Adrian in the saddle for Edinburgh Fringe

Norfolk Youth Musical Theatre director Adrian Connell is taking to his bike to fund ths group’s latest visit to a national theatre festival.
He is currently nearing his target of raising £1,500 to enable the group to take its production of Battle of Boat’ to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Adrian will be completing a fundraising cycle ride from Sheringham to Norwich (37 miles) on Sunday, May 27.
He currently has £964 towards his target.
He said: “All of the cast members have paid for their own accommodation and travel and we are now trying to raise money to pay for venue hire, royalties, radio mics, printing and all the other additional costs associated with putting on a show at the Fringe. They have raised most of it but are £1500 short. Please help me help them to achieve their target.”
Charlie Windle (13), from Norwich, who plays the part of Beagle, did a similar bike ride for 25 miles and raised £472 for the trip. Also Mabel White (11), from Aylsham, who plays Florance, did a bake off at her primary school and raised £54. Both are going to Edinburgh. The group also raised £1,046 at a quiz nigh towards the total needed of £2,500. “So we are nearly there, about £500 to go,” said Adrian.
He added: “I am astonished by the amount of support I have received. I thought the ride would get around £200/£300 but so far people from local choirs, friends who have seen shows and many people who were involved in it have donated.”
Norfolk Youth Music Theatre first performed The Battle of Boat at the Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich in November.
It is a new musical set in a seaside town on the English south coast in 1916. The carefree happiness of a group of young children is short-lived as they find themselves discovering more and more about the First World War that is unfolding around them.
It was written by Jenna Donnelly and Ethan Lewis Maltby, who have been writing together for several years, creating original cinematatic musicals.
Adrian, the former head of music at Broadland High School, started Norfolk YMT in 1995, seeing scores of youngsters getting the chance to perform well-known and more obscure musicals on stage. It’s now his 23rd year and he has directed more than 70 shows. He has been teaching piano privately since he was 19.
He said he enjoys cycling but said: “I like cycling along flats, rolling downhill and walking uphill. I take my bike to Derbyshire and do some tracks and also the bike will go to Edinburgh for some rides around North Berwick.”
As for training, he says: “Whichever way you leave Sheringham you start with an hour uphill. You’re knackered before you start!”
People can donate via JustGiving Crowdfunding Page at Also see more at


Token way to help Holt Rugby Club

Holt Rugby Club is bidding to bag a cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative.
Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch its community funding scheme, which sees grants of £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000 raised from carrier bag sales in Tesco stores awarded to local community projects.
Three groups in every Tesco region have been shortlisted to receive the cash award and shoppers are being invited to head along to Tesco stores to vote for who they think should take away the top grant.
Holt Rugby Club will use any money awarded towards its plans to upgrade its changing rooms with new showers and toilets.
Treasurer and project manager David Hitcham said: “Over the last two-and-a half years we have spent nearly £500,000 from our own money and donations from members and various grants, to fully refurbish and extend the clubhouse and ancillary facilities.
“Apart from the normal rugby activities, we are regularly hiring out these facilities to members and the local community. We continue to raise money and the completion of the changing rooms upgrade will bring everything up to the same standard. We hope to carry this out during the summer. This is required for large rugby festivals where we have touring sides from throughout the country staying locally and using many local facilities, and use by caravan clubs and cycling events.”
Voting is open in all Tesco stores throughout March and April. Customers will cast their vote using a token given to them at the check-out in store each time they shop.
Tesco’s Bags of Help project has already delivered more than £43 million to more than  10,000 projects up and down the UK.
Alec Brown, head of community at Tesco, said: “We are absolutely delighted to open the voting for March and April. There are some fantastic projects on the shortlists and we can’t wait to see these come to life in hundreds of communities.”
Groundwork’s National chief executive Graham Duxbury said: “We’ve been thrilled to see the diversity of projects that have applied for funding, ranging from outdoor classrooms, sports facilities, community gardens, play areas and everything in between.
“We’re looking forward to learning the results of the customer vote and then supporting each group to bring their project to life.”
Funding is available to community groups and charities looking to fund local projects that bring benefits to communities.
Anyone can nominate a project and organisations can apply online. To find out more visit

Fundraising ball in memory of Lillie Mae

A couple are holding a ball to mark what would have been their daughter’s 10th birthday and to help other families suffering from the devastation of losing a baby.
Sharon and Dave Goddard are hoping lots of people will join them at the Holiday Inn North, in Hellesdon, on September 23, to remember Lillie Mae, who was stillborn.
They never knew why their first daughter lost her life before birth, but they still remember every passing milestone and anniversary.
Sharon said: “We thought that as it would have been her 10th birthday we wanted to do something quite significant. If she had lived we would be having a big party for her getting into double digits so we will be having this.
“It’s very weird to think 10 years have passed,” she added. “Sometimes it’s like it was only yesterday.”
The ball will raise money for SANDS, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, and Nelson’s Journey, which helps children come to terms with bereavement.
Sharon was a volunteer with Nelson’s Journey when she was pregnant with Lillie in 2007 and the charity has also helped the family.
Sharon and Dave have two other children – Amelia, aged seven, and three-year-old Archie – who have been told about Lillie.
“They know they have a big sister in Heaven,” said Sharon. “Amelia gets upset at times and although she never knew Lillie she grieves for her. She also lost two of her grandparents recently so she has had a lot of grief in her life but she copes really well – and they helped her.”
Some 15 families suffer the devastation of losing a baby through stillbirth and neonatal death every day – a number which is dropping, but which still leaves a trail of heartbreak.
Sharon hopes that the Lillie Mae Ball will raise £1000 for each charity and around half the tickets have already been sold. But she said there’s plenty of space for more.
“It’s really going to be an amazing night,” she said. “It’s in a very good cause and we think it will be very special.”
Tickets cost £40 per person, including a three course meal, entertainment from Agent Orange, an auction and a raffle for some special prizes.
To book, email or call Sharon on 07984 201492.

Aylsham High students take to catwalk

Year 11 students from Aylsham High hit the catwalk on Friday to raise money for their summer prom.

The students modelled prom dresses and suits from The Wardrobe in Horsford, then showed more casual wear from Blossom and Green in Aylsham and Roys of Wroxham to raise £1,800.

Organiser Diane Wade, from the school, said: “It was just so lovely to see the Year 11s relaxing as they prepare for the busiest period of their school career.”

She added: “It was fabulous to work with alumni as our sound and lighting guys, all of whom are now going off to study film/theatre production at uni or in the case of James Hubbard, to a full-time apprentice cameraman at Epic Studios.”

The funds were raised for the Class of 2017 Prom, on July 1 at Mannington Hall, and also a donation is made to Water Aid.

The next event on the prom fundraising calendar is An Auction of Very Real Things at the school on Thursday, May 4. Browsing will be from 7pm and the first lot goes under the hammer at 7.30pm.

For more information emal




It’s a ‘mad’ challenge for Rebecca

Maddermarket general manager Rebecca Wass is taking on a huge challenge to raise much-needed funds for the threatre.

On Sunday (January 28) she will be running 48 miles along Pedders Way in 12 hours.

Rebecca felt the need to take on a super tough challenge to try and raise much needed funding to repair the heating system and toilets.

She said: “We are in need of vital funds to repair the building. With a quote of over £50,000 just for the toilets alone, I knew I had to do something.  The theatre holds a special place in the volunteers’ hearts and I know from talking to the actors, set painters and stewards that it is considered a second home. I wanted to try to find a way to help, not just from my role as GM but also as someone who loves the theatre. So I decided to find the biggest challenge I could. A friend suggested the Pedders Way, though I must admit I’m not sure if I will consider them a friend at the end of it.”

The challenge is to complete 48 miles by foot from Knettishall Heath to Holme next to the Sea in under 12 hours. “I know this is going to be really tough, the furthest I have done in training is 27 ½ miles but I did do two marathons in two days between Christmas and New Year. I have to admit that wasn’t a pleasant experience but I was back at work the following day, albeit it with a slight hobble,” said Rebecca. The challenge is even tougher as competitors have to carry all their supplies with them, including waterproofs, water and food as the checkpoints are 12 miles apart.  Rebecca is hoping the weather will be good and not snowing as it did two years ago.

The Maddermarket is a registered charity, and unlike other many other producing houses in the country, they do not receive funding from the Arts Council or the government and therefore rely on audiences buying tickets to see the shows.

The theatre is one of the largest producing houses in the UK with 12 in-house productions a year and therefore the costs mount up to keep the shows at such a high quality.

The theatre is a hive of activity and acts as a second home to a lot of volunteers, actors and educational students that are part of the team at the Theatre.

If you would like to sponsor Rebecca you can via her everyclick page or call into the theatre.

Contact the theatre for more info on 01603 626560


Full colour for Big C at Hoveton Hall

There a chance to bring some colour into the lives of cancer patients as Big C launches its first ever Colour 5K fun run at Hoveton Hall Estate.
It doesn’t matter if you have never run before, the idea is to get into the outdoors and have some fun, walking or running around the woodland course and support Big C. It is not a speed trial or race. Colour bandits blast different colours of paint at every 1km interval to transform white T-shirt wearing participants into individual moving works of art and encourage them on their way.
The route is off-road on a woodland trail, promising glimpses of the Repton-designed Hoveton Hall between the trees. There’s even a special separate 1km course for little legs aged over six who will run their race first at midday.
Spaces are limited and with just four weeks to go, prospective participants need to act fast.
There will be plenty of family entertainment throughout the day so runners are urged to arrive early to collect their free Colour 5k T-shirts, Big C headbands and goody bags. Warm ups for both distances begin at least 15 minutes before the start.
Face-painting, rodeo bull, bouncy castle, hot and cold local food and drink stands, outdoor games for children are among the attractions. Each vendor is also donating 10% of its profits to Big C.
Big C events manager Dan Bell said: “It’s not too late to get into training. If you’ve never entered a sponsored run before, this is your perfect entry as 5k is an achievable target for beginner runners. The colourful paint extravaganza at the finish line is the perfect opportunity to celebrate your achievement in style.”
Rachel Buxton of Hoveton Hall said: “We are delighted to welcome back the Colour 5K. This event is fabulous fun, the atmosphere is always one of great anticipation and it lovely to see whole families get involved to help raise money for such a worthwhile charity as the Big C.”
First time runner currently in week three of training for the Colour 5K is Big C’s PR Consultant Stephanie Renouf. “Week after week I write stories about amazing and selfless people of all ages and walks of life who have lost family members to cancer and undertaken incredible challenges in their memory. I felt it was time that I signed up and got out of my comfort zone.  I never run for anything except a bus or train or if the village shop is about to close and I need to buy supper.”
Colour 5k run is going ahead at Hoveton Hall on Saturday (July 9). Gates and registration open at 10am. Individual tickets cost £22, under 16s £16, kids fun run £10, family ticket £60.
To register in advance and for more details visit

 Events Manager Dan Bell and fundraising administrator Lauren Self with sweatbands and medals given to all participants in the Big C Colour 5K.jpg

Events Manager Dan Bell and fundraising administrator Lauren Self with sweatbands and medals given to all participants in the Big C Colour 5K.jpg

Drayton school Friends group saved at 11th hour

Friends of Drayton Community Infant School has been an important part of school life for the last 20 years, so when a letter went out on June 7 informing parents that the charity would be closing due to a lack of support, it was a real shock to the school community.

However, the thought of no more fireworks, Easter egg hunts, summer parties, discos and quiz nights was unthinkable, and prompted parents to come forward and fill the key roles.

Angie Crocker, who has been vice chair of the Friends for two years, said: “It really was at the point where if we didn’t get anyone else involved, there was no way forward.

“The response to the letter showed that when it came to the crunch, parents weren’t prepared to let the Friends close.”

Angie’s daughter Nyah leaves at the end of the school year and as a result she will be stepping away from her role within the Friends and is pleased its future is now secure. “I want other children to have what Nyah had, the fun and community spirit that the Friends brings to the school.”

Taking the role of chairperson is Maria Voors, who responded to the closure letter. The vice chair role will be split between two parents: Suzie Clare, who was already on the committee and has stepped up to the role, and Andy Bodycombe. Fran Baker will be treasurer, who along with Andy also responded to the letter.

“The Friends have done such sterling work and the thought of it closing was really sad,” said Maria, who is a part time physiotherapist and has a son, Noah, in Rabbit Class as well as an 18-month-old daughter, Nell.

“The current friends really want it to continue, they just couldn’t find anyone to take on the three roles that a charity has to have: a chairperson, a vice chair and a treasurer.

“The school is brilliant at delivering activities for the children, but it’s the Friends that deliver the fun stuff around it. There is no way the school could raise the sort of money that the Friends events do.

“They’ve funded things such as the refurbishment of the library and outdoor play equipment, and the current project is a new bike shed to provide extra room and encourage more children to cycle or scooter to school.

“What’s nice about the Friends is that they try to use the money raised in the same academic year, so parents know their children will benefit from them supporting the events.”

Maria and the new team take over in September and are looking forward to getting stuck in. Headteacher Claire Bates has asked if they can try and come up with some new ideas for fundraising activities and Maria is keen to hear from anyone in the community who might have ideas.

“We’re hoping to bring back the fireworks in November as it was missed last year, but we’d like to come up with a rolling programme so that we don’t have the same events every year, and it would be great to get the wider community involved,” said Maria.

The next Friends event is the Summer Garden Party on Friday, July, 8, 5-8pm. There will be a bouncy castle, ice cream, bar and tombola. Visitors can bring a picnic. Tickets cost £3.50 for adults, which includes a drink, children under 16 are free.

Maria and the Friends team can be contacted through the school office on or call 01603 860272.

Drayton Community Infant School Friends vice chair Angie Crocker (left) and new chair Maria Voors; a new bike shed is the current big fundraising project.

Drayton Community Infant School Friends vice chair Angie Crocker (left) and new chair Maria Voors; a new bike shed is the current big fundraising project.