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Wildfire warning as temperatures soar

Following a spate of fires around Norfolk, the Broads Authority is issuing a plea for the public to be mindful of the current wildfire risk when visiting the Broads area.

With temperatures soaring in recent days and a prolonged lack of rainfall, many areas of land in the Broads are exceptionally dry, raising concerns about the possibility of wildfires in the near future.

Reedbeds are in particular danger as they have become very dry.

Wildfires can wreak havoc on the landscape, placing people, animals and precious habitats at risk. They spread extremely quickly, engulfing vast areas of vegetation in a short period of time. It then often requires large numbers of firefighting crews and other resources to put them out.

During prolonged dry spells, some natural outbreaks of fire are expected. However, each year there are a number of fires caused accidentally in the Broads area, and we are asking people to play their part to help minimise the risk.

The authority is particularly urging visitors to be extra vigilant when using barbecues, lighters, cooking apparatus on boats and other flammable objects, and to be careful when disposing of cigarette butts and matches.

Disposable barbecues are a real fire risk in a heatwave.

Disposable barbecues pose a distinct risk, and visitors are being asked not to use them onboard their vessels, on the wooden parts of riverside moorings, or near dry flammable ground such as reedbeds. There are designated slabs at many moorings which are available on a first-come first-served basis to put barbecues. Open fires on public land, such as those people might start whilst having a picnic, are also prohibited.

Chris Morphew, Senior Ranger at the Broads Authority said: “Although we are fortunate to not have to deal with the number of wildfires that our friends at other National Parks do, there are still areas of the Broads which are highly flammable, such as reedbeds and arable farmland.

“With the ground as dry as it is at the moment, it only takes a single discarded cigarette butt, smashed glass bottle or careless barbecue to start a wildfire which can cause untold damage to the landscape and put people in harm’s way.

“We understand that it’s perfect weather to get outdoors, but we’re just urging people to be vigilant and to pay attention to what they’re doing and where. For example, don’t create any open flames near reedbeds, remember to put your cigarettes out safely and leave the disposable barbecue at home.”

Reedbed fires present a particular challenge. They contain large amounts of highly-combustible material, cover vast areas and often have difficult road access which affects how easily fire crews can deal with the incident.

If you see something you think might be a wildfire, or you witness behaviour which looks like deliberate fire-starting, please phone 999 as quickly as possible and provide details to the emergency services. Visit the Broads Authority and Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service websites for more information.

Meet our own rocking Helles Belle

Brought up in Hellesdon, Kylie Olsson is the face of rock on TV. ADAM AIKEN caught up with her between festivals

Tens of thousands of rock fans who attended this year’s Download festival – and many more who didn’t – tuned in recently when Sky Arts broadcast highlights of the spectacular event.
And it was the familiar face of Hellesdon’s Kylie Olsson gracing our screens as she revisited her role presenting the shows, which featured the likes of Kiss and Iron Maiden.

This year’s festival was a special moment for Kylie, who has been the face of Download coverage since 2011 but who – like every other fan – was left frustrated when the pandemic meant the annual pilgrimage to the east Midlands was put on hold for a couple of years.

Norfolk’s Kylie Olsson is the face of the Download rock festival.


“I can’t even begin to explain how amazing it was as the energy in that field, both from the bands and the fans, was infectious,” she said.
“You could tell that everyone was beyond happy to be back at the spiritual home of rock and metal.”
Kylie’s love of music was nurtured back in Norfolk while she was growing up.
She was born in London but her family moved to Hellesdon around 1990, when she was seven, and she went to school at Firside Junior and then Hellesdon High before eventually finding herself at the University of East Anglia.
“I loved it there as it’s a fantastic university. It wasn’t my plan to stay local but the film school there was the second best in the country at that time, so it was a no-brainer,” she said.
Her stint at the UEA also gave her the chance to enjoy live music.
“They have some great bands coming through at the UEA. One of my favourite discoveries was seeing Coldplay with about 20 people in the audience.”
But it’s the heavier stuff that really did it for Kylie, who said: “I’ve always had a huge passion for rock and especially for classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Cream and AC/DC. Basically, if it has lots of guitars in it then they are my band!”
Before she went to university, she’d already started doing some work at BBC Radio Norfolk.

Kylie studied at the UEA, where she expanded her passion for music.

“I knew that to make a career out of my passion I needed to do both,” she said.
“So the whole time I was at the UEA I was also working at the BBC part-time and then doing lots of work experience in London during the holidays.”
But it wasn’t just work and music that Kylie remembers about her time here.
“One of the things I loved about growing up in Hellesdon is having the freedom to be on a bike – as a kid I literally lived on my bike.
“And one of my favourite things to do would be to bike up to one of the local farms and go strawberry and raspberry picking. It’s just the best.”
Although Kylie headed back to the capital in about 2008 to start a TV career that saw her rise to the heights of Sky Arts, Kylie said she has maintained her links with Norfolk.
“All my family still live in Norwich which means I’m back often to visit them, so I still have a little toe in the city.”

Kylie used her downtime during lockdown to teach herself to play guitar, and she’s launched a YouTube series called Life In Six Strings in which she interviews famous guitarists before getting a lesson from them.
Check out www.youtube.com/user/KylieOlsson

Storm set to batter Norfolk

Norfolk is bracing itself for the arrival of Storm Eunice, with winds of up to 80mph set to hit the county.

Public transport has been disrupted and many attractions have closed their doors as everyone battens down the hatches in preparation for what meteorologists say will be the worst storm to hit the UK in decades.

The county has been put under an amber warning, meaning it is quite likely that bad weather will affect people, possibly including travel delays, road and rail closures and power cuts.

It is still clearing up in places from Storm Dudley, which battered the coast last weekend and resorts including Cromer and Sheringham are ready for another pounding.

Cromer bore the brunt of Storm Dudley and is now ready for another battering from Storm Eunice. Photo: PAUL MACRO

Trains services have been disrupted with some services being cancelled and others changed to hourly or two hourly. Greater Anglia is asking people not to travel unless they have to and to check before setting off for the station.

KLM has announced that it will have no flights in and out of Norwich airport and motoring organisations and the police are telling folk to take great care if they have to travel on the roads.

All Norfolk’s recycling centres will be closed all day, as will all Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserves. Breydon Water has been closed to boats and Blickling Estate, Wroxham Barns and Bewilderwood have also shut up shop.

Love Light Norwich, an illuminated display on the city’s most iconic buildings has also been called of tonight but it is still scheduled for tomorrow.

The main force of the storm is set to hit around noon.

Shows Are Just The Ticket

A comedy romp set in north Norfolk is one of the highlights of the new season put on by Norwich Theatre this spring.
Showing at Norwich Theatre Playhouse in April, The Birds and the Bees is one of a great selection of drama, singing and dancing being shown there and at the Theatre Royal.
James McDermott’s new version of the 2016 Canadian play relocates the action to north Norfolk for what is described as a “hilarious comedy romp” which “tackles topics of sex, love, science, family, and the artificial insemination of turkeys”.
The play – a collaboration with Ipswich’s New Wolsey Theatre and Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds – is on stage from April 20 to April 30.
Stephen Crocker, chief executive and creative director of Norwich Theatre, said: “The spirit of determination and love for theatre unites all three venues, and The Birds and the Bees will offer audiences good light-hearted fun, which is just what is needed right now.”

Other feel-good shows planned for the new season include The Addams Family (at the Theatre Royal, April 26 to 30); The Magic of the Beatles, which pays tribute to the fab four at the Theatre Royal on May 11; a night of music from Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons in Big Girls Don’t Cry on May 18; and the sounds of the Beach Boys in Good Vibrations on July 20.


Frankie Howerd was one of Britain’s best loved comedians for many years but he had a secret life nobody knew about. The story of his clandestine life with Dennis – which lasted from the 1950s until Frankie’s death in 1992 – is told in Howerd’s End, a new play at the Playhouse on May 26.

The year also promises interesting “Evenings With…” including one with Andrew Cotter and his two labradors, Olive and Mabel.
The sports broadcaster added a new string to his bow during lockdown when his online contests between his dogs captured the heart of the internet. All three will be at the Theatre Royal on May 9.

May 15 sees Gill Sims – the woman behind the hugely popular Peter and Jane Facebook page – being interviewed on stage.
Dates have also been set for some 2023 performances, including Rambert Dance’s Peaky Blinders: The Redemption of Thomas Shelby from January 17 to January 23 and the eagerly anticipated Broadway and UK smash-hit musical Sister Act, which will run from January 9 to January 14.

Tickets are on sale now and can be bought from the Norwich Theatre box office on 01603 630000, or visit www.norwichtheatre.org where you will find more details of the performances.

Thass suffun wuff seein

REVIEW
The Nimmo Twins
Norwich Playhouse

Twenty five years is a long time, hintut?
And that is precisely how long Norfolk’s beloved Nimmo Twins have been entertaining us.

Their current show – A Load of Old Squit – is a celebration of that milestone and mixes old favourites with some new work which will be shown in its full glory in August.

Councillors Vern Gurney and Ken Steggles keep us up to date with goings on “up See Hall” and single mum and cultural icon She-Goo fills us in on her latest activities (Destiny Aguilera is 18 – can you believe it?) as well as joining forces with Professor Newton Flotman for a phonetic guide on how to understand the “looguls”.

Karl Minns brings She-Goo to life…

That would have been handy for “incomers” if they hadn’t already been shown the door by Cyril and his heartfelt message to Londoners, who will need to set their sat-navs to comply.

Keen poet Anne makes a return with her haikus and sonnets and there’s a useful recap of a special sex guide for Norfolk men… Grab your copy of the Cromer Sutra and head for Cley to look for tourists, apparently.

As always, the main brunt of the jokes are Norfolk people ourselves, and Karl Minns and Owen Evans spare nobody their rapier wit.

And the good folk of Eaton and Cringleford have their turn in the genius observations in the old classic Newmarket Road Blues…

As always, local news stories and celebrities take a hit – Mike Liggins appears to be loving his ride on the snails – and Ipswich is in line for its usual battering.

A lot of it is undeniably near the knuckle, and often below the waist, but it is clever and very funny – so funny, in fact, that we lose Karl to laughter at one point where, he admits, he came across material he hadn’t actually seen before… And this honesty and warm rapport is precisely why we love him.

He admits to having had a hard two years during the pandemic, which makes this return even sweeter.

Owen tends to be the less flamboyant of the two, but his poignant lament to The Prince of Wales Road and flawless delivery prove two halves make the perfect comedy pair.

There are still tickets available for the current show, which is at Norwich Playhouse until January 23 and Holt? Who Goes There? will run from August 3 until August 21.

Festive pier show is a cracker

REVIEW

by RICHARD BATSON

Variety is the spice of life – and it is also giving us a bonus covid “booster” this Christmas.

For the Cromer Pier’s festive cocktail of comedy, music, magic and dance serves up a real tonic as the coronavirus lingers on.

It is a selection box of tasty treats that opens with a flurry of snowflakes, feathers, glitz and dancers signalling the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

The finale is an all-singing, all-dancing, all-clapping Sister Act routine. Sandwiched in-between is a slick slideshow including rock and roll, Christmas classics, ballet, illusion, fire-eating and laughter.

Magician Taylor Morgan. Picture: WILLIAM JARVIS

There is something for all tastes – whether you like hard-centre stand-up gags and pulsing dance music, or soft-centre seasonal sentiment in the shape of haunting harmonies and gentle but gasp-inducing tricks.

The glue holding it all together is resident compere Olly Day, whose cheeky banter with the audience, dad and cracker jokes, conjuring and crooning put him in the role of favourite uncle at the Christmas party.

His sidekick is pocket rocket 4ft 8in comic Jo Little, another pier returnee, who has an endless pot of quick-fire gags, many of them man-baiting, some self-deprecating. Her slightly edgy comedy is combined with a powerful singing voice shown in an impressive Edith Piaf song,

The main vocalists are a well-matched pairing of pier favourite Rob McVeigh, a versatile all-round performer  who also directs the show, and newcomer Hayley Moss – best known as the busking “street soprano” from Norwich but whose debut at the venue shows another  dimension to her talent.

As well as an angelic classical voice, she joins in the pop and rock numbers showcasing her dancing moves, too. Katherine Jenkins and Kylie Minogue in one package.

A sprinkle of magic comes from Taylor Morgan, who mystifies with cards, rings, balls and a disappearing lady; his performing partner Rebecca Foyle who fire eats in one stunning routine that combines her flaming sticks with cool ballet.

The cast in full festive feathers.
Heavenly voices sing Hallelujah.
Olly Day with Jo Little. All Pictures: WILLIAM JARVIS

But there is also magic in another show newcomer, a giant video wall where projections ranging from snowy mountains to Santa’s factory provide a stunning backdrop. Top marks to backstage crew member Will Jarvis for creating it.

A six-strong ensemble of dancers and singers add extra energy, atmosphere and spectacle, with musical direction from pier legend Nigel Hogg, stunning costumes from Rachel Dingle and some fantastic lighting, including some “performing icicles” from Amanda Hill.

Other highlights for me included spellbinding versions of Leonard Cohen’s Halleluiah, and a song I had never heard before, Light of the World by Lauren Daigle.

It’s a cracker of show that is a super seasonal  gift for all ages. No need to keep the receipt.

Cromer Pier Christmas Show runs until December 30. Tickets and timings at www.cromerpier.co.uk

The Pier summer show will open on July 2.  

Omicron case confirmed in north Norfolk

One of the eight cases of the new Omicron covid-19 variant announced yesterday has been confirmed as being in north Norfolk.

While the exact location of the case has not been revealed, officials said they had been in contact with the person who had tested positive and their household. Louise Smith, Norfolk’s director of public health, said the case was linked to known travel to South Africa.

She told the BBC that finding a case in the county was not a surprise.

“While new information is still coming in on this variant, the early evidence has clearly shown a high level of transmissibility, and as such we can expect positive cases to be identified across the country, including in our county,” she said.

She urged people to get vaccinated “as soon as possible” and to take up booster offers, which she said would help to “break the chain of transmission”.

The UK Health Security Agency says this brings the total number of confirmed cases of the new variant in England and Scotland to 22.

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