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Exercise highlights issues for blind in North Walsham

The group of people making their way with caution through North Walsham might be have attracting plenty of attention from passers-by, but half of them had no idea.

They were taking part in an awareness exercise to highlight some of the problems the blind and partially-sighted have when navigating the town on a day-to-day basis.

It was organised by Guide Dogs East Anglia and involved local police officers, police cadets and two members of the community Scott Vallance with his guide dog German Shepherd Benji, and Paul Monaghan with Gizmo, the more usual Labrador. Pauline and Doug Parker were also in attendance with trainee puppy Duffy.

Helen Sismore, community engagement officer for Guide Dogs East Anglia, said: “Today we have been able to raise awareness regarding obstacles that people who are blind or partially sighted face on a daily basis. These can be A-Boards, vehicles parked on kerbs or tactile pavings, overhanging parked vehicles into the pavement space when parking, cyclists, and the impact of dog attacks on Guide Dogs.”

There are two million people registered with sight loss in the UK. This is set to double by 2050 and 180,000 people with sight loss rarely leave their homes because of the above hazards and the feeling of not being safe when out and about.

Helen said: “The exercise today helps to build awareness in the community and highlight what the issues are. With a little bit of foresight we can help to make our communities safer so they become inclusive to all especially people who are blind or partially sighted. Think about where you are parking, think about where you are placing your A-board. Does it make the pavement too narrow? If you are a dog owner does your dog lunge or bark at working dogs? Correct it or move away! As a cyclist respect the person you are cycling behind either dismount or tell them you are behind them. Simple steps make all the difference.”

PC Davison said: “I found it terrifying. When you can’t see the traffic seems so loud and so very close to you. I was completely dependent on the person who was guiding me around the town and had to trust them completely to describe hazards around me.”

Chief Insp Wes Hornigold said: “For me, it was great to be able to get involved with members of the blind community, having already been invited to talk at the North Walsham guide dog forum. I was amazed how difficult it was to simply navigate around the town and showed to me how important it is for our paths and walkways to be clear of obstructions.”

The 10 police cadets who took part were all members of the local group which meets on Thursday evenings during term time.

The group is open to youngsters aged 13-16 and sessions are held at the police station. An open evening is planned for Thursday, March 1, at 7.30pm for those interested in finding out more about the group and joining.

For more information email NNCadets@norfolk.pnn.police.uk.

North Walsham care service nominated for award

Extra Care Home Services in North Walsham has been nominated for a Skills for Care Accolades award that celebrates the outstanding achievements of the very best adult social care employers in England.

They have been nominated in the Best Employer under 50 category which recognises Extra Care Home Services for the work it does in supporting the people who access their services.

The business provides practical and personal care support to individuals in their own homes in the North Walsham area. They won two awards last year at the Norfolk Care Awards 2017 for Motivational Leadership and Rising Star and this year they are also shortlisted finalist in the category Excellent Person Centred Care and Support and will find out if they have won at the Gala Night at Sprowston Manor on February 22.

Sarah Thompson, owner and registered manager said: “When we found out that we had made the final of the Skills for Care Accolades we were delighted because it is a reward on a national stage for all our team, and the hard work they put in to make sure we offer high quality services for the people we work with.

“It is a recognition that our investment in the development of the people who work for us has paid off, and for all the hard work people put into making sure they have the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to do a great job. It is amazing to be recognised at National level for the work we believe so passionately in. We are up against a care home from Essex and a home care company based in the Bournemouth area.”

Skills for Care has been hosting the Accolades awards for the last 14 years honouring hundreds of organisations who all share a genuine commitment to developing the skills and knowledge of their workforce.

They will find if they have won at the Skills for Care Accolades awards night in London on Thursday,  March 1.

Sarah pictured centre at a previous awards last year.

Marathon mission for North Walsham man

Teacher Stephen Brown is on a mission to raise money for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).
Having worked alongside children for nearly nine years, he wanted to do something to support those who don’t have the life they deserve and is currently in training to run  the London Marathon in April.
“As a child, I grew up in a loving family home and was cared for and loved deeply. Sadly, not all children have such privileges,” he said. “In 2016, it was recorded that more than 58,000 children in the UK suffered some form of abuse – 58,000! This unbelievably high number shocked and saddened me so, so much.”
The NSPCC works tirelessly supporting and counselling children who have suffered some form of abuse; whether it be physical, emotional or sexual.
And Stephen’s marathon effort on Sunday, April 22, will be to raise awareness and money for the NSPCC.
“I would be so grateful to anyone who is willing to donate to this amazing cause and help inspire me to complete my challenge,” he said.
Stephen, who recently moved to North Walsham, has a Just Giving page where people can donate and also follow his progress, with blog updates. He currently has £195 towards his target of £2,200.
He added: “If you do see me out running in North Walsham, please give me a wave or a hoot from your car.”
“Please realise that any donation is hugely appreciated and will go a long way towards helping me reach my goal and, more importantly, helping children who deserve a better and safer life.”

See more at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stephen-brown62

 

Body found in search for North Walsham man

Police believe the body of the young man found this morning near North Walsham was that of missing 20-year-old Ian Tang.

The body was found in an area of woodland at Swafield at 11.15am by a small group who had joined around 200 members of the community, the Fire and Rescue Service and Lowland Rescue in the search at 10am this morning.

Ian went missing after leaving Club KA in North Walsham at 2.30am after spending the evening with friends. CCTV in the town shows him alone, walking towards the B1145. He was sighted later near the bypass and was last seen between 5.45 and 6am near the Pigney’s Wood/Swafield area by a passing motorist.

At a briefing at North Walsham police station this afternoon, Wes Hornigold, Chief Inspector for North Norfolk and Broadland, said they had yet to officially identify the body but were working closely and supporting the family while this was carried out.

And he praised the huge community effort which had aided the search. “It was absolutely fantastic to see such a real community effort, people really came out in force, giving up their time to help. It was a testament to the community spirit of North Walsham. I was overcome with the amount of people who came to North Walsham police station this morning.”

Members of the community had also been out the evening before searching in the dark.

He said Ian was obviously well-liked within the community and said: “Our thoughts are with the family at this time.”

He said a formal identification was expected today or tomorrow and the investigation would continue to piece together what happened, though Ian’s death was not being treated as suspicious at this time.

Police and volunteers had carried out door-to-door inquiries and posters had been put up in the town. An appeal had also gone out on Facebook asking for help in the search.

Ian worked at Rossis Leisure in North Walsham as well as attending college. Fitness classes at Rossis were this afternoon suspended out of respect to him. Operations manager Chris Carr said the staff were coming to terms with the tragedy. “Ian was a well-liked member of the team and many staff here were very close to him. Our thoughts are with his family and friends,” he said.

Chief Inspector Wes Hornigold

 

 

Mobile phone signal boost for North Walsham

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb has welcomed news of a big improvement to mobile phone reception in North Walsham.

The MP has recently been informed that a new communications mast is being built at the town’s Anglia Water Marshgate sewage works , and is forecast to become operational by the end of the year. It will be used by mobile phone operators 02 and Vodafone.

Norman said: “This is a major boost for the town’s residents and for those who need mobile phones for their work and businesses. I also thank residents for their support in the long campaign that helped to bring this about.”

A large part of the town should benefit from improved mobile phone signal. In particular, a swathe of the town from Marshgate to Spa Common and the Brick Kiln Estate which has had poor mobile phone signal should see a significant improvement.

It follows a long campaign by residents, supported by Norman Lamb and local councillors led by Eric Seward, for better mobile phone reception in North Walsham. Earlier this year a planning application for a new communications mast at the town’s sewage works was made. It received widespread public support and planning permission was given by North Norfolk District Council in June.

Campaign for road safety in North Walsham moves forward

Campaigners in North Walsham have taken new steps to improve safety along two busy roads into the town.

Residents and councillors gathered at the junction of Aylsham Road and Skeyton New Road this morning (September 27) to display new signs urging motorists to take care and cut their speeds.

The idea came from campaigner and resident Bernie Marfleet who had seen the signage working in Switzerland and thought it would help in North Walsham.

The distinctive signs, which show two children asking motirists to cut their speed, have been introduced along both roads with pleas for 20mph limits. Norfolk County Council has also stepped in by painting lamp posts along the road orange to make them stand out so motorists can avoid clipping them as they pass.

Bernie said: “We want children to be able to walk and cycle safely to school and visit friends and playgrounds and that  parents can let them do this without fear and worry.”

The campaign has seen the support locally from haulage companies and from local printer North Walsham Signs.

The aim now is to create a path into the town and a meeting of councillors and the police is to be held in early October with Norfolk County Council Highways officers to discuss this and a list of other actions proposed to calm the traffic.

County councillor Eric Seward, who was there this morning, said: “Aylsham Rd in the town is a relatively narrow residential street that should not be a main lorry route due to it containing the only railway bridge that heavy lorries can access. The long-term solution is a new link road from Norwich Rd to the Lyngate industrial estate to remove heavy lorries from the town’s residential streets.

“I therefore welcome the county council’s recent announcement that North Walsham will be in the first batch of market towns for a study to look at the transport implications of housing and economic growth in the town. This ought to provide the evidence for public funding to support a new link road on the western side of the town where any new housing is likely to be located. In the meantime the safety of residents and pedestrians in Aylsham Road needs to be improved. The meeting in early October is an important step forward in helping to bring this about.”

Special open days to show off canal work

Canal fans from across Britain, and further afield, gave up their summer holidays to help restore part of Norfolk’s heritage.
More than 30 volunteers took part in a Waterways Recovery Group (WRG) camp on part of the unique North Walsham and Dilham Canal. The waterway is Norfolk’s only sailing canal with locks.
The workforce spent two weeks rebuilding the derelict spillway – or overflow – at Ebridge, just above the dilapidated lock.
Once finished, the restored spillway will make it easier to control water levels along the 19th-century waterway, which fell into disrepair after the last wherry sailed it in 1934.
The work at Ebridge, coupled with the newly-restored spillway 1.29 miles away at Royston and the almost-complete restoration of the lock at Bacton Wood Mill, means that it will soon be possible to water a dry section of the Canal, between Pigney’s Wood and Spa Common.
The added section will mean that a 3.7km (2.3 mile) stretch of the canal, originally nearly nine miles long, will have been re-opened, thanks to supporters and canal owners, over the past 17 years.
Work on the Royston spillway was carried out by volunteer work parties organised by the North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust. They spent 851 hours over three months clearing, levelling and bricking the spillway, working at an angle of 45 degrees. A paid workforce on a basic wage would have earned about £6,000 in that time.
Bob Crow, who led the second week, said they would complete about 60% of the work needed to finish the Ebridge spillway.
Among the volunteers was Evelyne Laveaux who had travelled from her home in north-east France to help.
“I am very much interested in conservation and restoration and I am a teacher of English in France so this allows me to combine both interests, and practise my English,” she said.
“It’s varied work and it’s an opportunity to learn things I didn’t know, like bricklaying.”
The group stayed in North Walsham Scout Hut during their camp and fitted in trips to Norwich and Cromer.
Other volunteers, who included young people completing their Duke of Edinburgh Gold awards, came from places including Cardiff, Lichfield, London, Sheffield and Lancaster.
Bob, from Brightlingsea, said they had spent the first part of the camp ripping out concrete and bricks placed over the spillway as part of Second World War defences.
The hardest job had been rolling the ground to compact it, working on a 30 degree incline. They had then reinstated the crest wall at the top of the structure and had finally worked on brick-facing the weir slope.
The WRG workers attracted a lot of attention from the many dog walkers, canoeists, fishermen and other canal users. Bob added: “People kept stopping to say ‘Lovely work. When can you come and do my patio?’”
There will be a chance to learn all about the canal and its restoration on September 9 (11am-5pm) and September 10 (10am-4pm) when the trust takes part in the national Heritage Open Days.
Visit Ebridge Mill pond (NR28 9NG for satnav users) for the chance to walk the 2.5 miles of canal path, or bring a canoe and take to the water. The trust will be offering trips on a work boat and volunteers will be on hand to talk about the work parties.
Wildlife officer Perry Hampson will have photographs on display and be there to talk about the wealth of flora and fauna found on the canal. There will be heritage photos and a display of finds, as well as an information
and membership tent, refreshments, a tombola and bric-a-brac stall.

Ebridge spillway before restoration.

The work in progress over the summer

Subway for North Walsham

Fast food chain Subway has confirmed it is opening in North Walsham and is advertising for staff.

A spokesperson commented: “We are pleased to confirm that a new Subway® store will be opening within the McColl’s convenience store in North Walsham. The store is expected to open on October 18 and is recruiting for up to 10 jobs.”

Nick Lee, from the chamber of trade said, said: “North Walsham Chamber for business welcomes new business into the town, this shows North Walsham is a location national chains wish to be seen in. North Walsham has a uniqueness about it and is not just another high street. However we recognise that local customers also want national chains.”