Go behind scenes at the Auden, Holt, this weekend

The Auden Theatre at Gresham’s School in Holt is hosting an Invitation Day on Saturday, September 23, to give people a look behind the scenes.

Members of the public are invited to explore the venue and discover what goes on backstage, meet some of the theatre team and learn just what it takes to put on a great show. The event is free.

The team will be giving a guided tour of the theatre, including the dressing rooms which have played host to an array of local, national and international performers including Lesley Garrett, CBE and the late Sir John Hurt. There will also be complimentary refreshments.

The Auden Theatre hosts a diverse range of events and performances from rock concerts to pantomime and is open to the public all year round.  View the full programme at

The foyer will be open from 11am and theatre tours start at 11.30am and 2pm. Email with a preferred tour time or telephone 01263 713444.

Get ready to rock out at Bodham

They’re all ready to rock in Bodham as its charity music festival gets under way at the weekend.

Rock Bodham will be held at the village playing field on Saturday, July 22, and the village’s Red Hart pub on Sunday 23rd.

Britpop covers band The Stereotypes, local bands Generals and Soul Alliance are among the bands to have been confirmed alongside DJ’s Naughty Daughty and 2016 Sheringham battle of the bands winner Liberty Popey. The headline acts are Bloodshake Chorus on the Saturday and, on Sunday, Red Leaf.

Festival secretary Callum Ringer said of this year’s line-up: “Bloodshake Chorus played for us last year, in the middle of the afternoon, and went down really well it was a no brainer to ask them back, and to put them higher up the bill.  We are also looking forward to welcoming back Soul Alliance, and Generals from previous years, but we also have some new acts, and I’m really excited for Knotted, The Stereotypes and The Dulcet Tones.”

On Saturday, alongside the live music which starts from 1.30pm, there will be a children’s entertainment, stalls and fete games, bouncy castle and circus skills for the afternoon.  There will be a licenced bar and barbecue all day and into the evening as well as a raffle on both days. The event gave away more than £3,000 last year to a range of local charities and has given away more than £15,000 since its inception in 2012.

The event organisers have put out a plea for more volunteers for the weekend.  Callum said: “To be able to make as much money as possible, we really need as many people to help as possible. We have stalls and games ready to go but they won’t run themselves.”

Tickets for Saturday are £5 for adults and £1 for under 12s.  Under threes free. it’s free entry to Bodham Red Hart on Sunday, donations taken on the day.

Royal visitor opens new music school

The Princess Royal flew in to Gresham’s School by helicopter at the weekend to officially open its new music school, the Britten Building, and to hand out prizes at the annual Speech Day celebration.

Her new role as The Prime Warden of The Fishmonger’s Company also means she is Gresham’s Ex Officio Governor and she was met by an excited group of Pre-Prep and Prep pupils as she made her way to the School’s Memorial Chapel to enjoy a service for Upper Sixth leavers and their parents.

To commemorate the opening of the Britten Building, she planted a tree and, after a tour of the building and time spent chatting to donors and school governors, she unveiled a plaque in the building’s foyer.

Speeches took place in the School’s Theatre in the Woods, attended by pupils, parents, governors and staff.  Head of school  Zara Raslan and deputy head of school George Jefford both gave speeches and closed them with a musical performance.  Gresham’s chairman of governors, Andrew Martin Smith, announced that Cromer-born former Gresham’s pupil, Sir James Dyson, would become a governor representing the Old Greshamian Club.

Douglas Robb, Gresham’s headmaster, said: “We feel deeply honoured that HRH The Princess Royal has agreed to become a Governor of Gresham’s in her capacity as Prime Warden of The Fishmongers’ Company.  She follows in the footsteps of her father and Gresham’s Patron The Duke of Edinburgh who has been a governor previously.

“Gresham’s is also very excited to welcome Sir James Dyson as a governor from September. The school is in great spirits after a lovely speech day and the opening of new facilities. We are lucky enough to enjoy growing school numbers and are well set for the future.”

The princess handed out prizes to 80 pupils and took the time to speak to each one in turn.  After her departure by helicopter, guests enjoyed lunch and many stayed to watch a ‘Staff vs Leavers’ cricket match.


Paul and Bluebell’s busking tour is going well

Paul Thompson and his converted milk float, Bluebell, are well on their way to Cornwall on their charity busking bonanza.

The Sheringham-based singer/songwriter is driving the souped-up vehicle all the way to Land’s End and said he has already raised more than £1,500 towards his £5,000 target for Cancer Research.

“The highlights have included stopping to do an interview and play a song on Cambridge 105 (I played a song I’d written in memory of my dad and made the presenter cry on-air!) and performing to a group of schoolchildren in front of the famous Milton Keynes cow statues,” he said.

Other special moments included a street party in Stroud organised by a music promoter, which raised £350, and an all-day event the following day, when he was joined by some talented singer-songwriters from the Stroud area.

Arriving in Glastonbury for the solstice, he performed in the town and was en route to the Dorset Midsummer Festival – involving the biggest hills of the tour so far.

“I’ve also heard from Tate St Ives that they’d like me to do an event with Bluebell, which gives a great focus for me reaching Land’s End,” he said.

Anyone wanting to follow Bluebell’s route can visit for his blog and keep up with live updates on Facebook and Twitter. Donations can be made at


Open gardens near Holt raises over £2000 for local charity

Hard-working volunteers for a Norfolk charity raised over £2,300 in just two days – by providing tea and cakes to visitors to one of the county’s most stunning open gardens.

Fundraisers for the Norfolk & Norwich Association for the Blind put on an amazing display of baking at the Stody Lodge Gardens near Holt, with visitors to the gardens tucking into a range of cakes, scones, flapjacks and biscuits worthy of the Great British Bake Off.

NNAB fundraiser Donna Minto, who organised the teams of volunteers across the two days, said, “We were blessed with two sunny afternoons, which brought lots of visitors to the stunning gardens at Stody Lodge. Catering for so many people all in search of a traditional English tea was a big challenge for a team of volunteers, but they rose to it magnificently.

“We want to thank the Stody Estate for allowing us to provide the refreshments and raise money in this way – their generosity has seen so many Norfolk charities benefit over the years. We hope our teas were worthy of one of the most stunning gardens in the county.”

Visitors to Stody Lodge gardens enjoying afternoon tea provided by the Norfolk & Norwich Association for the Blind.


More than 80 tractors take a tour of Holt to raise money for prostate cancer

A tractor run to raise money for prostate cancer care will take place through the streets of Holt on Sunday 11th June.

The event, which will involve more than 80 vintage and modern vehicles, will start at Briston Recreation Ground at 10am. The tractor run will travel through Holt and the surrounding areas before returning to the recreation ground at around 12.30pm to continue the celebrations at a vintage fayre.

A display of steam engines and stationary engines will also feature at the event which is set to delight anyone with an interest in moving machines.

The man responsible for organising this exciting event is 80 year-old Brian Cottrell from Holt, who has organised a variety of events to raise funds for prostate cancer at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. This is a cause close to Brian’s heart as he has family members who have experienced prostate cancer.

Other entertainment on offer throughout the day, which will run until 4pm, includes performances from the Holt Ridge Morris Dancers and Highland Pipers. A variety of refreshments will also be available, including fresh doughnuts, candy floss and a licensed bar.

Louise Cook, NNUH Fundraising Manager, said: “We’re so grateful to Brian for organising this fantastic event to raise funds for our hospital. With such a huge variety of attractions on offer on the day, there’s something for all the family and it would be great if people in the local area wanted to come out and show their support.”

Emma McKay, Director of Nursing at NNUH, added: “We continue to be delighted by the imaginative things our fundraisers organise and take part in to raise money for NNUH. I’d like to thank Brian for his amazing efforts in pulling this unique event together and for his ongoing support for the hospital charity.”

Brian Cottrell can be contacted on 01263 711096 for more information on the event. Please note that only invited tractors and engines are able to participate in the tractor run.

Sheringham theatre’s tribute to movie legend Sir John Hurt

The acting talent of the late legend Sir John Hurt is being celebrated on the community theatre screen which he launched.

Sir John officially opened the digital projection system at Sheringham Little Theatre four years ago.

The actor, who died aged 77 in January lived in North Norfolk and was a supporter of the venue’s film and stage drama work.

During a week starting on Friday (May 26) the theatre will show a short season of some of his best work including an early role in the Tudor classic A Man for All Seasons, and leads in the poignant Elephant Man and spy drama Scandal.

Theatre director Debbie Thompson said: “Sir John was a great supporter of our theatre, and we miss him very much, so we wanted to remember him through screening some of his best films at a place we know he was fond of.”

Sir John visited the venue regularly to chat to the actors appearing in the summer repertory drama season and during a launch event for the local-filmed movie In Love with Alma Cogan, in which he played a theatre manager.

He also played a “part” as the pre-recorded voice of the Magic Mirror in its Snow White pantomime in 2013.

Debbie added: “We are also hoping to display photographs of Sir John during his visits here – and would invite any members of the public who have memories or anecdotes involving Sir John to share them with us in a memory book we have in the foyer.”

Send any pictures or memories to: Sir John Hurt Memories, Sheringham Little Theatre, 2 Station Road, Sheringham, Norfolk, NR26 8RE or email (The theatre cannot return original photographic prints, so please send copies – or scan and email them as 1 to 2MB jpegs).

Tickets for each film are £5 through the box office on 01263 822347, or visit

Sir John Hurt showing old and new technology when he launched Sheringham Little Theatre’s new digital projection equipment in May 2013.



Half-term fun outside and in

A host of children’s activities will be on offer at Cromer, North Walsham and Stalham community sports centres over the forthcoming May half-term.

The sessions offer youngsters aged between four and 12 the chance to take part in football fun days, shooting, skating and street-dancing, as well as summer sports days and multi-sports events.

The events will take place between Tuesday, May 30, and Friday, June 2, at the North Norfolk District Council-managed centres.

As well as these activities, there are countryside events taking place in Holt Country Park and Sadler’s Wood, North Walsham. The fun on offer includes shelter-building, a look at amphibians, reptiles and lizards and the chance to build and launch a water rocket.

All-day activities are priced at £10 while shorter sessions are priced between £2 and £3.50. To make things easier for parents, there is the added option of arranging early drop-offs and late pick-ups for just £2 at some of the events.

Maggie Prior, cabinet member for leisure, health and wellbeing, said: “These sessions offer great fun for children while keeping them busy and healthy.”

To download a brochure with more details, visit

To book the sports-centre events, visit Booking is not required for the countryside events at Holt Country Park and Sadler’s Wood, but children must be accompanied by a responsible adult. For further details of these activities, email or call 07920 576634.