If you’re after a show that has everything, this is for you.

Norwich Theatre Royal hosts Willy Russell’s award-winning, long-running musical, Blood Brothers.

It follows the story of twin brothers, Eddie and Mickey, who were separated at birth during the 1960’s in Liverpool.

Their lives were at opposite ends of the spectrum, one being raised by a wealthy middle-class family ¬- and the other in a life of trouble and poverty. One of the brothers has an amazing life of luxury, while the other has very little to his name. Having grown up as friends but never known about each other, they find themselves realising the truth in a devastating twist of fate.

The cast remained the same throughout, playing the characters from 7 years old (or nearly 8 according to Mickey), right through to adulthood. Cleverly showing the vulnerability of being a carefree child, to the severity of having to deal with adult life.

Sean Jones (Mickey) and Mark Hutchinson (Eddie) played the roles of the boys, with all ages of the characters being executed in a realistic and moving way, showing a real contrast.

Lyn Paul played the twins mother, Mrs Johnstone, and had a real motherly presence throughout, not to mention her amazing vocal talents that suited this character perfectly.

Dean Chisnall narrated the show, with the most captivating vocals. Although he was subtle with his stage presence, he was always there to tell the story in a demanding way. A real star of the show for me.

The minimal set had everything it needed to set the scene and show contrast between the boy’s lives.

Blood Brothers was the first show I ever saw in London’s West End as a school girl and it has made a huge impact on me ever since, it gave me my love for musicals. Nearly 20 years later, I was hopeful that it would make as much of an impact on me now as it did back then, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. The story of nature vs nurture develops in a wonderful yet heart breaking way. It will strike a chord with anyone, no matter what age or background, there is something for everyone to take away from this story.

If you’re after a show that has everything, this is for you. From laugh out loud moments, to touching scenes with tear jerking devastation. There is no other show like this. Not one person still in their seat as it came to an end, and I’m sure not a dry eye in the house.

Blood Brothers will be running at Norwich Theatre Royal from now until 23 September.

Tickets available here

Amie Croxton

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 Also use that email if you have items to donate for decorating the berars/

To pledge £50 sponsorship for Children in Need go to 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

Suspicious man seen at time of Eaton burglary

Police are keen to find a man wearing dark clothing who was acting suspiciously at the time of a burglary in Eaton.

A watch was stolen from an address in Hardwick Close at around 10pm on Monday  September 4.

Officers are keen to hear from anyone who may have any information and in particular, anyone who may have seen the man.

Anyone with information should contact DC Hayley Jennings at Norwich CID on 101.

Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.


Support for women through that ‘tricky period’

Homeless women and females on low incomes will benefit from a new service set up to provide free sanitary products at Norwich’s main libraries.

The Tricky Period project involves the libraries taking donations of products and handing them out to people who cannot afford them, with no questions asked about proof of eligibility.

Staff at Tuckswood, Earlham, West Earlham, Mile Cross, Plumstead Road, St Williams Way and The Millennium libraries have been taking in donations of tampons, sanitary towels and carrier bags for the last few weeks ready to start the scheme on Thursday, September 28.

Community librarian Caroline Varney-Bowers is behind the project. She said: “I became aware of a project called The Homeless Period where homeless women struggle to afford these items and did some further research about period poverty. I found this is also an issue for young women from low income families and sometimes leads to girls missing school during their period.

“Library staff have been hugely supportive of starting up this service and we have already had some donations.”

Order forms will be available in Norwich Libraries at the staff desk (at The Millennium Library this will be the ground floor joining desk). Customers can tick the products they require and hand in their form at the desk and receive the items they need.

Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, chairman of Norfolk County Council’s communities committee, said: “It’s fantastic that our library staff have set up this service which will help vulnerable women and girls in Norwich. As well as the problem of affordability, this could potentially improve women’s health, as there are risks associated with not changing sanitary products regularly. The Tricky Period may also help to reduce period related truancy from school or time off work. I would encourage library users to support the project by making donations of supplies.”

Norwich foodbank is supporting the project as they are acutely aware that many who access their services find it very difficult to ask for these items.

Norfolk County Council’s Library and Information Service works closely with the council’s Public Health team on the Healthy Libraries project to improve awareness, information and support around health and wellbeing to people living in Norfolk.

This also includes supporting and promoting public health campaigns around issues including dementia awareness and reducing childhood obesity. Libraries work with local and national organisations to host events which encourage people to improve their health and wellbeing.
The service is available during library opening hours.

Just Regional is keen to support this initiative and we have offered to our offices as a point for anyone who would like to donate sanitary products. Just drop your donations off to our HQ in Penfold Street, Aylsham, NR11 6ET and we will make sure they get to the libraries in Norwich.

Editor Gay Webster said: “This is something which most women take for granted, that they have access to sanitary pads and tampons. It’s only right that all women have that choice and we are happy to be part of this worthwhile scheme.”

Police appeal on man in Norwich CCTV photo

Police are appealing for help to identify this man (see photo below) who was pictured on a CCTV camera following the theft of a bike in Norwich.

The theft happened near a property in Bates Green between 7pm and 9pm on Friday July 28.

The stolen bike is described as  a green Carrera with white stickers and white wheel rims.

Anyone who may recognise the man, whom police would like to speak to in connection with the theft, or anyone with information, should contact PC Chris Paton at Earlham Police Station on 101.

Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.





Norwich firm among top tech companies in UK

A Norwich firm, launched with a £5,000 loan, has gained a prestigious national ranking.

Notice Media, which makes free financial comparisons easy for users, features on the Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100, published on September 10. The list recognises fast-growing tech companies in the UK.

The company, which started over 10 years ago, operates financial comparison site which now attracts more than 450,000 users each month.

The site was launched by three entrepreneurs who built up their digital media expertise while working for online agencies, Google and insurance company Aviva.

The Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 listing is open to private companies with yearly revenue sales between £5m and £50m. The programme is designed to recognise the top 100 UK tech companies, and ranks them according to average sales increase over a three-year period.

The firm’s success has been attributed to the team’s desire to develop technology that helps users make quick, simple and clear financial comparisons through a variety of tables, tools and filters. Knowyourmoney users can compare the details of current accounts, business banking, loans, mortgages and breakdown cover.

The site aims to simplify financial product information allowing users to make informed financial decisions.

Breaking into the Sunday Times Tech Track 100 caps a series of recent accolades for the Norwich company. Having been voted Website of the Year in 2016, the site recently scooped the title of Best Comparison Site for Mortgages at the 2017 What Mortgage awards.

Operations director John Ellmore believes the website’s competitive edge comes from the ability to react quickly to market conditions.

He said: “Knowyourmoney’s strength is in our ability to quickly apply latest technology developments to the comparison service. We are certain that our team’s continuous desire to be the best-in-field, will ensure we continue to offer users a great comparison service”. Commercial director Jason Tassie attributes the recent success to the fantastic team ethic of the company.

“Over the last three years the team has grown knowyourmoney into a site capable of competing with the big household financial comparison brands. We are so proud of the team for this achievement, and breaking into the Sunday Times Tech Track 100 is great recognition for the fantastic effort we put in”.

Pictured: The Notice Media team in Norwich

Four arrested after big fight in Norwich

Police are investigating a fight involving a large number of people in Norwich.

Officers were called to Peterson Park, in Peterson Road, at approximately 6.30pm on Tuesday September 5.

Three teenage boys and a woman in her 40s were arrested on suspicion of affray and have been released from custody but remain under investigation.

Officers are keen to speak anyone who witnessed the incident or anyone with information. They can contact PC Craig Middleton-Keen at Mile Cross Police Station on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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.