Delight at Anglia in Bloom ‘gold’ for Aylsham

It’s Gold for Aylsham’s entry into the Britain in Bloom Anglian regional competition!

The awards day was held in Bury St Edmunds and Aylsham in Bloom team members were delighted to receive the award on behalf of all the many people of Aylsham who had helped make it happen.

Chairman Wendy Sadler said: “I am thrilled to report that Aylsham was awarded a gold Medal at the award ceremony. Thank you so much to all the folk who worked so hard to achieve this outstanding result.

“As well as entering the general competition we also put forward several projects for Special Awards.  We did not win any of these but I am pleased to report that two of them got to the shortlists. They were:

  • The Weavers’ Way conservation project
  • The Aylsham High School “Green Plan It” challenge

“This was a significant achievement. We saw pictures of all the shortlisted projects and the standard was very high so we should be proud that these projects were included in the shortlists.”

The judge’s comments on Aylsham’s entry were very complimentary. They particularly highlighted the outstanding displays arranged and sponsored by the businesses, which included the Unicorn Pub, Broadland Consultants (by the “blue loos”) Postle’s Henry’s and Budgens new display. They were also amused by the Inside Out displays such as the floral frames outside Broadland Framers. Aylsham Heritage Centre and the parish church’s Repton200 Festival were also highlighted, as was the Repton-themed Humphry Hare.

Marks also went to children’s and young people’s projects so the judges were pleased to see the Cub’s Drill Hall planting, the work the Scouts had done on Weavers’ Way and the Aylsham High School pupils joining in the Marriott’s Way work.

The Aylsham in Bloom members attending the awards – Wendy, Shelley, Judy and Ian – thought Aylsham should be doubly proud of its achievements as it is all done on a voluntary basis with minimal funding.

They said, “It was obvious that many of the entrants were run and funded by professionals via their local authorities. These spend thousands and thousands of pounds to achieve the same result as us so we ought to be proud that our small number of Aylsham volunteers can encourage so many of Aylsham’s residents, businesses and organisations to contribute to Aylsham’s brilliant offering. You are all Gold Stars!!”









Aylsham in Bloom traders’ prizes announced

Tubs and baskets spilling over with colourful blooms have earned the Unicorn pub top prize in Aylsham in Bloom’s 2018 traders’ competition.

It’s a second triumph for the Hungate Street pub, which also won the Outstanding Floral Display plaque in 2016.

The impressive displays, set against the pink pub walls, are the work of Sue and Will Frazer who run the Unicorn.

There were 35 entries for the competition and Richard’s Hair Design, on Blofield Loke, was runner-up. Judge Steven Downes congratulated the winners on their wide variety of plants and the fact that they had  kept displays well watered and dead-headed.

He asked that The Dog Stop and Broadland Consultants should receive highly commended certificates.

Coxfords butcher, on Market Place, won the Inside Out prize, with Bonds Chip Shop, on Red Lion Street, as runners up. Highly commended certificates went to Budgens and the Aylsham and District Ex-Servicemen’s Social Club.

Wendy Sadler, chairman of Aylsham in Bloom, praised all those who had entered the competition.

“The colours and vibrancy, plus the wittiness of some displays, benefit the town’s appearance and make people smile,” she added.

Anglia in Bloom judges visited the town last month and the town will hear in September whether it has won a prize in the regional competition.



Shirree Russell, who works at The Unicorn, with some of the pub’s floral displays.






Bouquet of praise for Aylsham from judges

Anglia in Bloom judges visited Aylsham on Friday July 20, and were delighted with the town’s efforts in the annual regional competition.

The pair, Chris Durham and Nolan Mills, toured Aylsham in bright sunshine to view its many displays, sustainable planting and other projects.

“It’s all very, very good indeed – I’m very impressed with how you’ve kept the centre of town so clean and tidy,” said Mr Mills.

And his colleague added: “Community spirit and enthusiasm were on show right through our route – the schools, traders making an extra effort to make it look so attractive around the Market Place – so much drive and pride everywhere, it’s such an achievement.”

Their judging route included Marriott’s Way – where Aylsham High School pupils have helped clear brambles to allow wild flowers to grow – the new Bure Meadows pill box memorial garden, the allotments, Humphry Repton’s grave in Aylsham churchyard, and ended with lunch in Aylsham Heritage Centre.

Wendy Sadler, chairman of Aylsham in Bloom, is crossing her green fingers that the town has done enough to earn more recognition in the strongly-fought contest. Aylsham’s first entry, in 2016, saw it take home a prestigious Silver Gilt award.

“We thought we’d have another go at getting top marks this year as so much has been going on, especially with the Repton Festival,” she said.

Aylsham had played a key role in celebrations to mark the bicentenary of the death of Repton, the famous landscape gardener, and the judges had taken away a festival guide packed with events.

“Keeping everything watered when we haven’t had rain for so long has been a struggle,” she added. “We’ve had as many people involved as possible doing extra.”

The judges said they would be making allowances for all entrants’ drought-hit outside areas such as parks.

Aylsham will have to wait until September 12, when the regional results will be announced at Bury St Edmunds’ Apex Theatre, to find out whether it’s won another award in the Small Towns category.

Pictured: Wendy Sadler, chairman of Aylsham in Bloom, with Anglia in Bloom judges Nolan Mills (left) and Chris Durham. Also pictured: a post box and flower display outside Aylsham Town Hall.















Young Aylsham YouTuber’s success story

How do you cope when all of a sudden your life completely changes? From a quiet schoolboy to a worldwide famous YouTube star, this is the reality for Dom Lawrence, DomVlogs. He spoke to classmates Sophie Smith and Evie Cowling.


Young vlogger Dom Lawrence has gone from an unknown schoolboy to a national name due to his pranks, challenges and personal stories filmed for the internet.

Dom has been filming since 2010 and, so far, his channel has attracted 322,000 loyal subscribers.

Dom is a 15-year-old boy who lives in Aylsham and goes to Aylsham High School as well as being a YouTuber.

He said: “I have been interested in YouTube since I was young, watching various different YouTubers such as Shane Dawson and Saffron Barker.”

He was inspired by his friends and people he was watching at the time and his skills and content have become more advanced over the years, gaining him more and more followers.

Dom describes his channel in three words – fun, creative and exciting – and describes himself as fun, adventurous and creative. That’s all present in his videos.

Dom worries that his channel affects his school life, with late-night editing and attending YouTube events when he should, perhaps, be doing homework or focusing on school.

But sometimes his attention on school and exams isn’t his main priority when his channel is involved. Dom admits that school hasn’t been the easiest since he started his channel and, despite him receiving a lot of nasty backlash and negative comments, he says he “wouldn’t change it for the world”.

He has had plenty of support, especially from his family who think what he is doing is “incredible”.

With his most successful video reaching more than six million views, his work is very popular and this is just the start. Dom has gone on to have many partnerships and collaborations, and has attended the most famous YouTube event ever this year, pushing him and his career further into the spotlight.

In 20 years’ time Dom hopes to be presenting and acting and still creating content for his 322,000 fans with that figure still rising. For new and upcoming YouTubers Dom’s advice is: “Be yourself, be confident and don’t follow the crowd.” He also said from experience: “Never let any hate or backlash affect you.”

For our final question in our interview we asked Dom: “If you could be any Disney character, who would you be and why?”

“The genie from the movie Aladdin released in 1992,” he said: “Because I could finally be free.” This is how Dom feels about his channel being open to the world and having opportunities for him to express himself without being confined in a bottle.

Hare-Raising Sunday morning of family fun in Aylsham

Aylsham Market Place will be packed with family fun and games this Sunday morning, June 24.

The Hare-Raising Sunday action is centred on Humphry Hare, the town’s very-own GoGoHare, who will be officially unveiled at 9am outside Barnwell’s newsagent, where the town Christmas tree usually stands.

Humphry’s unveiling will be the cue for the fun to begin, lasting until midday. It includes a giant skittle alley, children’s crafts and games, a teddy tombola, card game, Aylsham Gym activities, face painting and a Hare and Snail race where everyone can place small change on the line beside either an ornamental hare or snail who will then race along a marked course. The Royal British Legion (RBL) will also be running a pop-up Poppy Shop selling RBL merchandise.

At 9.30am Aylsham High School’s drama group will sing, followed by Bure Valley School’s choir at 10am and the Broadland School of Dance will perform two dances at about 10.15am.

There will be Country Market tasters to sample and the chance to take part in Aylsham’s Snail Trail – finding a coloured, laminated collection of paper snails dotted around businesses in the town. Each snail bears a letter of the alphabet and all together they spell out a phrase.

All the activities are outdoors while bacon rolls and a tuck shop will be available in the town hall.

Painted by artist Lisa Kirkham, Humphry is one of 18 decorated models dotted around the county, as well as 50 in Norwich, plus 164 Norfolk leverets, forming part of this summer’s GoGoHares trail in aid of the charity Break, which supports vulnerable children and young people.

Hare-Raising Sunday has been co-ordinated by Aylsham Town Council and involves 17 different local organisations. They will be raising money for their own causes and making a donation to Break.

The entire Norfolk GoGoHares trail also launches on Sunday at 9am and the hares, including Humphry, will be in place until September 8. County-wide trail maps will be available in the Market Place.

A tantalising glimpse of Humphrey’s eye – the only part of him that’s been revealed so far!

Norfolk library events help loneliness misery

Research has shown that loneliness can be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and is associated with depression, high blood pressure and dementia, according to Margaret Dewsbury, chairman of Norfolk County Council’s communities committee.

Since Norfolk County Council launched its In Good Company campaign to tackle loneliness in the county, the library service has more than doubled the number of events it runs which are suitable for people who may be experiencing loneliness or social isolation.

And from June 21-23 more than 20 council libraries will be hosting In Good Company events and activities as part of the national Great Get Together project.

It’s an approach which earlier this year drew the praise of Arts Council England which highlighted the way it was helping to build community cohesion and promote positive ways that people can connect with their neighbours – recognised nationally as the most important way of tackling loneliness and social isolation.

Jan Holden, head of libraries and information, said: “From afternoon teas, knit and natter and board games to colour me calm sessions and book groups, our regular programme of events encourages people to enjoy the company of others whilst taking part in a fun activity or simply chatting over a cuppa.

“For the Great Get Together weekend, we’ve incorporated some extra events into our programme, including Open Gardens at Blofield, Making Music Day at Aylsham, and a sing along and invitation to write a letter to an isolated person at Hunstanton.  We hope lots of people will come along and join – it’s a great way to connect with people and make new friends.”

The first Great Get Together took place last year.  It was the idea of the friends and family of murdered MP, Jo Cox, to mark the first anniversary of her death.  The event aims to bring friends, neighbours and communities together to celebrate everything they have in common.

Councillor Dewsbury added: “Loneliness is a major national issue and we know that it affects people of all ages.

“We are leading the way with our In Good Company campaign and recently announced £2.4m funding to tackle loneliness in the county.  Over the next three years we’ll be working with partner organisations to develop new and innovative ways of improving the health and wellbeing of people affected by loneliness and social isolation in our communities.

“It’s great to see our libraries taking part in the Great Get Together again this year and offering such a varied range of events and activities to help to ensure that no one needs to spend a lonely day in Norfolk if they don’t want to.”

For more information about how you can get involved with In Good Company, visit

For events and activities in Norfolk County Council’s libraries visit

For more information about the Great Get Together visit


Winner of Aylsham by-election announced

Liberal Democrat candidate Sue Catchpole (pictured) has won a seat on Broadland District Council to represent Aylsham.

She gained 1,018 votes in yesterday’s (May 24) by-election in the town. Conservative Hal Turkmen came second with 865 votes and Labour’s Peter Harwood was third, with 328 votes.

The turnout was 34.13pc and there were six spoilt votes.

Sue and her husband Richard have lived in Burgh Road, Aylsham, for four years, moving from Hellesdon where she was a parish councillor.

She has two adult sons and used to run a village shop and Post Office servining Bradfield and Antingham. Since then she has started a business in machine manufacturing (Samplex, now Tekpro, in North Walsham).

More recently Sue has had a small tourism business arranging and managing coach tours to France.

She volunteers part-time with a local advice agency.


Traffic fears over extra car boot sales

Fears over traffic problems and safety have been raised after the town’s car boot sale was granted permission to open on a second day.

The sales, on Burgh Road, near the junction with the A140, are already held on Saturdays but will now be held on Mondays also – and residents and town councillors are concerned that it will lead to problems with traffic, parking and general safety.

But the organiser said he believed the fears are unfounded and that it would be nowhere near as busy as the Saturday events.

The application had been turned down by Broadland District Council but has now been approved after an appeal. Sales will be held on Mondays from the end of April.

Residents have taken to social media to vent their concerns and a statement from Aylsham Town Council said that members had looked at the application in detail and still believed it should have been refused.

The boot sale site is near to the high school and, as vendors could set up from 7am, the council feared that they could be arriving around the same time as children were being dropped off at school. There were also worries over commuters on the main and busy road between Cromer and Norwich.

“Although a car boot sale is held on this site on a Saturday, the pressure on the roads at the weekend is not as great nor is there the same level of time urgency for arrival at work,” said town clerk Sue Lake.

The petrol station and drive-through coffee shop is also accessed by the same junction via the new roundabout and Sue added: “This application was made prior to their opening and, again, we do not have full details of the impact on traffic flow these will have.”

Parking for the sales had previously caused problems and the new application says there is parking for more than 600 cars, which has raised fears of roads being blocked and residents being inconvenienced.

But organiser Dave Penrose, who has run the sales for many years, believes that the Monday sales will attract fewer people than the Saturday events and will not cause the problems people are predicting.

“There will be no more traffic than for the Aylsham sale,” he said. “And it won’t be as busy as Saturday.”

He said previous parking problems had now been curtailed thanks to better signs around the site.

The Highways Authority had said that peak times for the car boot sale would be from 11am when buyers arrive, but the town council says this is “naïve”.

“Buyers arrive far earlier than this to try and obtain bargains. Also the larger traffic, ie the sellers in vans, will be arriving and leaving at peak time which will coincide with both the start and finish of the school day.

“The Town Council have looked at this application in detail and still retain the view that the application should be refused. The main reason is related to the highway issues,” said Sue.