised concerns and invoked his power of attorney after significant withdrawals of money had been taken from a number of the victim’s bank accounts over a number of years. In total Woodley stole £480,000 from his mother.

Police were informed and Woodley was arrested on September 15, 2016. He was subsequently charged on December 19, 2016 with one count of fraud by abuse of position and one count of theft.

Mrs Woodley sadly passed away during the investigation in March 2017.

Today (Thursday, October 11), Woodley was sentenced to four years for count one and 12 months for count two to run concurrently. A Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) confiscation hearing will take place in due course.

Det Con Bridget Milne, from Norfolk Constabulary’s adult abuse investigation unit which carried out the investigation, said: “Gary Woodley abused the position that he held as power of attorney to his elderly, vulnerable mother. Instead of managing the victim’s money in her best interests and providing for her, Woodley used the money very much to further his own lifestyle.

“Norfolk Constabulary will continue to work with partner agencies to protect the most vulnerable members of our community from these types of crimes.”