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







Hellesdon eco-queen Nadia is world famous

A Hellesdon schoolgirl has defied bullies to make litter-picking cool – around the world.

Nadia Sparkes, 12, used to put up with bottles being thrown at her and sneering shouts of “Trash Girl” and “You’re weird” as she cycled to and from Hellesdon High School picking up rubbish dropped by other people.

But when her story hit the headlines, international praise poured in for her actions and the bullying stopped overnight.

Now Nadia’s “Trash Girl” image is celebrated in a cartoon and pop art drawing and she has a Team Trash Girl Facebook group with nearly 3,500 global members who encourage each other to pick up rubbish and post pictures of their efforts.

Nadia’s litter-picking began when she started at the high school last September and began to notice the amount of discarded rubbish along her route.

She would put it in her cycle basket and bring it home, sparking cruel taunts from some who saw her. Mum Paula Sparkes believes litter-picking has a stigma because rubbish is dirty and people feel embarrassed to bend and pick it up.

The bullying eventually reduced Nadia to a fit of sobbing one day after school. “I sat and talked to her and said what she was doing was admirable but it was up to her to decide whether she wanted to stop because of the bullying, or carry on and own the name ‘Trash Girl’. “She thought about it and said: ‘I’m going to carry on. They can call me ‘Trash Girl’ – but with respect.’

Her story first hit the headlines in Norfolk and then went national and international, with articles in The Daily Mail and Times, as well as in publications as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Sweden and Malta.

“It just went  bonkers!” said Paula.  “She’s had people asking her about it in the street and adults and children all over the world saying ‘You were right and now I’m picking up litter too, because of you.’ I’m incredibly proud of her, and of her independent thinking.”

Nadia has an older sister and two younger brothers. A statement about Nadia from Tom Rolfe and Mike Earl, the principals of Hellesdon High School, a member of the Wensum Trust, said:  “Her determination and commitment to the cause is truly remarkable and we are hoping it will inspire other students to respect the environment with the same dedication.”









“We created this image for her to say ‘thank you’ and to offer our support for her fantastic work. Go Trash Girl! We think Trash Girl would make a great cartoon and would inspire more young people to do the same fantastic work,” Alex Jeffery, of Suffolk-based company Creative Nation.

“Nadia is doing some excellent work and when I heard that she was bullied, I just wanted to do something for her. I’ve worked with vulnerable young people and children for many years and have done lots of artwork for them. The picture itself was inspired by the artist Jamie Hewlett,” Lynsey Cole (Damsel Dragonfly Art).


Plea over plans for many new Hellesdon homes

Residents are being urged to have their say on proposals for large numbers of new homes which local chiefs fear would be bad news for Hellesdon.

Greater Norwich – which includes Hellesdon – has to find sites for nearly 43,000 new homes between now and 2036.

Some 30,000 have already been identified but a further 7,200 have still to be found. Public consultation is under way on the Greater Norwich Local Plan, which details the proposals.

Up to 1,000 homes are already due to be built in Hellesdon, on the former Royal Norwich Golf Club site.

A parish council spokesman said: “In Hellesdon the grassed area close to Arden Grove Primary School, now known as Cottingham’s Park, together with part of our allotments, accessed from Bush Road, feature as development sites in the plan which is not good news as it will take away valuable recreational space which is already in short supply in the parish.

“Looking across the parish boundary into Horsford, which starts just beyond the medical practice, The Greater Norwich Local Plan has earmarked all the land up the Reepham Road to the NDR roundabout on the south side of Horsford and bounded on the eastern side by the A140.

“Housing built here will of necessity put additional loading onto both of these roads and the local infrastructure, having a direct impact on the local schools, shops and medical facilities together with the invisible infrastructure of the water, drainage and sewage systems, already subject to some overloading. Some smaller site proposals in the parish of Drayton adjoining Hellesdon will also have a similar impact.”

The parish council also fears that Hellesdon would lose out financially if homes were built in this Horsford block as future residents would be likely to use Hellesdon’s schools, doctors and other services, which would be nearer for them.

But, because their homes would not actually be built within Hellesdon’s boundaries, other parish councils would receive “CIL” money levied from developers – used for community benefits – and from the new home owners via the parish precept element of the council tax.

The spokesman added: “Hellesdon Parish Council needs all the support it can muster from its residents to ensure Cottingham’s Park and allotments are not lost and that any development within Horsford’s block of land is kept to an absolute minimum.”

* Residents will have the chance to learn more during the week beginning Monday February 19 at the parish council’s Diamond Jubilee Lodge office between 10am and 3.30pm.

The office will also reopen on Wednesday  February 21 between 6pm and 8pm.

Every resident is also urged to make an individual response to the consultation which runs until March 15.  Visit or collect a response booklet from the parish council office.

* Broadland District Council officers will be holding a roadshow on the proposals in Hellesdon Community Centre on February 28 from 2pm-8pm.

Pictured: Cottingham’s Park looking towards the allotments.

Group helps Hellesdon woman return to work after 27 years

A Hellesdon woman has landed her first job after a career break of 27 years, thanks to the help of a tailor-made employment programme.

Karen Dolby read about Broadland District Council’s Choices programme in the newspaper and wondered if it could help her get back into work.

Having stayed at home to raise her family for more than a quarter of a century, Karen felt she had nothing to offer a prospective employer.

But just weeks after finishing the Choices programme and one week after starting work experience, she got a permanent job with TLC Dinner Choices, which runs the cafes at the Sprowston Community Hub and the Vauxhall Centre in Norwich.

“I had no words – it was only a week after I had started work experience and I was being offered a job,” said Karen.

“I remembered being on the Choices programme and thinking ‘whatever will I do work-wise when this is finished?’ I didn’t think I had any skills to offer.”

The programme helped Karen identify her transferrable skills to build up her CV. She also completed courses in food hygiene and basic computer skills.

“I am really enjoying being back at work,” said Karen.

“It’s meant a lot – it’s given me my independence and now I am out at work everyone is helping out at home. My husband and children are really proud of me.”

Broadland District Council’s Choices programme aims to raise the aspirations of anyone who has been out of work for a long time, through improving CVs, English, maths and computer skills, as well as boosting confidence.

It offers a personal approach to getting people back into volunteering or work experience and give them the confidence to apply for jobs.

Cllr Stuart Clancy, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development at Broadland District Council, said: “We are pleased to support our residents into work at any point in their lives and offer a range of services to help this.

“Everyone is important and has something to offer and our Choices programme helps develop people’s talents. We are extremely proud of Karen and her achievements and wish her every success for the future.”
A new course is starting on February 20 at the council’s training centre, Carrowbreck House, in Hellesdon.
Anyone interested should contact Economic Development officer, Jane Bagley, on 01603 430449.

Karen Dolby, who has got her first job in 27 years.

Fascinating photos from Hellesdon past

Fascinating glimpses into Hellesdon’s past can be seen in these photographs from Tony Adams’ family album.

Tony, of Reepham Road, a Broadland District Councillor for Hellesdon South East and a member of Norfolk County Council, has lived in the parish since moving as a little boy with his family from Exeter in 1947.

Many of the places he was familiar with during his childhood are now lost under housing estates.

CORONATION TEA: This party scene was taken in June 1953 at a children’s tea celebrating the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The venue was the old Firs Stadium, famed for its speedway racing. It’s been replaced by homes on Meadow Way and Meadow Close. Do you recognise any of the faces?








BOUNDARY STADIUM: In the following photo, Tony and his older brother Geoffrey are pictured behind their home on City View Road with the Boundary Greyhound Stadium in the background.

Tony remembers that there was a football pitch in the stadium where he used to go and watch Norwich City’s B team play.

The area behind his home was completely open space where children would throw down a couple of coats to mark goal and play their own football matches.

That open land is now Coronation Road, Coronation Close and Sceptre Close.






CITY VIEW ROAD: City View Road pictured in the early 1960s:







AIRMEN’S BARRACKS: Once airmen’s barracks for men stationed at RAF Horsham St Faith, these Fifers Lane buildings were used from the 1960s onwards as accommodation for UEA students. They’ve since been redeveloped with housing.

  • If you’ve got old photos and/or memories of Hellesdon and don’t mind sharing them with fellow residents, please email them to







Hellesdon’s winning housing on Channel 4 today

A ground-breaking housing development in Hellesdon is featuring tonight (Tuesday November 21) on Channel 4’s Grand Designs House of the Year.

Carrowbreck Meadow, a Passivhaus development in Hellesdon, can be seen as part of the programme which airs at 9pm.

The programme was interested in the development for its architecture, its energy-efficient qualities and also for its affordable homes, which make up 43pc of the site which includes two, three and four-bedroomed family homes in a woodland setting. Carrowbreck Meadow, was masterminded by Broadland Growth Ltd – a partnership between Broadland District Council and Norfolk County Council’s NPS Group. It was created to offer carefully- planned, affordable, high-quality developments in Broadland, while maintaining the highest public-sector values.

The Hellesdon homes have won a host of awards, including the RIBA East Award 2017.

Councillor Andrew Proctor, leader of Broadland District Council and chairman of Broadland Growth Ltd, said: “Carrowbreck Meadow is an exciting development which raises the bar for local authorities in the delivery of housing.

“We are making a difference to our communities, while offering something different to the marketplace and meeting the demand for housing in Broadland. This also creates significant social value for our district.”

Richard Gawthorpe, Director of Broadland Growth Ltd, said: “A key aim of the Carrowbreck Scheme was to create a positive intervention in the marketplace by providing more affordable mixed tenure housing and creating homes and lifestyle choices, not just houses. “These dwellings are built to nationally recognised space standards and are places that people choose to live in due to the comfortable conditions created by their highly sustainable Passivhaus design.” ​Sarah Lewis, Carrowbreck Meadow project architect from Hamson Barron Smith, said: “These homes are at the leading edge of low energy design, joining a small elite group of super low energy Passivhaus projects across the UK and act as exemplars for future development in the area and beyond.The provision of affordable housing for the local community which exceeds planning requirements and is truly tenure blind demonstrates the inclusive nature of the development which will help to achieve a sustainable, energy efficient and a mixed community.”
 Awards already won by Carrowbreck Meadow: 

National RTPI awards – national award category Excellence in planning to deliver housing

RTPI Awards (East of England) – East of England Award for Planning Excellence 2017

RIBA McEwen awards – shortlisted in final 12

RIBA National – won one of 47 national awards

RIBA Awards – East of England – won RIBA East project award

Norfolk and Norwich Eco-awards – Highly commended in best eco-house category

Norfolk Design and Craftmanship Awards 2017 – best ‘new residential’

RICS Award (residential category) – awarded ‘highly commended’

SPACES (Society for public architecture, construction, Engineering and Surveying) –Been shortlisted from 110 submissions down to 18 finalists

National Housing Design Awards 2017 – DEFRA Award for rural housing

LABC East Anglia Building Excellence Awards – best new housing development in East Anglia and shortlisted for national awards

Norfolk Constructing Excellence Awards – Norfolk Constructing Excellence Club Award for Excellence and Project of the Year

Passivhaus Trust Awards – entry submitted for 2018 awards

Housebuilders Awards 2017 – shortlisted in Best Sustainable Scheme and Best Design for three storeys or fewer

Inside Housing (top 60 developments) – submissions in the Partnerships category, Best Residential Development and Best Architectural Design

Building Awards 2017 – shortlisted under Housing Project of the Year

24 Housing Awards – shortlisted for Best Green Scheme

Energy Awards – shortlisted for Residential Building Award

AJ Architecture Awards – shortlisted for Housing Project of the Year

AJ Footprint Award for Sustainability – submitted

RIBA Regional RSAW – submitted

Civic Trust Awards – submitted

Andrew Proctor, leader of Broadland District Council, is pictured during filming for tonight’s show.

Vote for Hellesdon’s Inca as top PAT dog


A Hellesdon woman’s gentle, much-loved pet has made it to the finals of a national competition to find the nation’s top therapy dog – and needs your vote to win the crown.

Eight-year-old Inca and her owner Sheena Scrimgeor have been making a positive difference to the lives of scores of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust  patients from across both counties for the past six years.

Inca, a Labrador-Staffie cross, is a Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog, visiting people in hospitals, and is in the final six of the charity’s PAT Dog of the Year contest.

She and Sheena beat hundreds of other entrants from across the country – including 70 from the eastern region alone – to make the shortlist and now need the public’s support to help them lift the title.

The pair will find out whether they have won on live TV at next year’s Crufts Dog Show, which takes place at the NEC Birmingham in March. Sheena said she was “blown away” to find out Inca had been shortlisted.

“I’m very pleased for the patients as they made a great effort to write lovely statements to support Inca’s entry in the competition,” she added. “The only sad thing is that my mother won’t be able to watch. She thought the world of Inca and loved Crufts and watched it every year, but died in March at the grand old age of 101.

“She would have loved to see Inca up on stage in the arena in front of crowds of people being recognised for the work she does. “If Inca wins, I will dedicate the award to her. I’m sure she would have been proud of us both.”

Staff and patients have been sending messages of support for Sheena and Inca. They include this, from Veronica Rackham, of Thurne Ward, Hellesdon Hospital: “Inca is a beautiful dog with a lovely calming nature. She is gentle and loving and will happily sit and be stroked by everyone. I believed she has a very positive impact on all she meets and I know that her visits are very eagerly awaited and enjoyed by many.”

Sheena and Inca 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. * Vote for Inca by filling in the form in the current edition of Yours magazine or by visiting Voting closes on December 31.


Anger over ruined Hellesdon road verges

Fed up Hellesdon residents are calling on Norfolk County Council (NCC) to stop motorists parking on grass verges.

Parents dropping off children and collecting them from school have been blamed for wrecking sections of grass along Meadow Way.

But NCC says it will not be protecting the verges and suggests the school involved should send letters to parents, asking them to park more considerately.

Neighbours Brian Leckie and Anne Daynes say up to 30 cars park on verges on both sides of Meadow Way each morning and afternoon, as parents take children to and from Firside Junior School.

“They churn up and kill the grass. It’s such a mess and it’s such a shame, “said Mrs Daynes.” It just turns them to mud and they look very unsightly.”

Mr Leckie wants NCC to set posts into the verges, as has been done in a different section of Meadow Way, which has prevented parking and protected the grass.

The council is currently laying new pavements in Meadow Way and contractors will be reseeding the verges when their work is finished.

“There’s absolutely no point doing that,” said Mr Leckie. “They’ll be a mud-bath the next day. It would be better if they put hard core down.”

An NCC spokesman said their powers to prevent parking on verges were limited as drivers were not acting illegally, providing they were not causing an obstruction or danger.

She added: “The verges on Meadow Way will be soiled and seeded as part of the ongoing footway scheme, but council policy is not to guard verges with posts to protect against parking and overrunning. “We do sympathise with residents’ frustration, however damage to the verge is normally cosmetic in nature and does not pose a danger to highway users.”

Firside head teacher Roz Robinson said the school actively worked with residents to maintain good relations and parents were reminded about considerate parking throughout the year.

Just last week she had sent out a newsletter including a section on parking. It asked parents to park considerately, turn off engines while waiting for children and said she would be asking local police to carry out spot checks.

Mrs Robinson added: “I can only apologise on behalf of our parents for any issues around parking near our neighbours’ property.  As a school we will continue to remind our parents about parking and road safety in general.”

Pictured: Brian Leckie and Anne Daynes beside one of the damaged verges on Meadow Way and a different part of the road where posts have been installed preventing parking and protecting the grass.