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‘Join us to protect Sprowston’s heritage’

Sprowston residents worried about the amount of new development in their parish are being urged to join a club set up to serve and protect the community.

The non-political Sprowstonite Community Club was formed with those aims 22 years ago but has lain dormant for many years.

Moves to reinvigorate the club follow fears about the long-term future of the popular Sprowston Sports and Social Club (SSSC) on Blue Boar Lane.

The site, on land owned by the Gurney family, is slowly being encircled by bulldozers as hundreds of new homes are built, according to Terry Toomer, who has been associated with SSSC for 30 years and is also one of the Sprowstonite club’s founding members.

Negotiations are under way with the Gurney Estate to renew SSSC’s lease.

But Terry and other SSSC chiefs are worried that the site, which has been used by the community for about 100 years, is vulnerable and could be sold off.

He would like fellow residents to join the Sprowstonite club to demonstrate the amount of local support there is for the SSSC and for protecting Sprowston from too much development.

The SSSC, run by volunteers as a non-profit making organisation, has between 600-800 members and is used by residents of all ages every week, for a large range of sports activities, plus parties, wedding receptions, christening celebrations, and wakes.

Football and cricket teams have been playing on the land, known as Harrison’s Meadow, for about a century, according to Terry.

During his time in Sprowston, Terry, a former SSSC chairman, has seen the club blossom from what he described as “a wooden building like a Scout hut” to a multi-purpose asset for the community.

Three extensions have been added, plus a toilet block, upgraded dressing rooms, a sports court, and bowls lawn. About 95pc of the work was carried out by volunteers and funded by the club.

“Sprowston is quite a special place to be and the people who live here need protection. Because of the development taking place round Sprowston, the fear is the club site would be used for houses and Sprowston would lose 100 years of history. This is our heritage and I hope that thought will spur people on to get together to support it,” said Terry.

“My dream is that Sprowston Town Council or Broadland District Council buys the site for the community. It would be a wonderful gesture by the Gurneys if they would let that happen.”

  • Anyone interested in finding out more can contact the Sprowstonite Community Club on 07510 1490 22.

Sprowston Sports and Social Club

Sprowston Sports and Social Club’s outside facilities include a full-size football pitch, two mini-soccer pitches, a sports court and bowling green.

Through the week the club is used for short-mat bowls, pilates, soccer tots, yoga, football, darts and pool, as well as a variety of private celebrations and other functions.

Over the years the club has raised many thousands of pounds for good causes.

What the councils say

Terry Toomer and Richard Shorten, another former chairman of Sprowston Sports and Social Club, have asked Sprowston Town Council and Broadland District Council whether they would consider buying the site to safeguard its future for the community.

Sprowston Town Council told Just Sprowston Terry had been asked by the council to find out whether the premises were for sale and, if so, to give the landlord the council’s contact details.

“Mr Toomer has not been back to this office to advise of the outcome of this conversation,” said town clerk June Hunt.

“The council felt it would be ill advised to ask the question of the landlord with a tenant already in situ at the club.

“The town council has requested Broadland District Council to place this property on the Community Asset List for Sprowston but this request has been refused.”

Just Sprowston asked Broadland to explain why it had been refused. A spokesman said: “The nomination for listing was refused on November 22 2016. The reasons for refusal were: The Gurney Family Trust had owned the property for many years and had a commitment to make it available on long leases for sports and leisure use.

“The club lease was secured under the 1954 Landlord and Tenant Act so the club had an entitlement to remain in occupation for the foreseeable future, subject to the lease terms being adhered to.

The present lease was due for renewal and the club had been offered a new 10-year lease.

“We appreciate that circumstances may have changed since the time the decision was made and it is open to Sprowston Town Council to resubmit a nomination.”

JOIN US: Sprowstonite Community Club founder members pictured in 1996. From left: Beverley Stebbings, Nigel Stebbings, Terry Toomer, Terry Haigh and Sharon Poynter


FOOTBALL: a Sprowston team pictured in 1920. Back, from left: Captain Raper, Charlie Wegg, Stanley Fowler, Walter Shorten, Bob Guymer, Berto Blyth. Middle: Lenny Shorten, Arthur Carter, Geoff Key. Front: Robbie Young, Teddy Dawson, Bob Pointer, George Duffield, Jimmy Carter

CRICKET: a Sprowston cricket team in 1922. Back, from left: Cecil Clabburn, Arthur Humphrey, AR Humphrey, Berto Blyth. Middle: Donny Wright, Eddie Dawson, Stanley Pointer, unknown. Front: Jack Carter, Arthur Wegg, Walter Shorten, Stanley Medler

CONCERN: Terry Toomer

 

 

 


 

EVER NEARER: distant building work can be seen in this view across part of Sprowston Sports and Social Club’s bowling lawn and football pitch

 

Sprowston event for medics who saved tot’s foot

A couple whose toddler daughter was involved in a horrific accident are holding a Family Fun Day in Sprowston to thank the medical charity whose volunteer’s expertise saved her foot.

The event, at Sprowston Sports and Social Club, will be held on May 27 – exactly a year after Amelia Duncan (pictured) was seriously injured.

One-year-old Amelia was playing in the family garden while her dad Ben was cutting the grass, using a ride-on lawn mower.

The tot ran into the machine’s path and was caught underneath it. When Ben lifted it off her, Amelia’s terrified parents saw that her right leg had been deeply gashed by the lawn mower’s blades.

They rang 999 and first on the scene was an ambulance crewed by two paramedics and a student paramedic.

As they rushed Amelia to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn – the nearest to the family’s home in Wisbech – the ambulance was met en route by critical care paramedic Carl Smith, a volunteer with the charity Norfolk Accident Rescue Service (NARS).

Doctors and paramedics who volunteer with NARS have received extra training to provide specialised trauma care.

Carl assessed Amelia and realised that to save her foot she would need specialist plastic surgery, carried out at a major regional trauma hospital like Addenbrooke’s, in Cambridge, and so the ambulance took the little girl there instead.

Over the next three weeks Amelia underwent seven operations, including major surgery on her second birthday, three days after the accident. Today she is making good progress but still has a scar on her leg.

NARS receives no funding from the government or NHS and relies entirely on public donations and Ben and his wife Tracy, who have two older children as well, want to say ‘thank you’ by raising as much money as possible for the charity at the Sprowston event.

They own BT’s Roadshow, which provides a range of equipment for parties and events, including bouncy castles which will feature at the fun day, together with stalls, face painting and many other attractions.

Ben said: “We would like as many people as possible to come along and support this fantastic cause. These fantastic people saved our daughter, along with amazing paramedics.”

He added: “Amelia isn’t fully recovered and may need further operations and will be under Addenbrooke’s for many more years to come.

“We are holding the fun day at Sprowston as there is a good community spirit there and we do a lot of events throughout the year for them.”