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All aboard for canal trips

Weekend and Boxing Day boat trips are about to get under way on Norfolk’s only sailing canal with locks.

From Sunday (November 26) at 2pm, passengers will be able to take an hour’s gentle cruise along a restored stretch of the North Walsham and Dilham Canal, enjoying a glass of alcohol-free mulled wine en-route.

The trips, on Saturdays and/or Sundays, plus Boxing Day (subject to wind, rain or ice), will run between the millpond at Ebridge and Bacton Wood lock, about a mile each way.

Passengers will travel on a pontoon equipped with an electric outboard motor so that it glides almost silently through the water. It has been fitted with picnic benches and a table and there will be a giant umbrella on board, in case of showers.

Graham Pressman, boating officer with organisers, the North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust, said there was room on board for 10 passengers.

The crew of two will talk about the canal’s past, present and hoped-for future, and about wildlife on the canal which includes otters, kingfishers, little egrets, grey wagtails, water voles, marsh harriers, dragonflies, deer, and many varieties of fish.

“Passengers will be able to enjoy the short talk, have the pleasure of a boat trip and a glass of mulled wine during a really pleasant hour on the water,” said Graham, who hopes the canal’s many visitors will combine their walks with a cruise.

A round-trip will cost £5 per person and passengers will be able to buy a warming cup of alcohol-free mulled wine and souvenirs. Proceeds will go towards the cost of restoring the second-hand trip boat (Elsa), which the trust was given earlier this year, and for further restoration work on the canal.

Elsa needs repairs to her woodwork and a hole in her hull, grit blasting and painting. Graham said the bill might run to several thousand pounds but, if the money could be raised in time from the pontoon trips and any other sources, he hoped she would be ready by next summer.

A timetable for the pontoon boat trips will be on display on the noticeboard at Ebridge in good time for the first passenger trip. Anyone wishing to climb aboard can turn up at the advertised times, or book by calling Graham on 07585 160 772. Bookings first, then walk-ups, as space is available. More trips might be organised according to demand.

Showcase Gallery has joined forces with the canal trust to offer an ideal Christmas present for those proud of their local heritage.

Anyone taking out membership of the North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust before Christmas Eve, either for themselves or as a gift, will be entitled to buy this year’s full-colour North Walsham Calendar for the discounted price of £4.50, a saving of £3 (one per household).

Would-be members can join the Trust at the Showcase Gallery, on North Walsham’s Market Place, which has produced and sells the calendars. They feature many local views, including a photo of Ebridge Mill pond on the canal, taken by trust officer Julie Kelleher.

Members can help with the restoration effort in a variety of practical, administrative and social ways. Entry to canal film nights is free and they also receive a quarterly newsletter packed with information. Volunteer work parties are held on two Sundays of each month.

Annual membership costs £10 for an individual or £15 for a family. Anyone interested in joining can also visit the membership section of the trust’s website at www.nwdct.org or write to The North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust  Membership Secretary, 25 Drovers Way, Bishop’s Stortford, Hertforshire, CM23 4GF.

 

 

 

Travel agents launch fifth annual gift appeal in aid of Break charity

Hays Travel, in Aylsham and Sheringham, has launched its fifth annual Santa’s Sleigh appeal to spread cheer and change the lives of vulnerable children and young people this Christmas.

The team is asking people to pop into either branch and donate new, unwrapped items such as toys, gift sets, toiletries, household goods, stationery items or books in aid of the children and families that Norfolk-based charity Break supports throughout East Anglia.

Break supports young people in care, children with disabilities and families who need support, helping them through difficult times and securing a brighter future.

Branch manager of Hays Travel Aylsham (former CAS Travel) and initiator of the appeal Jo Dobbie said: “I like to be involved with the local community and there is nothing better than supporting a local charity especially in the festive season. I absolutely love Break’s ethos and this is a great opportunity for us to show support.

“I initially started Santa’s Sleigh at the Aylsham branch, and then got Sheringham on board with it too. It created bigger awareness for ourselves and for the appeal and we’re pleased to say they will be joining us again this year.”

Danielle Gravestock, senior fundraising officer for Break, said: “We can’t thank Hays Travel enough for the support they give us each year by organising their Santa’s Sleigh appeal.  We are very grateful to all their staff for organising the appeal and everyone who is contributing goods to support it. These gifts really do make a difference to the children and young people we support.”

Santa’s Sleigh started on Saturday and will run for four consecutive weeks until December 9.

Pictured are branch manager Jo Dobbie, Sam Antoniades-Cork, Mark Heffer and Karen Ashford.

 

Multi-million pound investment in sport for North Norfolk

A £12.6 million investment in state-of-the-art sporting facilities in North Norfolk will go before councillors next week.

The multi-million pound investment would see a £10 million new leisure centre with a swimming pool at the Splash site in Sheringham and a £2.6 million indoor tennis centre with gym at a new North Norfolk Community Sports Hub in Cromer, with satellite tennis facilities across the district at Fakenham, Wells and North Walsham.

The proposals will be considered at the council’s overview and scrutiny meeting next Wednesday. The reports will then go to Cabinet on December 4. If the proposals are supported they will go to full council on December 19 for the funding to be agreed.

Tom FitzPatrick, leader of North Norfolk District Council, said: “We know that keeping fit and active is important for residents. These ambitious plans would see a £12.6 million investment in sport and active leisure; that’s a wise investment for the Council as well as good news for the community who will benefit from better sports facilities.”

The North Norfolk Community Sports Hub would be created in partnership with Cromer Academy and part-grant funded by the Lawn Tennis association (LTA) and should be built by mid-2019 if councillors approve the proposals.

The new facility will include:

  • Three indoor tennis courts
  • Changing rooms
  • Toilets
  • Reception area
  • New bar/lounge and viewing gallery
  • 20 station-gym with an area for free weights and fitness
  • Studio space for fitness classes

In addition, a grant from the Lawn Tennis Association will provide for improved tennis facilities across the district, to drive up participation.

Building costs are estimated to be £2.6m for a ‘framed fabric’ indoor tennis facility or nearly £4 million for a traditional built facility.

Nick Amis, chairman of Cromer Lawn Tennis and Squash Association, said: “It has always been my aim to increase the sporting facilities at our club and we have been fortunate to have received support for very many years from NNDC in various forms. This project will enable us to increase our already well established coaching programme for 140+ juniors. We will be able to accommodate all ages and abilities in the new facility, bringing in other local clubs to use the new indoor courts and keeping fitness levels up, which is a key part of the NNDC plan for healthy living.”

Cromer Academy principal Dr Geoff Baker said: “These are fantastic and creative proposals that will make a lasting difference both to our pupils and the wider community.

“Sport is already a really important part of life at Cromer Academy and this investment will give our young people even more opportunities to take part both as individual players and in teams, and develop key social and leadership skills.”

The feasibility study for the replacement of the Splash Leisure and Fitness Centre in Sheringham considered three options: refurbishment of the existing site; a new build and a new build plus a health spa facility.  The new build option was by far the best value and will be taken forward if the proposal is approved by councillors.

It is recommending that a new leisure centre with a swimming pool is built on the site, partly funded by the sale of land for a hotel development.

The new build option, without the health spa, would see:

  • A £10 million investment in a new leisure and fitness centre
  • A 25m six lane pool
  • A learner pool
  • A splash pad/ fun water
  • A 50 station gym health and fitness suite
  • One large dividable studio
  • A spin studio
  • Two treatment rooms
  • A café

The study estimates that the new leisure centre will take around two years to complete and be open to the public from October 2020. Splash will continue to be open as usual to customers and members while future investment plans are considered by the authority.

PICTURE: CHRIS TAYLOR PHOTO

Small businesses encouraged to bid for concession pitches in North Norfolk

Start-up businesses and small traders are being given the chance to secure their own pitches across North Norfolk.

It follows a decision by North Norfolk District Council to increase the number of concession pitches across the area. It will increase consumer choice, benefit taxpayers and open up more opportunities for local businesses.

Judy Oliver, portfolio holder for asset commercialisation, said: “Our concession locations have always been popular and many businesses have come back year after year because of the opportunities the sites provide.

“Following a review of our portfolio, we have now identified some further possible sites for concessions. This will provide opportunities for more local businesses and a wider choice of facilities for locals and visitors, as well as providing further revenue for the council and the district.”

The sites are in places such as busy car parks and seaside promenades and the concessions typically include hot food and ice-cream vans, but NNDC is hoping to expand the offerings and will consider any business that wants to bid for a pitch.

North Norfolk District Council leader Tom FitzPatrick said: “Taking on a concession pitch can be a great way for start-up businesses to test the market and hone their skills before looking for bigger premises. The rents are more affordable than on fixed premises and running costs are lower.”

Two supporters of the concessions scheme are Nathan and Adele Boon (pictured), who signed a three-year deal last season on a pitch in Overstrand for their business, The Bucket List, which sells buckets of chips with homemade toppings.

Adele said: “It had been an idea we had wanted to pursue for a while but we needed the location to be just right. The concession at Overstrand gave us a very well-kept position overlooking the beautiful North Norfolk coast. Having the site has given us a fantastic concept and created the ability to grow our business fast.

“We promote the area and use it at the forefront of advertising through social media, and it has certainly worked. We couldn’t be happier with our pitch.”

North Norfolk’s concession businesses have traditionally operated between April and December but NNDC is looking to bring the 2018 start date forward to March, so that businesses can make the most of Easter.

To apply for a concession pitch, visit www.north-norfolk.gov.uk/concessions. Applications must be submitted by early January.

Children get inspired to help Children in Need

Primary schools all over Norfolk will be bringing colour to the lives of less fortunate youngsters with a charity effort through Inspired Youth.

The group is staging a Pudsey Challenge from November 13-17 in 10 primary schools across North, South, East and, West Norfolk as well as hosting an event in central Norwich.

It is estimated 300 Year 2 students will be taking part in the two-hour sessions which will involve decorating 100 Pudsey Bears.

Inspired Youth project delivery manager Melissa Dunning called on the business community to help reach their fundraising goal.

She said: “We are looking for 100 business people to give an hour of their time to come to the schools and help support the decorating of the bears.”

There’s also the chance for businesses to sponsor the events for £50 and have their name added to a giant Inspired Youth cog from its logo or to donate pens, glitter and the like for the events.

The bears are A1 size and three children plus a business helper will be assigned to decorate each bear using arts and crafts. There will be special prize for the best bear awarded on Friday.

The aim is to raise £500 for Children in Need.

To pledge an hour of support email Admin@inspired-youth.co.uk. Also use that email if you have items to donate for decorating the berars/

To pledge £50 sponsorship for Children in Need go to https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/pudsey100 or send a cheque payable to Inspired Youth projects, Inspired Youth, Henderson Business Centre, 51 Ivy Road, Earlham, Norwich, NR5 8BF.

On Twitter use @inspired__youth, @BBCCin and #pudesy100 to promote the event


Norwich North MP Chloe Smith is supporting the event. She is pictured her with Inspired Youth CEO Natalie Davies

Shakes, Rattle and Roll to whip up a sweet treat in Cromer

A new, American-themed takeaway milkshake bar is opening its doors in Cromer on Saturday (July 1) and is offering free taster shakes to celebrate.

Shakes, Rattle and Roll, the first of its kind to launch in Norfolk will offer customers the chance to create their own milkshake with 20 different flavours and an extensive menu of sauces and toppings to choose from.  Dairy-free and gluten-free options will also be available.

Located in Hamilton Road, the takeaway has been designed with a retro 1950s feel with a vibrant décor and a nod to the future with sustainable, eco-friendly cups and straws.

Shakes, Rattle and Roll owner, Leon Walder, from Roughton, said: “I am excited about the new bar and I cannot wait to open and welcome customers. Pop along, support a local, independent business and enjoy a fabulously-delicious milkshake made with locally produced ice cream.”

After Saturday’s launch, Shakes, Rattle and Roll will be open daily from 10am until 6pm, milkshakes will be charged at £3.50 each.

 

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 debbie@sheringhamlittletheatre.com (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 www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com

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

 

 

Fundraising is no obstacle to Cromer DIY team

Workmates at Cromer Homebase are building up to a marathon obstacle course challenge – for a cause close to their hearts.

The team will tackle 150 obstacles over  a 13-mile course this weekend to raise funds for cancer charities.

Team spokesman Tracy Harding said: “So many of us through our families and friends have been affected by cancer over recent years that we wanted to do something. Compared to what they have been through 13 miles of obstacles is nothing. It will be hard, but we are all going to stick together, regardless of people’s fitness. It is a team effort.”

Partner Rachel Harding’s mum Karen needs regular blood transfusions for a bone marrow condition. A friend’s niece, Evie, aged just five, is battling leukaemia for the second time, and work colleague is having chemotherapy for bone cancer having earlier had breast cancer. Another team member, Eve Galasky, lost both her parents Libby and David Facey to cancer in the past five years.

The Dirty Weekend event at Burghley House in Lincolnshire will see thousands of entrants scaling walls, crawling through mud pits, climbing ropes and jumping on to airbags in the fun event.

Other Homebase team members tackling the Half Mucker assault course are Jackie Hancock, Dan Lee and Chris Kime, with guests Beccy Jeffers and Bethany Batson.

Their efforts, which should take four to five hours, will help the Bloodwise charity (previously Leukaemia and Lymphona Research) and Children with Cancer UK.

They are also running a fundraising family fun day at Forest Park holiday park at Northrepps on Sunday, May 28, from 2pm. It is open to the public with stalls, children’s games, music and an auction. The team hopes the race and fun day will raise hundreds of pounds for their causes.

To support their efforts visit their Homebase Rat Race page on the Just Giving website. The team is also encouraging people to visit www.dkms.org.uk to find out more about joining the stem cell donor register.