Toy fair coming to Hellesdon

Lego, Star Wars, Transformers, Pokemon, comics and merchandise from popular TV, film and video-game franchises will be among items on sale in Hellesdon next month.

The Norwich Vintage and Modern Toy Fair is preparing for its 11th show and has found a home at Hellesdon Community Centre. The fair will be there on Sunday September 2 from 9.30am (various entry fees apply).








Visit Hellesdon History Live! on Saturday, July 14

Medieval firepower, a costumed re-enactment group, crafts and many other historical activities and displays will be on show in Hellesdon Community Centre tomorrow, Saturday July 14, from noon to 4pm., The Hellesdon History Live!  event, organised by Hellesdon Community History, is celebrating the 600th anniversary of the first Paston letter.

The Pastons were Norfolk’s most influential family at one time and their correspondence through the Wars of the Roses years has helped historians understand the period. The Pastons’ manor house in Hellesdon was besieged by the Duke of Suffolk in 1465.

Other attractions at the event include Hellesdon Community Choir, Hellesdon High PTA , UEA, and board games with Hellesdon Youth Club. Refreshments will be available.






Hellesdon Station to host open day

An open day to celebrate the restoration of the railway platform at Hellesdon Station will be held on Saturday June 30, from 10:30am-3:30pm.

The event is organised by Norfolk County Council’s Marriott’s Way Heritage Trail project.

Hellesdon Station can be found in the woods, just off Hellesdon Road, near the road bridge over the River Wensum.

Some car parking can be found at the Marlpit Arms and on Hellesdon Road. Follow this link to zoom to a Google map showing where the Open Day will be held.

There will be a range of activities for all ages, including:

  • Add the finishing touches to the restored platform. Organisers will be reinstalling an original concrete mile-marker, lovingly refurbished by Stuart McPherson of Norwich City Station Preservation Group/FONCS
  • To celebrate the launch of the new Norwich cycle map, join organisers for the first ride along one of Norwich’s new circular leisure cycle routes. They will be riding a 20 mile loop along Marriott’s Way to Attlebridge, returning back via Ringland and Costessey.
  • The ride starts at 11am from the main event at Hellesdon Station, and includes off-road and on-road surfaces. It would be suitable for any bike except road bikes.
  • Perfect for families, there will also be a short led ride along Marriott’s Way to the beautiful Gunton Lane Park with its woodland paths and shallow river – great for picnics and paddling. This will be at 2pm and will also be suitable for balance bikes.
  • There will be an area for balance bike training, led by Pushing Ahead, so bring along your little ones to get them confident on two wheels.
  • A Bioblitz will be running throughout the day with expert wildlife recorders to help you identify species you’ve spot. They’ll be creating a record of everything that’s been spotted.
  • The Marlpit Community Garden (Sustainable Living Initiative) will have a stall selling local produce and cakes, so remember your pennies.

.  Part of Marriott’s Way.

Hellesdon residents – do you want ‘western link’?

Hellesdon residents will be able to have their say about a possible “western link” to the new NDR route at a consultation event in the parish next month.

Norfolk County Council has begun a period of public consultation asking people whether they think a Norwich western link is necessary.

One of nine consultation events in the county will be held in Hellesdon Parish Office, near the community centre, on Tuesday June 26, from 10.30am-8pm. County council staff will be on hand to answer questions and there will be a chance to respond to the consultation in person.

Hellesdon Norfolk County Council representative Shelagh Gurney is encouraging local residents to visit the event.

“It is important that residents are able to participate in the consultation exercise and have their say,” she said. “There has been much favourable comment about the recently-opened NDR, Broadland Northway, with residents reporting the benefits of accessing the A47 when travelling to Great Yarmouth, Wroxham and north Norfolk in general.

“Now is the opportunity to decide whether or not the NDR traverses the Wensum Valley and joins up with the A47 at the Dereham Road end.  There will be a lot of research required and careful consideration of the environmental impact of such a road, but the benefits of reduced travelling times for emergency services, particularly ambulances wishing to access the Accident and Emergency services at the hospital, will mean that critical treatment can be accessed more expediently”.

The public consultation ends on July 3. You can find out more and respond to the consultation online at

Wheelchair and poo bags in mega litter haul

It was a wet and wild day down at the River Wensum when Norwich RiverCare hardy volunteers turned up for their first litter pick of the year.

They focused on the area of public space beside Hellesdon Road.

“We managed to clear a whopping 20 bags of litter and some choice items including a fully functioning wheelchair and several bicycles,” said spokesman Stuart Stebbens.

“Unfortunately we also need to report we picked up a lot of dog poo bags left by thoughtless owners. We are as a group perplexed by the thought someone has gone to all the trouble of putting it into a bag but hasn’t binned it. It would be better for everyone and nicer for the environment – a poo in a bag lasts 10,000 years if not disposed of.”

Stuart also reported that an unscrupulous business had left a number of plastic drums and containers, some of which once contained hazardous chemicals. He urged the public to report any fly-tipping incidents to Broadland District Council.

The group’s next event is on Saturday May 19 from 10.30am-1pm, meeting at the Marlpit Community Centre, to remove Himalayan balsam, a prolific non-native plant that crowds out native plants growing on the river bank.

Stuart added: “Lots of volunteers will make light work of it. If anyone is interested they can find us on Facebook as Norwich RiverCare or contact for more information.

Book honours Hellesdon man’s ‘royal’ life

While sifting through a lifetime’s photos Hellesdon granddad Derek Cate realised he had quite a few with a royal connection.

Derek, 78, his late wife Marjorie , his sister Sylvia and brother-in-law Peter shared a deep admiration for the Queen, and all-things royal have been an important part of their lives.

In a moment of inspiration, Derek decided to compile all his royal photos and memories into a folder and send a copy to Her Majesty, along with a separate folder containing a royal quiz he uses at a variety of functions.

And he was thrilled when he received a letter from Buckingham Palace, thanking him for his gift. Written by a Lady-in-Waiting, the letter said the Queen was glad to know of Derek’s happy memories of sharing events with his family and included the sentence: “I think you would like to know that the Queen was deeply moved by the time and trouble you have taken to create both these folders and very touched you have sent her this gift.”

Derek said: “Before I opened it I thought it was just going to be one of those standard letters but I shed a few tears when I read it. It was a lovely letter.” He has since made more than 20 copies of the folder and given them to recipients ranging from royal residences Sandringham, in Norfolk, and Osborne House, on the Isle of Wight, to friends who take them along to share royal memories when visiting elderly people. “It’s good to think that they give so much pleasure,” said Derek, who vividly remembers standing in Trafalgar Square, aged 14, to watch the Queen’s coronation in June 1953, along with 35,000 others.

To mark the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, in 1977, Marjorie made copies of the coronation regalia. She died in 2009 but Derek decided to use the surviving crown from her collection and made it the centrepiece of his own recreation of the regalia, marking the monarch’s Diamond Jubilee, in 2012.

Among his pieces was the orb, made from a spray-painted football, and a golden eagle “ampulla”. Derek transformed a wooden duck statue into an eagle, using moulding clay.

His finished display, which included a lifesize cardboard cut-out of the Queen and two toy corgis bought from the gift shop at Sandringham, toured care homes and schools during jubilee year. On one occasion, during a family trip to Glamis Castle, a woman came towards the group as they were drinking tea in the grounds.

It was the Countess of Strathmore, whose home they had been visiting. She began chatting to the group and Derek has also sent her a folder, receiving a hand-written thank-you letter in reply.

Derek and his wife moved to Norfolk from Gillingham, Kent, in the 1960s after Derek’s National Service at RAF Watton. They had three children and Marjorie also worked as a childminder, Sunday School and playgroup leader.

The couple, committed Christians, also fostered or cared for several children over the years. A keen tennis player, Derek played in the Norwich City League for 30 years. He worked in sales in the hydraulic hoses industry.

He said: “The Queen always seems to be so gracious. She’s had sad times in her life but she’s always very strong and she has a strong faith, which impresses me. “I like the pomp and pageantry of royalty. It’s just magic to me. I don’t think any other country in the world can match us for the wonder of it.”

Derek with a cardboard cut-out of the Queen at one of his displays





















Location, Location, Location looking for buyers

TV property experts Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer (pictured) are looking for homes in the Norwich area for a new season of Channel 4’s Location, Location, Location. The presenters will be helping people find their dream home this spring. Chain-free buyers struggling to find the right property are welcome to apply.  Programme chiefs will be talking to potential buyers over the next few weeks. A spokesman said: “Whether you’re upsizing or downsizing, buying your first property or hoping to find your ideal forever home, you could have two top property experts on your side. Whatever the budget and however tricky the search – we would love to hear from everyone! Phil and Kirstie may be just the helping hand you need! The online application form can be found via:

Hellesdon’s Inca is UK PAT Dog of the Year!



Much-loved Hellesdon pooch Inca is the country’s top Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog.

Inca, who has made a difference to scores of patients receiving care from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) was crowned national champ at Crufts Dog Show.

The eight-year-old Labrador/Staffy cross and owner Sheena Scrimgeour beat hundreds of other entrants from across the country – including 70 from the eastern region alone – to make the shortlist of six, and then faced a public vote before Inca was crowned Pets As Therapy ) Dog of the Year.

Many of those who voted were readers of Just Hellesdon following publicity about Inca in the magazine last year.

Sheena said: “I’m shocked but thrilled as well. We had an amazing time there and Inca was as good as gold.

“They started by announcing the runners-up and then suddenly Inca was named as 2018 Pat Dog of the Year – I couldn’t believe it! I’m still coming back down to earth.

“I’m so pleased, and so grateful to all the staff and service users at NSFT whose support got us into the shortlist, and to everyone who then voted for Inca to win the award.”

They found out they had won in the Good Citizen arena at Crufts at the NEC Birmingham on Friday, and were given a crystal trophy, rosette, sash, some dog goodies and £500.

Sheena and Inca have been volunteering with the Pets As Therapy charity for the past six years. They visit Hellesdon Hospital every Monday, The Julian Hospital on Tuesdays and the Norvic Clinic on Fridays, as well as fitting in regular visits to Hellesdon High School, a prison and the University of East Anglia.

She entered Inca after receiving fantastic feedback from NSFT staff, service users and relatives about the difference she has made to them – with some even crediting Ina as “saving their lives”.

“Inca has a lovely nature and just loves people, and seems to know she is doing something beneficial,” added Miss Scrimgeour. “She thoroughly enjoys the interaction and I can tell she gets pleasure from the visits.

“I’ve always wanted my dogs to have a rich and varied life so decided to volunteer with the charity after I retired. I’m also really interested in research which shows the benefits which animals can bring to people. They are great for mental and physical wellbeing, help people to manage stress and lower the pulse and blood pressure. All in all, they provide people with a real ‘feel good’ factor.”

Julie Cave, interim chief executive with NSFT, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Inca has won this national prize. Together with Sheena, she brings lots of smiles and joy to our wards, especially for patients who have had to leave their own pets at home while they are in our care.

“Inca and Sheena are inspirational in the voluntary work they do across our Trust.”

To support Pets As Therapy, visit

For more information about volunteering with NSFT, visit and click on the “get involved” link from the homepage.

Inca doing her stuff