Author Archives: Just Regional

Let there be lights in Cromer

Volunteers have begun their weekend work parties to make sure Cromer’s Christmas goes with a sparkle.

Sunday sessions see hi-vis helpers giving up their time to string festive illuminations around the streets.

The town should see them for the first time at a planned switch on event at 5.45pm on Saturday December 4, Covid restrictions allowing. But the work begins a long while before that.

Cromer Christmas Lights spokesman Paul Whittingham said: “We begin at the start of October to give us a bit of leeway if the weather is bad, and we don’t work during half term because the streets are too busy.”

The 30-strong team drawn from all walks of life spends virtually all day hanging the lights using a cherry picker, having had the strings and feature lights checked by a trained electrician.

The lights cost around £3,500 to £4,000 to run – with power, replacements and maintenance, plus insurance and are fitted to professional standards.

Paul praised the town council for its £2,500 grant and traders who support the lights – especially last year when they were still put up despite the pandemic but lack of an official switch-on meant tombola and raffle income was lost.

Donations from traders and the public are welcome and can be made at a collection point in the Upstairs Downstairs gift shop.


Volunteers keep the marsh paths open

A plastic bridge and a “corduroy path” have been added to Marston Marsh by a team of volunteers.

The bridge, using recycled plastic planks, replaces a wooden one which had passed its sell-by date, finished off by winter floods which put it under 4ft of water.

The path repair – using a mix of willow branches and hoggin – fills in a muddy hollow caused by grazing cattle.

Both projects will enable people to enjoy walking around the marshland beauty spot, and have been carried out by volunteers from the Norwich Fringe Project, which helps maintain a range of around 40 sites in the greater Norwich area.

Volunteer Chris Stebbing from Eaton, where he is chairman of the Eaton Village Residents Association, has been helping as a volunteer for 10 years and enjoys the work.

The new plastic bridge taking shape and the corduroy bridge under construction.

He said: “It’s great getting out working in the fresh air, with like-minded people. We are mostly retired but from a range of different backgrounds, and get trained to use things like brushcutters, power barrows and chipper machines.”

The team, which include several other Eaton residents, are putting the finishing touches to the 16ft span bridge whose recycled plastic looks like wood but will last much longer without rotting.

The 20ft stretch of repaired pathway gets its “corduroy” name from the ribbed willow branches used in its construction before seven tonnes of hoggin was compacted on top to get a smooth finish.

Marston Marsh is a 26-hectare floodplain area on the northern side of the River Yare. Management includes tending the many dykes running through the site while grass is controlled by summer grazing by cattle and mowing.  There are also small areas of damp woodland and willows which are kept under control by pollarding or coppicing.

The Norwich Fringe Project, launched in 1991, provides countryside management for sites as diverse as woodlands, meadows, marsh, heathland and ponds.

Find out more about the Norwich Fringe Project and its work at its website

Television auction show to be filmed in Aylsham

TV auctions expert Christina Trevanion and restoration maestro Will Kirk will be filming in Aylsham on Friday (October 15) for a brand new BBC show ‘The Travelling Auctioneers’.

The pair will be heading up a special auction at the Bure Valley Railway, in partnership with Keys Auctioneers and Valuers.

Bidders will be vying for 42 special lots selected and restored by the pair as part of the new show, which aims to unearth hidden gems and turn unwanted items into winning lots.

The programme will see Will and Christina sift through a family home in each episode, identifying items which they believe will sell at auction, with Will bringing his craft and restoration skills to bring new life to neglected treasures.

Keys is providing the logistics and staff for the special auction, which will see Christina Trevanion yielding the gavel on the day.

“We are delighted to be chosen to bring our auction expertise to this exciting new show,” said Keys managing director Tim Blyth.  “Aylsham is a real regional centre for antiques, so it’s great to see the TV cameras here for this special auction.

“We hope lots of bidders will turn out for the sale, which has some very interesting lots.”

Included in the 42-lot sale are several pieces of jewellery, including an Indian high-grade bangle with a pre-sale estimate of £2,000-£2,500; various pieces of early 20th century furniture; ceramics from Royal Worcester and Villeroy & Boch; two Victorian chaises-longue; and a number of quirky items such as a collection of corkscrews and a mid 19th century Staffordshire tobacco jar modelled as Wellington – complete with cover modelled as his hat.

The sale takes place at 2pm at The Bure Valley Railway in Aylsham, with online bidding on Keys’ bespoke live bidding platform KeysLive.  Full details of the sale, including a catalogue, can be found at

‘The Travelling Auctioneers’ is being produced for the BBC by STV Studios.  The programme will be shown on BBC One next year.

Christina Trevanion and Will Kirk from the BBC show ‘The Travelling Auctioneers’.

Customers urged to oppose closure of Barclays’ Aylsham branch

Customers of Barclays Bank in Aylsham have been urged to join forces with the town’s MP to oppose the closure of the branch in January.

Barclays says its Market Place branch will close on January 11, meaning the nearest branches will be more than 10 miles away in Hoveton or Drayton.

The company, which does not plan to make any redundancies, said 107 regular customers used the Aylsham branch exclusively for their banking and highlighted a “sustained fall” in branch visits across the UK.

However, Broadland MP Jerome Mayhew (pictured outside the bank) has voiced his opposition to the decision and asked personal and business customers to tell him how the closure would affect them.

In a message to constituents, Mr Mayhew said: “I was really disappointed to hear from the regional directors of their intention to close our local branch.
“Barclays serves tens of thousands of personal and business customers in our town and the surrounding villages.

“I will write to Barclays expressing my clear objection to this decision, but I need your help.”

Mr Mayhew has asked for customers to email him at to explain the impact the closure will have on them.

He added: “If the closure is causing you to reconsider who you bank with, then please do make this case very clearly to help further our cause. I am very keen that we exhaust every avenue available to prevent this from going…”

Mr Mayhew added that the closure would particularly affect older customers who did not wish to do their banking online.

A Barclays spokesperson said: “The decision to close a branch is never an easy one. However, customers are increasingly using alternatives to branches to do their banking. As a result, we are seeing a sustained fall in branch visits across the UK.

“We will work with our customers and provide alternative options to ensure they can continue to manage their money and receive financial expertise when required.”

The bank said it provided customers with a wide range of options to complete their banking, including the Barclays app, and telephone, online and video banking. It added that “everyday” transactions could be completed at the Post Office based in Budgens, in Norwich Road.

The bank added that staff at the Aylsham branch would be offered alternative roles in Barclays and in terms of the future of the building, a spokesperson added: “The building is leased and our property team will be talking to the landlord about returning the building as soon as possible.”

Jerome Mayhew MP

Three arrests after assault

Three men have been arrested in connection with an assault in Cromer.

The incident happened at approximately 8.30pm on Thursday, September 9, along Runton Road. Four victims, three men and one woman, were allegedly approached by a group of unknown men, before being verbally abused.

Bottles were then thrown towards the victims before one of the men was kicked by a suspect.

The victims, all aged in their 20s, suffered minor injuries.

Three men, two aged in their 20s and the other in his late teens, were arrested on September 27 in connection with the incident. They have all been released under investigation pending further inquiries.

Man dies from head injuries

A man who was critically injured during an incident in Thorpe Market last week has died in hospital.

Police were called to Station Road shortly before 6pm on Friday, September 17, following reports of an altercation near the Suffield Arms.

A man aged in his 50s was treated at the scene by paramedics and taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital by air ambulance with life threatening head injuries. He died yesterday (Thursday, September 23).

A Home Office post mortem examination will be held in due course.

A man in his 40s was arrested at the scene in connection with the incident and remains on police bail while officers continue with their investigation.

Watch artists at work

Artists from the Aylsham area are set to welcome visitors into their studios from this weekend.

Makers and creators in and around the town will open their studio doors in September and October as part of one of the most successful Open Studios schemes in the country.

One of four art trails is in the Aylsham area featuring the work of Cherry Linda Cooke (textiles), Philip de Paolo (furniture and wood carving), Mavy Burden (woven fabrics), Susan Bell (landscapes, animals, flowers), Vivienne Head (designer jewellery), Jean Hawke (landscapes and buildings), and Mary Newton (landscape, seascape, portraits).

Artist Susan Bell will be one of those opening her studio for the event.

Ros Dixon, Norfolk Open Studios administrator, said: “It’s exciting to realise that Norfolk Open Studios is returning this year. After last year’s event was cancelled it feels particularly special, as well as it being the first time the scheme will take place in the autumn.

“We hope that the opportunity for visitors to be out and about exploring Norfolk at this magical time of the year, and meeting artists and seeing amazing artwork, will continue to offer much enjoyment and inspiration to people, as Opens Studios always has.”

Norfolk Open Studios will take place between September 25 and October 10.

For more information on the artists, trails and studio locations visit

Bargains galore for your Big Day

Beautiful wedding dresses and accessories at bargain prices are on sale at an Eaton charity shop’s new bridal department.

The PACT shop, in Eaton Road, offers a range of pre-loved outfits for that special day in its wedding and prom department.

It opened in July and is crammed full of wedding dresses, veils, shoes, hats, fascinators, jewellery, menswear and flower girl, bridesmaid or prom dresses.

They have all been generously donated to the shop and are available at a fraction of the price of brand new items.

Shop manager Sarah Reynolds said: “I am genuinely shocked and overwhelmed by the beautiful items that have been donated for our bridal department.

“When customers come in, they are often amazed at what they see – not just in our bridal section but in all areas of our charity shop.

“I would just like to say thank you to all our donors and customers for their continued support.”

People can try on the outfits in the shop and a local dry cleaner, who does alterations, has offered to assist with fittings. Each wedding dress comes with a bridal bag for safe storage.

The dress being modelled by Sarah’s daughter Bethany Blake is currently on sale for £275 including the veil. It is a fitted dress, with a tight-beaded bodice, floaty skirt, beaded detail and a short train.

The shop, which raises money for the PACT Animal Sanctuary, is open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 9.30am to 4.30pm. If you have a wedding dress to donate, Sarah will collect it within a 10-mile radius of Eaton. Please call (01603) 456590 and ask for Sarah.

For more information about PACT and the work they do to help animals, visit their website at

BRIDAL BARGAINS: Wedding outfits and accessories are being sold in a new department at the PACT charity shop. Bethany Blake is show modelling one of the dresses.