Boxing and chess supporting African schools

A sporting event combining cerebral prowess with boxing agility is being staged in Norwich to support an innovative Norfolk charity that uses technology to deliver education to remote African schools.

Chessboxing sees opponents slug it out and then sit down and swap chess moves in alternating rounds in a sport that truly brings brain and brawn together.

Four bouts are being staged at Norwich OPEN on Saturday, October 21, to raise funds for the Yellobric charity’s work in harnessing technology to deliver eBooks and e-Learning platforms to African schoolchildren.

Yellobric founder Gavin Paterson, who farms at Smallburgh, promised: “It will be much more than a sporting event; we have commentators explaining chess moves, there will be a bar, cabaret, DJ and food and there will be a great atmosphere on the night.”

Among the contestants is 25-year-old former UEA student Cameron Little. Now a geotechnical technician, which involves surveying land across East Anglia as a precursor to development, he has been chessboxing for a year and fights under the name of Hurt Locker.

“I think chessboxing coming to Norwich is great,” he said. “It represents the sport growing beyond the confines of London and into other parts of the UK. As I also used to live in Norwich, I am hopeful a few friends will come out and show support.”

Chessboxing has been described as “a wild mix-up of two of mankind’s oldest sporting obsessions” and sees the winner decided by checkmate or knock-out, whichever comes first.

Cameron’s opponent on the night is Matt Gershfield, aka Jock Talk, a British advertising executive based in Amsterdam. Local fighters from Norwich include Prince Titus Beya-Smiler, known to friends as Lambert and with a fight name of the Prince of Pawn. Lambert studied criminology at UEA and is now a key worker at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust working as a mental health specialist.

Cameron started playing chess when he was 10 but also did Tae Kwon Do for about four years. “I’m used to training hard, but I would consider myself more a chess player who boxes,” he added. “Putting the two sports together is the ultimate test of brawn and brain. Remaining sharp over the board gets more difficult after you’ve exhausted yourself on the boxing and taken hits to the head. Add the pressure – there are maybe 500 people watching you – and it is a real challenge.”

Yellobric was formed by Gavin after a visit to Africa and gained charitable status in November 2011. Over the past six years it has delivered e-Learning platforms to schools in Africa and provided more than 300,000 eBooks at a fraction of the cost of conventional novels and textbooks.

Doors open for the chessboxing event at the OPEN Norwich at 7pm on Saturday, October 21, with the first fight at 8pm. Tickets start at £15 (£12 – NUS). For more information and ticket details visit or or call 01603 763111.

Can you sing for Big C this Christmas?

This November and December, Norfolk’s cancer charity, Big C, is calling for local community choirs and musical groups to raise money for the charity at their Christmas performances.

Clive Evans, director of income generation and communications for Big C, said: “Singing and playing music together is good for the soul and a wonderfully festive way to end the year. We would love to hear from anyone who belongs to a singing group, school or church choir, musical group or performing arts centre and is keen to join in with Big C’s Christmas Carols and raise money at their seasonal concerts for local people living with cancer. Every penny raised will go directly to help those affected by cancer in Norfolk and Waveney.”

Last year’s Big C Christmas Carols raised more than £10,000. Performances included Norwich High School for Girls Junior Choir, Simply Sing King’s Lynn Community Choir, Ellingham and Great Dunham schools, Wymondham College, and the children’s ILUVUKE band, as well as staff from the Institute of Food Research, Wymondham’s D’Capo, the Keswick Hall Choir, Big Heart and Soul Choir from Castle Acre and the Fakenham Town Band.

Big C was founded in 1980, when two young men from Norfolk found themselves with cancer and having to travel to London or Cambridge for treatment, often finding this journey harder than the treatment itself. They vowed the people of Norfolk and Waveney would have access to the best treatment and support in their local areas.

Today Big C funds ground-breaking cancer research at the Norwich Research Park and state of the art surgical and diagnostic equipment. The charity also has four drop-in support and information centres across Norfolk and Waveney that are used by thousands of people every year affected by cancer.

If you are interested in holding a Christmas Carol event for Big C, contact Claire Feek, fundraising administrator on 01603 964501 or

Growing local stage talent … and a killer plant in Sheringham

An alien plant living in a flower shop has an appetite for a frightening fertiliser – human blood.

But the story combining horror with horticulture is helping young acting talent grow too.

Little Shop of Horrors runs at Sheringham Little Theatre from September 27-29, using a cast of 11 youngsters drawn from the venue’s youth drama group.

Co-director Harry Williams, 23, from North Walsham, said the young cast had enjoyed rehearsing the show during the summer because it was “silly with lots of jokes and space for wacky characters.”

He has been performing with the group since he was eight and has appeared in the venue’s summer drama season pantomime. Now Harry is making his debut at directing – while also playing one of the three versions of the hungry plant. Jess Chamberlin shares the directing and choreography.

The other cast members in the show, set in America, are; Charlie Randall as timid flower shop worker Seymour, Lucy Connor as his co-worker and love interest Audrey, Sam Thompson as shop owner Mr Mushnik, Jack Jarvis as Orin the dentist, plus Emily Sidnell, Pippa Randall and Emily Reiner as a trio of urchins.

Mr Williams said the cast had a mixture of experience and it was great to see the newcomers learning from the regulars who had previously taken leading roles.

The team, in their teens and 20s, has also had to make three versions of the plant, Audrey II, to map its alarming growth.

The show is also brimming with 1960s music, and has a three-piece “orchestra pit.”

Theatre director Debbie Thompson said: “The show is done completely by the youth group – giving them great experience of the stage, management and creating props and scenery, which is a brilliant opportunity for them.”

The show is on at 7.30pm. Tickets £10 from the box office on 01263 822347 or visit

Picture: Matt Coomber                                      Charlie Randall who plays flower shop worker Seymour in the Little Shop of Horrors at Sheringham Little Theatre.









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.

Help support Norfolk coast charity walker

Here’s a chap to look out for when you are out and about on the coast.

Alex Ellis-Roswell is walking 100 miles down the Norfolk coast to raise money for the six RNLI lifeboat stations in the area. He started walking round the 9,500-mile coast of England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Isle of Man on August 3, with the aim to raise £10 for every mile he walks. He has raised around £60,000 for RNLI lifeboats.

He said: “If you see me walking over the next few weeks please donate/ beep/ wave/ thumbs up/ tea. And if you can offer somewhere dry and warm to sleep at night, please comment or message,” he said.

You can follow Alex walking in Norfolk on his Facebook profile: and donate to RNLI here

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.

Final week for competition entries from budding writers

By: Innes Enslin

There is just one week left for children and young people across Norfolk to submit their entries into Norfolk County Council’s creative writing competition for 5-13 year olds.

Write On Norfolk – a competition aimed at boosting summer learning and honing children’s writing skills has already received more than 120 entries since it opened on the 5 June, and now with just a week to go Norfolk County Council is encouraging even more children to get their entries in before it’s too late.  The Write On Norfolk competition is open to children and young people who are aged between five and 13 years old. Budding writers are asked to submit a piece of original creative writing before 31 August.

For the second year Jarrold of Norwich is backing the competition and will be donating Jarrold book tokens as prizes. In addition to these vouchers there will be a prize of an Amazon Fire tablet up for grabs for the gold winners.  Plus those writers who are enrolled in the Children’s University, their entries will earn credits towards their degree.

Alison Thomas, Deputy Leader of Norfolk County Council, who is one of the final judges for the competition said: “Helping Norfolk’s children achieve their full potential by giving them every opportunity to develop vital skills like reading and writing is a key priority for the county council which is why I’m so pleased that we are running this competition again.

“Last year I enjoyed reading some wonderful stories and poems from young people across Norfolk, and I hope that this year we get even more children taking part.

“As a Mum myself, I know just how important it is to keep up those skills during the long weeks of the summer holidays, but this competition is designed to be a fun way of doing it so I hope that parents, grandparents and carers will give them as much encouragement as possible to enter.”

BBC Radio Norfolk’s breakfast presenter, Nick Conrad, who will also judge the entries added: “Children can be wonderfully creative. Anything that marries up improving English skills, promoting literature and encouraging our next generation to get inspired, I support. I look forward to reading the stories and adventures conjured up by the minds of Norfolk’s school children.”

The only rules for the competition are that the writing must be a maximum of 500 words (roughly one side of A4 paper), and it must contain a link to Norfolk. The entry can be a short story, poem, script or even song lyrics and must be submitted online via the Norfolk County Council website – Full details about the competition, including how to enter, and terms and conditions can be found by visiting the Council website.

From Bake-off to Backstory

When TV producer Claire Mutimer left her busy life in London to marry a local farmer and bring up their children, she decided to find a way of getting back into the broadcasting career she loved that would fit with hew new life in Norfolk.

A year on and the Backstory podcast is getting ready to air its first episode on September 12 to tie in with the London Podcast Festival.

Claire, who worked on The Great British Bake Off, has made documentaries about children in care and deaf teenagers and, with business partner Suzy Coulson, quickly realised that there were amazing human stories that could be told through a podcast.  “The idea of the Backstory is that we all have one, everyone has a tale to tell about something that’s happened that’s changed the course of their life, perhaps made them who they are today”, says Claire.  Each episode of the backstory tells a different tale, many of them from within our region. “We put the word out and soon found some fascinating stories that we think everyone will be interested in.”

The first episode takes us back to a tragic event that many will remember from a few years back, the murder in 2012 of Andrea Johnson by her husband and former Cromer mayor Keith Johnson.

Suzy explains why they chose to cover this story. “I remember so clearly when Andrea was killed and the understandable shock that everyone felt, explaining Keith’s actions as a moment of madness. I felt at the time that there must have been more to it, that these things don’t happen out of nowhere, and I wanted Andrea’s parents to tell their story and, through them, to tell Andrea’s story of her life with Keith.”  Later episodes include people talking openly about having a dad in prison, living with a little-understood form of OCD, being diagnosed later in life with autism and choosing to have an arranged marriage.

There have been many new skills to learn along the way, as Suzy explains. “We’ve taught ourselves how to edit, where to source music, how to upload a podcast – it’s been a steep learning curve. Our office is Claire’s kitchen table, her wardrobe is our recording studio and sometimes we have 10 children racing around in the background!”

So, what is a podcast?  Most podcasts are audio, so it’s like a radio show that goes out over the internet.  You can subscribe using an app and each time a new episode is released it will automatically be ready for you to listen to. Although you need to be linked to the internet at some point for the episodes to download, once they’ve downloaded you can listen to them offline.  “There’s a whole world of content out there – true crime, drama, comedy, current affairs.. whatever you’re into there will be a podcast about it!”, says Claire.  “They’re great to listen to when you’re walking the dog, exercising or cooking.”

Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcast providers.  Find out more at or follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. If you have a story to tell for the backstory season 2 then get in touch by email

Claire Mutimer (left) and Suzy Coulson (right) working at Claire’s kitchen table.