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Sean’s going home after covid ordeal

Sean Hunte has spent almost the whole of 2021 in hospital after suffering serious covid-19 complications. And now, after 203 days in the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, he has left hospital to continue his recovery at home.

Sean, from Eaton received a guard of honour from the team on Docking ward and critical care staff after starting his treatment on 3 January.

Sean, who works as a cover supervisor in schools, was on critical care for 120 days and has been on Docking ward for the last five weeks.

He praised the care and support he received during his seven month admission.

“The care I received has been fantastic and the staff have gone beyond what I expected,” he said.

“The nurses and physiotherapists have been really friendly and when I was feeling down they really supported my mental health and the staff being nice to me has got me through the dark times. I had six nurses around my bed singing happy birthday to me last Thursday when I turned 58. Some of the staff I do not know because I was out of it, but Skye and Ross have been brilliant and are really good people.”

Sean has had adaptations made to his house to help with his mobility, said he was looking forward to continuing his rehabilitation at home.

“I have had dark times being in hospital for seven months and I want to get home to see my wife and two boys. I am looking forward to my wife’s cooking and having some good Caribbean cooking. I could not keep much food down, but I’m now ready for some good Jamaican and Antiguan food.”

And he said his experience meant he was urging people to get vaccinated.

“Covid is deadly serious and it is definitely the best thing to do is to get the vaccine,” he said. “The general feeling of being wiped out was horrendous, I was experiencing horrible hallucinations and it was very difficult not being able to talk when I had my tracheotomy. I used to play tennis three days a week and went to the gym, but I still cannot walk without an aid.”

Sam Higginson, NNUH Chief Executive, said: “It is fantastic to see that Sean is well enough to go home, which is testament to the great care he received from our teams and we wish him all the best with his ongoing recovery.”

A video of the guard of honour can be viewed here https://youtu.be/-eU6YM2TAuU

Cromer’s peerless pier show is back and flying high!

Oh, Cromer Pier show – it’s good to have you back, writes Richard Batson

After a lost summer laid waste by lockdowns, this cocktail of seaside stage tradition has returned in all its glory – with a few new twists to add to the flavour.

Animated backdrop projections add another dimension to an already multi-faceted masterpiece. And instead of two alternating shows, this year there are different guest performers every week to keep the show fresh through the whole season, which finishes on October 2.

Opening night kicked off with Tucker – a firm favourite of show fans returning with his brand of warm cheeky humour. He is a perfect foil for headliner host Phil Butler, another returnee whose talents as a comedian, magician, singer and dancer make him the perfect man to lead this traditional but modern variety show.

Show host Phil Butler. Picture: William Jarvis.

Vocalists Rob McVeigh and Marina Lawrence-Mahrra take the lead on pop and show songs including rousing numbers from the Greatest Showman and a pulsing Cuban sequence.

But the cast is most powerful when the team comes together during the big musical numbers such as Mary Poppins, Masquerade, and Les Miserables, which fill the stage with song, a talented team of dancers, stunning sets and colourful costumes adorned with feathers and sequins.

A very colourful Mary Poppins. Picture: William Jarvis.

Special mention must go to this year’s specialist act Duo Fusion UK – Connor Byrne and Tiffany Gaine – whose circus style aerial and acrobatic routines are mesmerising. The pair flew in unison over the front rows of the audience, and some of their contortions on stage drew audible gasps from the crowd.

There are no local children joining the cast this year, to lessen the covid-19 risk, and the “bubbled” stars are not doing their usual after-show mingling for the same reason, which is a shame because many feel like family friends we have known for years and enjoy catching up with. But they hope that will change as things progress.

Make sure you don’t arrive late – because the opening sequence on the projection screen taking us from a closed theatre to the current show’s revival is poignant and powerful – and a reminder of how glad we should be to have live variety back at the end of the pier.

For tickets and show details, including the line-up of guests, visit www.cromerpier.co.uk

Arrests after police break up illegal rave

Three people have been arrested and sound equipment seized after police shut down an unlicensed music event in the early hours of Sunday.

 Police were called shortly after 1am by a member of the public reporting a suspected rave at Woodbastwick. Officers found approximately 100 people in a wooded area in the early stages of an unlicensed music event.

 Police vehicles were used to block the entrances to the site to prevent further vehicles from entering, before officers went in to monitor the event, seizing generators and sound equipment were seized. The site was cleared by 5am.

 Officers have launched an investigation in order to identify the organiser(s) of the event and enquiries are ongoing.

 Three people were arrested in connection with the event:

–              One man aged in his 20s on suspicion of drug and driving offences. He has since been released on police bail.

–              One man aged in his 20s on suspicion of drug offences. He has since been released with no further action being taken against him.

–              One woman aged in her 30s on suspicion of drug and driving offences. She has since been released on police bail.

Chief Insp Kris Barnard said: “These events are not only illegal and unsafe, they also cause unnecessary damage and disruption.  Enquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances leading up to the event and where we can prevent, disrupt or stop a rave taking place, we will do everything within our power to do this in order to minimise the impact on local communities. We hope this robust action acts as a deterrent to anyone who may wish to organise events like these in the future.

 “I want to thank members of the public for their patience and support as we worked to bring this event to a safe closure.”

Vandals target Aylsham Football Club’s ground

Vandals have caused hundreds of pounds of damage to two dugouts at Youngs Park in Aylsham.

The wrecking spree is believed to have happened at the home of Aylsham Football Club between 2pm and 9pm on Wednesday (June 2).

Steve French, a director at Youngs Park, said fascia boards and stickers were torn off, and matting was ripped up. The home dugout was the worst affected and attempts had also be made to break the windows.

Two empty alcohol bottles – one Bacardi and the other Jagermeister – were left behind at the scene.

It is the second bout of vandalism at Youngs Park in the space of a few weeks. Bricks in the dugout area were previously kicked down.

The latest incident has been reported to police and a local officer visited the ground on Thursday morning (June 3) to investigate further.

Steve said: “We work had to raise money to invest in the club and give something back to the community, and something like this doesn’t help.”

Steve estimated the cost of the damage at between £500 and £700.

Anyone with information about the vandalism can call Norfolk police on 101.

Man jailed after fatal stabbing over £10 drug debt

A 42-year-old who killed a man in North Walsham over a £10 drug debt dispute has been jailed for nine years.

Matthew Constantinou was convicted of manslaughter on May 11, following an 11-day trial. He had originally been charged with murder, which he denied.

Thomas Moore, also 42, was stabbed once in the neck during an argument with Constantinou over the cannabis debt in October last year.

Constantinou, of Antingham Drive, North Walsham, appeared at Norwich Crown Court today where he was sentenced.

The court heard how the incident unfolded on the evening of October 2, 2020, after Mr Moore visited Constantinou’s home  with his friend, who was owed the money. Both men spoke to Constantinou’s mother, who answered door  and handed over £10 before asking them to leave.

During this time, Constantinou (pictured left) appeared, armed with a baseball bat and chased both men from the house. Constantinou chased Mr Moore on to Bacton Road where the argument happened and where the victim suffered a single stab wound to the neck.

 Neighbours alerted police to the disturbance and officers arrived on scene to find Mr Moore with a serious injury to his neck. He was given CPR by members of the public and later by officers and paramedics but was pronounced dead at the scene.

 Following the incident, Constantinou returned home where he dialled 999 said he believed he’d seriously injured someone. Officers went to his home and arrested him on suspicion of GBH, later changing it to murder.

Det Insp Lewis Craske, from Norfolk and Suffolk’s Major Investigation Team, welcomed the sentence. He said: “This incident quickly escalated into a violent attack in which a man has needlessly lost his life. These moments of violence are often short-lived but have serious long-term consequences for those involved and their families. The end result is there are no winners with the lives of people changed forever.”

Three-week closure of town centre street

Motorists have been warned to expect disruption when an Aylsham town centre road is closed for up to three weeks to allow a new footpath to be installed.

Penfold Street will be shut between the Pump and Market Place from June 1 to allow the new path to be built.

A spokesperson for Norfolk County Council, which is carrying out the work, said: “The need for the footway is for safety aspects.

“Currently pedestrians are having to walk along the carriageway, therefore a footway would provide a safer way of travelling down the road for pedestrians.”

The spokesperson added that the budget for the scheme was £26,000 and the works were planned to run from June 1-21.

The county council said the diversion route for motorists would be Norwich Road, Henry Page Road and Cawston Road.

A spokesperson for Aylsham Town Council urged residents to be patient and considerate and follow the signposted diversion route.

Man guilty of manslaughter after £10 drug debt stabbing

A 42-year-old who killed a man in North Walsham following a dispute over a £10 drug debt has been found guilty of manslaughter.

Thomas Moore, also 42, was stabbed once in the neck during an argument with Matthew Constantinou over the cannabis debt in October last year.

Constantinou, of Antingham Drive, North Walsham, had denied murdering Moore, claiming self-defence and was today convicted by a jury at Norwich Crown Court of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

During the two-week trial, the court heard how the incident unfolded on the evening of October 2, 2020. Prior to the argument, Moore had visited Constantinou’s address with his friend who was owed the money. Both men spoke to Constantinou’s mother, who answered door and handed over £10 before asking them to leave.

During this time, Constantinou appeared armed with a baseball bat and chased both men from the house. Constantinou chased Moore to Bacton Road where the argument happened, and Moore suffered a single stab wound to the neck.

Moore was given CPR by members of the public and later by police officers and paramedics but was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after midnight on October 3.

Following the incident, Constantinou returned home where he dialled 999, saying he believed he’d seriously injured someone. Officers went to his home address and arrested him on suspicion of GBH and later charged him with murder.

Det Insp Lewis Craske, from Norfolk and Suffolk’s Major Investigation Team, said: “This was a violent attack in which a man has needlessly lost his life over a £10 cannabis debt. Regardless of the catalyst for the argument, this case demonstrates that violence is not the answer. There are no winners in this case with lives on both sides affected forever.”

Constantinou was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on May 20.

Getting on their bikes for charity

Rotary in Aylsham will be riding exercise bikes in Aylsham Market Place on Saturday, April 17 from 9am to 12 noon to raise money for Rotary International’s ‘End Polio Now’ appeal.

When Rotary and its partners launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988, there were 350,000 cases of polio in 125 countries every year. Great progress has been made against the disease since then and, today, polio cases have been reduced by 99.9 per cent, and just two countries continue to report cases of wild poliovirus: Afghanistan and Pakistan.

A Rotary spokesman said: “The generous people of Aylsham have supported this campaign since 1988.

“Because of the present pandemic we had to cancel our event last year but we are back and we hope that you saw our incredible Purple for Polio Crocus planting earlier this year.

“We will be organising the bike ride in a slightly scaled down version in full compliance with the Covid regulations in force at the time. To maintain social distancing the riders will be in two locations behind barriers. Sadly, there will be no ‘Guess the Distance’ competition so that we can maintain social distancing.

“Please come and support us and, as usual give generously.”

RIDING HIGH – Rotary members at a previous event.