Friday, 31 July 2009

Simon Garnier Retires

I went to Simon Garnier's retirement do at Friary Hills, Blakeney on the North Norfolk Coast today. I cannot believe he worked for The National Trust as a land agent and area manager for 30 years. How time flies!

Photo of Simon making his farewell speech.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Norfolk Open Churches Week August 1 to 9

It's Norfolk Open Churches Week, August 1 to August 9, .

St Mary’s Fishley (photograph), an isolated Saxon Church across the fields from Acle, will be staging a Flower Festival, co-ordinated by Church Warden Chloe Ecclestone, running throughout Open Churches Week (daily 10am to 4pm). The Flower Festival theme is ‘Weddings’ – each of the displays will mark a wedding anniversary e.g. ruby and golden. There were only 17 wedding ceremonies at Fishley between 1860 and 2006 (the wedding register dates from 1835). But in the last three years there have been seven weddings plus a blessing and a christening.

"We are actively encouraging weddings at the church," said Church Warden, Ivan Barnard. "We have had more in the last three years than in the previous 50. We are also very keen on Open Churches Week. Fishley is a beautiful Saxon Church, but very isolated. Last year we had 293 visitors during the week and raised £400 through donations. We are looking forward to an even busier week this August."

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Fairhaven's 10th Green Festival

It's Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden's 10th annual Green Festival on Sunday 2 August.

The garden is a beautiful slice of the Norfolk Broads and well worth a visit at any time of year.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Baby Elephant Saves Christmas

I was at Wroxham Barns last Friday for the early launch of a new Christmas book 'Baby Elephant saves Christmas' by Sarah Thomas. Wroxham Barns 'resident elephant', Cammy - pictured with Sarah, book and friend - inspired the story.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

World Music in Southburgh Norfolk

World Music in Southburgh Saturday, August 1, 4pm to 9pm

Anna Mudeka (pictured), Southburgh-based singer, dancer and drummer, who performs traditional and original Zimbabwean music, is organising a World Music day at her home in Southburgh (south of Dereham) on Saturday, August 1. The event will raise money for the Mudeka Education Project, supporting orphans at Rugare Primary School, Zimbabwe.

Live performances from 4pm to 9pm feature The Anna Mudeka Band, Jose Ferrera, Drumzkool and Jally Keba Susso. The event also includes Barry Jones Circus, Uncle Stash, DJ Wanda and Barnham Broom Youth Choir, plus Caribbean food for sale, stalls and a bar.

Tickets for World Music in Southburgh cost £8 for adults and £4 for children (over 5). Tel. 01362 822194, email The event is being staged at Burton Manor Barns, Cranworth Road, Southburgh, IP25 7SU.

Workshops in African Drumming, Circus Skills and Cuban Drumming are also available between 12.30pm and 3.30pm, charge adult £4 and children (over 5) £3.

Celebrating Work Experience for Norfolk Students with Complex Needs

I was at Norfolk Ski Club, Trowse on Monday, July 13 at an celebration event to mark the completion of an 18-month project run by The Exchange (Norfolk Education Business Partnership), introducing Norfolk students with complex needs to the world of work. The event was both inspirational and moving.

Students and staff from seven schools, Alderman Jackson, Kings Lynn, Chapel Road, Attleborough, Fred Nicholson, Dereham, Harford Manor, Norwich, John Grant Caister, Sheringham Woodfields and Sidestrand Hall near Cromer, presented their achievements and experiences over the last 18 months. The formal business was followed by a ‘tubing’ session on the Trowse ski slope (see photo of tubing).

The project, funded by the Learning & Skills Council (LSC) and co-ordinated by Laura Sides for The Exchange, provided the students with a series of work placements and experience days at businesses and local authorities throughout the county. These included catering with Pizza Express, John Lewis and the Rocket House CafĂ©, Cromer, visits to Lotus, Norwich Airport, Norwich Theatre Royal and Norwich City Football Club and working with Haven Holidays, B&Q, The Range, Future Radio and King’s Lynn Borough Open Spaces team.

Tom O’Connor, Chief Executive, The Exchange explained: "Laura Sides, our project manager, worked with the schools, introducing them to businesses and helping them arrange all manner of placements and visits. I would like to thank the employers that supported our scheme. But we need many more to come forward and give complex needs students the chance to experience the world of work. As well as being of great benefit to the students, staff also develop new skills and find it very rewarding as they help the students learn and develop."

Steve Pond, Pizza Express, St Benedicts Norwich said: "It is a pleasure working with the students. Their enthusiasm and energy is so infectious. It is also beneficial for the business to be seen to be taking an active role in the community. It has raised awareness of social diversity amongst staff at the restaurant."

Michelle Howe teacher at John Grant School Caister said: "The Exchange project has really helped our students get prepared for the work environment. We had very successful placements at B&Q and Haven. The Haven placement has developed into an extended gardening work experience. Bringing all the schools together at the end of the project to share ideas has been a wonderful way to end the project. Our students really enjoyed the chance to go ‘tubing’ at Trowse."

Feedback from parents
"The way The Exchange, the employer and the school all worked together to co-ordinate the support for him was fantastic. He has enjoyed every single minute, and I really feel now that he has a place in the world of work, which is something I was unsure of before."
"More funding should go into inclusion related projects. There is only so much the schools can do and offer, therefore it is important for other agencies to be involved in creating more opportunities for these young people as they will not be in school forever."
"The project has shown that our children need to have more community based activities, it helps them to integrate and feel more of part of their community."

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

LeGrice Field of Cloth of Gold

Went to Wroxham Barns last Friday to do a photo of part of LeGrice Roses display for Hampton Court Flower Show. The show is marking the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII coronation. LeGrice went for a Field of Cloth of Gold theme and won a sliver gilt award.