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Ready for your close-up?

Fancy your five minutes on the silver screen?
Well you could have your chance as a new film being shot in Sheringham is looking for extras.

Norfolk-born film director Ella Glendining will be filming her BFI-funded short film in the town next Wednesday and Thursday (September 8 and 9) and is on the look out for extras for a couple of scenes.

Would-be actors of all ages are sought to for funeral scene and those in their 20s and 30s are needed to appear at a beach party.

Ella was named among Screen International’s Screen Stars of Tomorrow in 2020 and her new project tells the story of a disabled woman returning to her sleepy seaside hometown for a friend’s funeral.

Ella said: “I grew up in Elsing, near Dereham, but spent a lot of time in Sheringham in my late teens and early 20s as one of my best friends lives there. I am interested in telling regional stories about growing up in small towns and villages as ‘other’. I am disabled and all my work is somewhat linked to the disabled experience.

Ella Glendining is shooting a film in Sheringham.

“I adore Norfolk and Sheringham and, although I live in Brighton now, I am always looking for excuses to return.
“I am very inspired by the beauty of the Norfolk coast. The film is about a new mother feeling torn between her old life and her new, trying to discover her identity as a parent, and it’s also about love.”
Extras will not be paid but Ella hopes they will enjoy the experience of being on a film set.
If you’d like to be involved you can email ellaelsing@gmail.com

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

Police move to allay dog theft fears

A rash of posts on social media provoking concerns about dog thieves has led to police issuing a statement to put minds at rest.

Community pages on sites such as Facebook have had lots of posts from dog walkers concerned about being targeted by thieves and apocryphal reports of attempts to take dogs by force, but police have quashed these, saying there have been no such crimes reported to them.

“We are aware of concerns and rumours circulating on social media about dogs being stolen or men in a van, including a van allegedly marked with the RSPCA logo, acting suspiciously around people out walking with their dogs.

“Please know there haven’t been any crimes recorded this week that relate to dog thefts nor have we received any reports of dogs being stolen from a property or while out walking with their owners over the last week.”

It went on to say that one person in North Walsham had reported a man in a Transit van asking questions about their dog, but no further reports had been received.

The RSPCA also moved to quash rumours that dog thieves were posing as RSPCA inspectors, and the police statement added: “The RSPCA has told us that a number of incidents circulating on social media claiming people are impersonating their inspectors do not appear to have been actual cases of people trying to pass as bogus officials.

“It’s important to know there are very few incidents whereby an RSPCA officer will approach someone in public unless they witness animal cruelty or see an animal in immediate danger. Officers will also wear RSPCA brand clothing and always carry RSPCA identification. RSPCA officers do not have power of entry or seizure unless accompanied by a police officer.”

But while they said there was no increase in threats to pets in the area, police stressed that any incident or concern – especially anyone claiming to be from the RSPCA – should be reported to them by calling 101.

“Try to give us as much detail about the person or the vehicle they were in as you can. And do not hesitate to call us on 999 if a crime is happening and you need our help.”

Roxanne’s running to make memories

Unable to take part in the annual Memory Walk in aid of the Alzhheimer’s Society, Sheringham mum Roxanne Demmen decided to organise her own sponsored event to raise much-needed funds.

“My granddad had Alzheimer’s so every year we do the Memory Walk but this year it wasn’t happening so I thought I should do something,” she said. “I am currently running 5km five times a week for five weeks – I’ve called it the 555challenge.

“After losing our wonderful granddad a few years ago to this disease, and our other granddad now facing the same diagnosis, I know all too well how much this affects families.

“Memories are so precious, and this year has hit everyone hard, but the elderly haven’t been able to stay connected and sociable which has been devastating. Time is precious and we should make memories while we can.”

Roxanne with daughters Rosa and Fearne at one of the Memory Walks. This year they will be taking part in their own event to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society.

Roxanne, who worked at The Splash, has been joined on her runs by friends, family and well-wishers wanting to help. “It’s all about getting out and keeping active,” she said. “I’ve had people who don’t run, or don’t even jog coming along with me which is cool.”

And during the Easter holidays she will be joined by her daughters Rosa, aged nine, and seven-year-old Fearne, who will be on their bikes.

She says she is not a dedicated runner and that the regular runs are taking their toll, but in the past she has completed an ultra-marathon – a 30 mile race – so she thinks she will stay the course.

She has set up a Just Giving Page with a £200 target and she is already well on the way. Anyone wanting to give her a little push can click here

Fringe is back – online!

Norwich Fringe Festival is making a welcome return after six years – as an online TV channel.

The festival, which promotes the creativity and talent of people in Norwich and Norfolk, will be held from March 18 to 22, with all shows streamed live or pre-recorded from a special pop-up studio and from homes.

Fringe director Joseph Ballard said: “I’d been exploring options for resurrecting the city’s Fringe for a while and last year – whilst times were challenging for all of us – I wanted to connect creatives and makers of all artforms together.

“The people of the creative sector have been hit hard, with livelihoods disappearing almost overnight. Norwich Fringe is about supporting the creative community all year round and presenting a platform and nurturing stance for new work to reach new audiences.”

The shows – which will range from comedy and drama to magic and puppetry – will stream from 4pm to 10pm each day and tickets will be sold with a pay-what-you-can approach, ranging from £4 to £9 to last all day.

There will also be free activities on offer and a group exhibition and visual arts project will be launched soon.

The Fringe team – Joseph Ballard, Sam Webber and Molly Farley.

“The day ticket approach means that audiences can access the different shows over six hours,” said Joseph. “We wanted to make sure it remained accessible, hence the pay-what-you-can approach, remembering that all box office income will go to the creatives and makers, who are excited about being able to share their work with audiences and earn some much-needed income after other festivals, venues and theatres have remained closed for so long.”

The festival line-up includes acts from Norwich, Norfolk and further afield, including stand-up and a comedy night with Hooma Comedy Club, a Cabaret night hosted by Norfolk’s very own diva Titania Trust, mindreading from Alex McAleer, puppetry and magic, new plays and mixed media shows, and a showcase of work-in-development called Not The End to round off the four days.

Live improvised performance from Slovenian composer Jaka Škapin and live performances from Ghana and Zambia with the Sheba Soul Ensemble also feature.

The programme also includes the presentation of work from five artists and companies who received a Norwich Fringe Commission grant last year.

The Fringe producing team includes Joseph as director, along with Molly Farley and Sam Webber. It has been supported using public funding from Arts Council England and is also supported by Joseph’s theatre company, New Stages.

The full programme and tickets are available at www.norwichfringe.org.uk, with regular updates and special features via a mailing list and on social media. See @hinorwichfringe on Twitter and @norwichfringe on Facebook.

Warning over “treacherous” roads as temperatures plunge

Motorists are being advised to take extra care on Norfolk’s roads tonight as temperatures are expected to plummet, leading to treacherous and icy roads.

Although we can expect fewer snow showers – with more fine and dry weather forecast for the next few days –  temperatures will drop significantly below zero this evening and into tomorrow.

Driving conditions are likely to worsen as temperatures continue to fall and motorists are being urged to travel only if it is absolutely necessary. The plea comes at a time when any journey should be for a reasonable excuse under current lockdown rules.

T/Chief Insp Jason Selvarajah said: “We have seen the worst of the snow now but we’re still experiencing sub-zero temperatures and as we move into the evening, temperatures will drop further still. While the roads may look clearer there will be hidden dangers and motorists need to be cautious of black ice and treacherous road conditions, particularly on untreated roads.

“The best we can do is keep off the roads, but if your journey is absolutely necessary, please drive to the conditions. Emergency services, particularly our colleagues in the NHS, are stretched with the demands of covid-19 and we would ask people to play their part in this collective effort and do everything they can not to overburden these services unnecessarily.”

Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, said: “It’s a bitterly cold night forecast and road surface temperatures are set to be well below freezing across the county, dipping to minus 9 in parts of west Norfolk.

 “The plunging temperatures are likely to be the main issue over the next 24 hours so highway teams will be continuing the huge efforts to keep the network running and will be gritting this afternoon, evening and overnight. With such low temperatures, anyone making an essential journey must take extra caution tonight, and on Thursday morning, even on the priority treated routes.”

Dr Anoop Dhesi, a local GP and chairman of the NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group said people with appointments for their covid-19 vaccinations should go if it was safe, but stressed: “If you have concerns about travelling don’t put yourselves at risk. Your appointment can be rebooked.”

And he added: “While we appreciate you may have to set off from home early due to the ice and snow, please try to arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. If you arrive before your appointment time please wait in your car. You could bring a blanket, a hot drink and a book or a newspaper to make your wait more comfortable.”

Stay home, stay safe message as more snow arrives

People being urged to stay safe, and off the roads, as more snow arrived overnight.

Emergency services and local agencies are continuing to work together to help people to get around safely, but as storm Darcy brought more snow and freezing temperatures, many roads have been blocked by snow and some vaccination centres have had to close temporarily.

Norfolk police have attended a number of minor road collisions and emergency services are calling for people to delay their journeys if they can until the weather improves.

Stuart Ruff, chief fire officer, said: “We are seeing the impact of the severe bad weather across many parts of the county.  Some of our crews have been out this morning, helping to clear access roads so that the four vaccination centres can open in the Great Yarmouth area.

A snowy Sheringham looks lovely but please stay off the roads if possible, say emergency services. Photo: GARETH GABRIEL PHOTOGRAPHY

“If you do need to make an essential journey, please be mindful of the conditions, especially if you’re driving. The difficult weather increases the risk to everyone and the likelihood that our crews will be required to assist.”

Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, said: “It has been an extremely busy week for all the Highways teams, who initially responded to reports of flooding, and more recently the high winds and snow conditions over the weekend.

“We’re working around the clock at the moment with ploughing teams and gritters, with support from farmers across the county, who have been helping to clear the network of snow since Sunday morning.”

Some NHS covid-19 testing centres across Norfolk and Waveney have been closed as a result of the weather, but people can expect to be referred to the nearest available alternative where needed.

T/Chief Inspector Jason Selvarajah, chair of the Norfolk Resilience Forum Strategic Coordination Group, said: “We saw weather conditions worsen overnight, as expected, and our priority continues to be that of keeping people safe during what is already a challenging time.

“There will be people trying to get to key places of work, and to support the very vulnerable, and for every additional person out and about, the risk to them and those trying to help them increases.

“With more snow predicted over the coming days, our message remains the same – if you don’t have to make that essential journey just yet, don’t do it; and we thank our communities and those working to help them for their cooperation and patience so far.”

Captain Tom dies at 100

Captain Sir Tom Moore, the 100-year-old who raised almost £33m for the NHS by walking laps of his garden, has died.

The army veteran, who once lived and worked in West Norfolk, captured the hearts of the nation after his attempt to raise £1,000 by walking up and down his garden caught the imagination and swelled into millions.

He had been treated for pneumonia over the past few weeks and last week tested positive for covid-19.

In a statement, his daughters said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our dear father, Captain Sir Tom Moore.

“We are so grateful that we were with him during the last hours of his life; Hannah, Benjie and Georgia by his bedside and Lucy on FaceTime.

“We spent hours chatting to him, reminiscing about our childhood and our wonderful mother. We shared laughter and tears together.

“The last year of our father’s life was nothing short of remarkable. He was rejuvenated and experienced things he’d only ever dreamed of.

“Whilst he’d been in so many hearts for just a short time, he was an incredible father and grandfather, and he will stay alive in our hearts forever.”