Can you walk like a Jedi?

A Jedi Walk at Eaton Park must be up there with the best ways to spend a Sunday for many boys and girls. It certainly would have been for Finnbar Cork!
The fundraising event will take place on Sunday, May 21 and is being organised by Finnbar’s mum and dad, Tristan and Claire, to raise awareness and hopefully a bit of money for the charity they have set up in his memory.
Sadly, Finnbar died, aged five, last August – less than 10 months after the first symptoms of what was ultimately diagnosed as a terminal brain tumour.
His family are determined to do everything they can to do something good in Finnbar’s name and memory.
“Finnbar loved Star Wars,” explained Tristan. “From about the age of three he liked nothing more than dressing up in his Stormtrooper and Darth Vader outfits.
“By the time Force Awakens came out he was so excited. We took him to the cinema to see it in November 2015, which was when he first started getting dizzy spells.
“That Christmas, all he wanted was Star Wars stuff. We must have watched Force Awakens 100 times when it came out on DVD – it was a big part of our last few months with him.
“We were looking for a name for the charity, and we knew that we wanted to do some Star Wars themed events, and the idea for Finnbar’s Force popped up.
“We hope that we can use his force to make things better for other families that find themselves going through similar, heartbreaking situations, and ultimately to bring about an end to childhood brain tumours.”
Since Finnbar passed away the family has received more than £12,000 in donations, and Tristan and Claire have put a lot of thought into what Finnbar would have liked when coming up with ideas for events.
Even his funeral was Star Wars themed, with his dad and other family members flying him into the church in a special X-Wing coffin to the Star Wars music.
“We want to create fun events for children in return for donations and think the Jedi Walk at Eaton Park will really ignite the kids’ imaginations,” said Tristan, who grew up close to the park and, despite now living in Hethersett, also spent a lot of time there with Finnbar.
“We have such a connection with the park; I spent a lot of my childhood there, it was the last place Finnbar rode his scooter, and I think it’s the best park in Norwich.”
Everyone is invited to come along anytime between 10.30am-1.30pm and complete the hunt for Star Wars characters. Don’t forget to dress up and bring a picnic (and your lightsaber). The start point is opposite the children’s play area and the suggested donation is £2/3 per child/adult.
The family are holding various activities throughout the year, including a family activity day at Eaton Vale on September 10.
For full details visit the charity Facebook page

Finnbar enjoying the play equipment at Eaton Park.

Finnbar Cork with mum and dad, Claire and Tristan, and his sister, Nell.

Finnbar in his Darth Vader costume.

Reunion: CNS class of ‘79

The 1970s are back… at least for the CNS class of 1979, with former Eaton CNS students heading back from half-way across the world for a reunion on May 28.
Who remembers the ‘S’ year production of Oliver, lunch in the Barn, making the Jubilee mosaic or Mr Wilkinson’s purple crimplene trousers?
The Class of ’79 and those who carried on into sixth form, leaving in 1980 or 81, will gather at the Unthank Arms and the organisers are keen to spread the word to anyone from their year.
The reunion has been organised by former students, brought together by Donna Jayne Leverett, who now lives in Australia but set up a Facebook group last year. “I come back to Norwich regularly, and I’m still best friends with people from my class at CNS,” said Donna. “Many have stayed in Norwich, but others have gone as far afield as Dubai, Canada and The States.
“Catching up has been quite surprising at times, but we’ve all found we have more in common than we expected.”
Nick South, from Norwich, is one of the people helping to organise the night and will be running the disco, replete with hits from the days when many attendees had a little more hair and a little less waistline. “We’ll be meeting at the Unthank Arms from around 6pm onwards and everyone’s welcome – including families and children,” said Nick.
“It’s been a long time and not everyone from our year photo is still with us, so we want to make the most of meeting up now. We can guarantee we’re a friendly group and we’d love to see everyone!”
Anyone who’d like to find out more is welcome to check out the Facebook group: CNS – the Class of ’79. Tickets for the evening are £18.50, which includes a barbecue and disco.
For PayPal payment details, please email and Andy Langran will send you the paying details. For those without PayPal, please email Andy or Nick South ( directly, and chat through other means of payment.

Organiser Kathy Fricker (nee Potter) middle row, third from left, Gordon Chambers top row, third from left, will be coming over from Canada and several others in this photo are planning on attending the reunion.

Front row, fourth from left is Donna Jayne Leverett, with Dawn Coleman (nee Metcalf) to her left, who are responsible for coming up with the idea of a reunion. Jayne Boyden (nee Middleton) is on Donna’s right, Andy Langran (back row, third from right) although living in Wales, is another major organiser for the reunion, just in front of him is Radhika Holstrom, who has been helping with organising, and to the right of her is Nick South, who will be the DJ on the night. Centre of the middle row is Jenny Bartlett, who is currently living in Dubai but will hopefully attend the reunion.

GET-TOGETHER: A group of former CNS students are organising a reunion, (left to right) Rebecca Calcutt-Saunders (nee Bartram), Nick South, Kathy Fricker (nee Potter), Donna Jayne Leverett, Debbie Calver (nee Heyhoe), Jayne Boyden (nee Middleton) and Les Rix.

Ofsted joy for CNS

Following an Ofsted inspection in October 2016, the City of Norwich School, An Ormiston Academy (CNS) has announced the findings of the first Ofsted report since its conversion to an academy.

The overall grading of the Academy is ‘Good’ with ‘Outstanding’ judgements in Leadership and Management, and Personal Development, Behaviour and Welfare. The academy’s popular and successful sixth form is also graded ‘Good’.

The Academy was last inspected in 2013, when it was rated as ‘Requires Improvement’, and therefore the latest inspection marks a key milestone in the academy’s development.

The report highlighted many of the strengths at CNS including:

“Leaders work tirelessly towards fulfilling the motto of ‘excellence in all.’”

“Effective teaching has a positive impact on learning and pupils make strong progress in a wide range of subjects as a result.”

“Pupils feel safe and are well looked after in the school.”

“Pupils look after the school site very well and are unfailingly polite and courteous to adults and each other.”

“From their different starting points, all the differing ability groups in the school make strong progress. The most able pupils consistently make the greatest progress.”

“The progress of students currently in the sixth form is accelerating and they are making good progress in a wide range of subject areas. Disadvantaged students make particularly strong progress.”

“Governance is highly effective.”

“Governors undertake their responsibilities rigorously.”

In particular, the leadership of the academy was picked out as a key strength, with the inspectors finding “the excellent leadership of the Headteacher, Head of school and other senior leaders, has precipitated the academy’s rapid improvement”.

Furthermore, the Academy has been shown to be an excellent place for teachers to progress their careers. The report found that the “academy’s professional development programme is meticulously tailored to help improve the skills of individual teachers” which has led to a high retention rate of staff.

The support from the academy’s sponsor Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT) was highly praised, with the report stating that it has been successful in supporting the Academy’s improvement, and “the reciprocal sharing of effective practice across the trust academies has contributed significantly to raising standards and motivating staff.”

Jim Nixon, Headteacher at CNS said: “As always, I feel incredibly proud of the school and it’s great to receive such glowing praise for the excellent work that takes place at CNS on a daily basis, both in the main school and in the sixth form.

“From my own point of view, what was particularly pleasing was how our personal development, behaviour and welfare was graded outstanding. It reflects the importance that we place on the care and welfare of our young people.”

Nicole McCartney, Managing Director of Ormiston East said: “Since joining Ormiston Academies Trust, Jim Nixon, Jo Philpott and the CNS team have worked hard to create a learning community that is vibrant, supportive and challenging.

“This report clearly highlights the quality of provision at CNS, and reaffirms its 106 year old tradition and its motto ‘Excellence in All.’ ”

Toby Salt, Chief Executive of Ormiston Academies Trust said: “We are thrilled with the progress made at CNS and we look forward to continuing to support the staff team to ensure that all students have access to an excellent education.”

Eaton CNS

Eaton CNS

Running mates go the distance

A group of friends have passed the final milestone in their efforts to run a total of 2016 miles in memory of a pal from their student days, who died 10 years ago.

They celebrated completing the challenge by completing the 2016th mile together at the Norwich parkrun at Eaton Park, on Saturday, October 8.

Their aim was to collectively run 2016 miles this year to raise £2,016 for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust in memory of their friend Steph, who had cystic fibrosis (CF) and passed away 10 years ago.

The group knew Steph from their time together studying at UEA, and most of the miles they’ve run have been in and around Norwich, where many of them still live.

While the majority of the miles have been on ‘solo runs’, they have also participated in several local races, including Wymondham New Year’s Day 10k, Norwich 10k, Ipswich half marathon and the Bungay Marathon.

Mike Jones, team captain, said: “Steph was part of an amazing group of friends I’ve been blessed to have since I first came to Norwich to UEA to study in the nineties. Whilst some have moved away, we’ve all remained close ever since, and it really hurts to remember how losing friends this way makes you feel.”

“We worked out that we’d reach the 2016th mile together after about one lap, so we all ran together until then, and then finished off all at our own speeds. Those that were able then came back to our house to refuel and wind down.

“We’re all really proud of what we’ve achieved but we’re not stopping with the challenge until the end of the year. We’re not setting a new team target but several of us have personal targets we’re chasing as well. Jonathan has set himself a target of 1000 miles by the end of the year and myself and Andreas are aiming to reach 500 miles. We’ve got a few more formal runs left and some of us should be at a final park-run on New Year’s Eve to mark the end of the year and the end of the challenge.”

The group consists of Andreas Paterson, Chris Coleman, Christopher Puttock, Dan MacMillan, James Harvey, Jonathan Jenkyn, Malk Smyth, Mike Jones (team captain), Rachel Jones and Tracey Goodson.

Visit the team’s fundraising page at or follow their progress on Twitter at @2016for2016, which includes updates on team mileage.


It’s going to be wheely fun!

Pop down to Eaton Park on June 4 and you will see a whole load of students in fancy dress, racing around in wheelbarrows!

This is the 10th year that the UEA Enactus Society and the Union of UEA Students have organised the successful “Pimp My Barrow” event, raising money for local cancer charity Big C. Around 1,500 students are expected to take part, with teams donning fancy dress and joining a parade through the golden triangle, stopping at Eaton Park at around 3pm for wheelbarrow races, before a pub crawl to The Farmhouse, The Garden House and The Black Horse pubs.

Pimp My Barrow was a concept devised by two former UEA students Paul Wheeler and Tom Tapper to raise money for charity, raise the student profile in the city and have some fun.

The amount raised has increased each year, with the 2015 event bringing in an impressive £10,821, adding up to a total of £58,798 over the 10 years.

Yinbo Yu, activities and opportunities officer at The Union Of UEA Students, said: “This is such a fantastic event which raises so much money for Big C every year. Our students love this event, it raises money and it’s fun!

“Many of the local community come out to watch the parade go by, also donating to the cause which helps to build a carnival atmosphere.”

Big C will also be in attendance and available to talk about their aim to support cancer patients in Norfolk and to fund research for treatments.

Dr Chris Bushby, CEO of Big C, said: “Who would have thought that racing a dressed up wheelbarrow whilst wearing fancy-dress would be such a fantastic fundraiser? Not me!

“I am full of admiration for the enthusiasm and energy of all the UEA students who have staged this fabulous event through the parks and streets of Norwich, raising vital funds and promoting awareness of Big C. For 10 years they have been helping to ensure the best outcomes for those affected by cancer.

“Big C enjoys many close links with UEA and has funded cancer research involving most of its schools of science. We have also recently established a new focus for research into cancer genetics and prostate cancer at the Norwich Science Park. I look forward to continuing our close partnerships both in research and with the barrows for years to come.”


Park café gets new lease of life

New tenants have been found to take on the popular café in Eaton Park and it’s due to open at Easter.

Cellar Boy, which owns The Bicycle Shop on St Benedicts Street, will be opening the doors to Eaton Park Café as it takes on premises based in the Grade II listed building.

The company was chosen from nearly 150 applicants to run the venue and provide a high-quality facility for the residents, visitors and community groups that enjoy the park every day.

Councillor Keith Driver, Norwich City Council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety, said: “The team from The Bicycle Shop has the passion and local knowledge to build on the park’s existing community and to establish the café as a thriving and vibrant venue for everyone to enjoy. I can’t wait to join them for a celebratory cuppa!”

Rob Howe, owner of The Bicycle Shop, said: “I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity to run Eaton Park Café. I, and everyone who works at The Bicycle Shop are excited to start work within such an amazing space.

“I look forward to teaming up with Friends of Eaton Park and collaborating with the clubs and societies operating in the park. Also I hope that now, as someone working in the park, I might get discounted rides on the park train…”

Helen Mitchell from Friends of Eaton Park said: “We’re really looking forward to the café re-opening and think it will have been well worth the wait. Rob and David have fantastic experience and a great track record in the city already. What’s more, they are clearly entranced by the café building. They got the importance of the community side of the café and they’re already ahead of the game when it comes to using local suppliers, recycling and being energy efficient.

“As well as good food and a warm welcome we think Eaton Park Café will now have a real chance to develop a character all of its own and that it won’t be long before it comes to be seen as a destination in itself.”

Eaton PArk Art-66

Escaping Hitler – Norwich man’s life story told

Long-time Eaton resident Joe Stirling has recently seen his life story completed by Norwich writer Phyllida Scrivens and published by Pen and Sword Books.

Escaping Hitler: A Jewish Boy’s Quest for Freedom and His Future traces the remarkable life of 91-year-old Joe, who came to England from Nazi Germany in 1939, aged 14, on a Kindertransport.

He subsequently settled in Norfolk, destined to become a leading member of Lions International, pioneering travel agent and ultimately Sheriff of Norwich in 1975.

Joe and Phyllida met when Joe was a “book” in a Human Library session at the UEA. The Human Library is an international equalities movement that challenges prejudice and discrimination through social contact. Just like in a real library, a visitor to the Human Library can choose a book from a range of titles – the difference is that books are people, and reading is a conversation.

“Phyllida happened to pass our area and noticed my book title ‘Refugee from Nazi Germany’ and came to ‘read’ me,” explained Joe.

“There was not enough time to get very far and she came to my house for a longer chat. She then explained that she would like to use my ‘story’ for a biographical project. That meeting became the first of regular weekly session for many months.

“I had written a basic factual record for my children, but Phyllida required a depth of detail much beyond that.

“She visited the German village where I was born and the nearby city of Koblenz (by coincidence the twin city of Norwich), where she met students who I had assisted in learning about victims of the Nazi period. She also contacted numerous people who remembered me from my English school days and my later involvement in our Norwich community.

“I was very keen to get sight of the biography – what someone else could make of it all!

“To experience the physical presence of the book was and still is stunning. So is the flow of warm responses by early readers.

“I am deeply grateful to Phyllida for devoting so much time, expense, and above all so much understanding of a foreign village boy making a life for himself in warmhearted England.”

Phyllida said: “It has taken four years to bring together the many aspects of Joe’s remarkable life. It is an inspirational tale of determination, courage and resourcefulness.”

Following his marriage in 1946 to an Attleborough girl, Joe settled in Norwich and has lived there for more than 60 years, predominantly in Eaton.

“I researched the life and times of Norwich throughout four decades, discovering original documents and newspaper reports,” said Phyllida. “I was delighted when Shirley Williams, who once worked with Joe, agreed to write the foreword.”

During 2016, Phyllida and Joe have more than 20 public speaking engagements in Norfolk, Gloucestershire and Germany.

“I have been invited by the Mayor of Nickenich, Joe’s birthplace, to present the book to the residents. Joe is as excited as I am about the prospect of his story being returned to his homeland.”

Escaping Hitler is now available from Norwich bookstores and online. For a copy signed by both Phyllida Scrivens and Joe Stirling, buy direct from Phyllida.  Full details on her website at or call 01603 300212.

Joe Stirling

Joe Stirling

Eaton playground project reaches funding stage

Children could soon be enjoying a new play area on Eaton Green thanks to a project by the Eaton Village Residents’ Association (EVRA).

Back in 2013 the EVRA committee looked at various aspects of the village to identify where they could make a difference, and playgrounds was one such area.

“A survey of facilities found that we had three play areas only suitable for very young children and one play area, Eaton Green, that only had very basic facilities for older children,” said Chris Stebbing, EVRA vice chairman. “It was decided to explore improving the facilities at the larger Eaton Green play area to make this more family friendly and provide new play equipment.”

A meeting with Norwich City Council highlighted that there was no money around to provide new play equipment but that the council would support EVRA in any way they could. The council also advised that EVRA should conduct a survey to get residents views on the play area and what sort of improvements they favoured.

The survey took place in Autumn 2014 and the responses supported providing better play facilities at Eaton Green. The survey also highlighted that many residents visited Eaton Park or Cringleford recreation ground because of the better play facilities and that little use was made of the local facilities in Eaton Village.

In May 2015 EVRA invited the children at Eaton Primary School to design their ideal playground based on the ideas and suggestions from the survey and the whole school got involved. The best design was selected from each class and representatives from EVRA attended a morning assembly to present prizes to the winners.

The designs were compiled into a “wish list” and were used to seek detailed designs and quotations.

“We received quotations at the end of the summer and now know that it will cost around £50,000 to provide and install the equipment for the ideal play area,” said Chris. “EVRA does not have that sort of money, but we know that there are various funding bodies and trusts that give grants for community projects such as ours. So we are now building a funding case to submit to such organisations early in 2016.

“However, not everything has to be done at once and we could make initial changes and then add to these in coming years.”

EVRA continues to work with the city council to get their approval and support for the plans. The council will assist with the procurement process, replace the boundary fences and take on responsibility for maintenance of the new equipment.

“The current site and facilities look somewhat bleak and uninviting and yet it is conveniently located within the village and has a nice open setting with views across to Keswick Hall,” said Chris.

“Our aim is to provide a range of play facilities for children of all ages so that families can enjoy their visit to Eaton Green and save the drive to other play parks. We will also provide seating and some form of shelter/shade for visitors making this a good spot for a picnic.”

As well as seeking funding from organisations, EVRA welcomes donations from local residents to help fund the project. Contributions can be made via the EVRA postbox in Waitrose. Cheques should be made payable to Eaton Village Residents’ Association. EVRA will post updates on the EVRA website at and also on Facebook.

eaton playground