Monday, 29 November 2010

The Model Landscape Co – New at Wroxham Barns

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb officially opened the Model Landscape Co at Wroxham Barns on Thursday, November 25. Mr Lamb (right) is pictured with Paul Rice and Louise Mayhew of the Model Landscape Co.

The Model Landscape Co supplies model railways and vehicles plus die-cast models from most manufacturers including Joefix, Faller, Heki, Hobbytrade, Herpa, Hornby, Peco, Busch, LGB, Kibri, Brawa, Woodland Scenics, EFE, Oxford Die-cast, Corgi, Vanguards, along with its own Scenics range.

Norman Lamb MP said: “It is great to be back at Wroxham Barns and I am delighted that Paul and Louise have opened their shop here. They will benefit from the enormous number of visitors to Wroxham Barns and will add to the attraction of a day out. Every year there are new developments at Wroxham Barns giving additional reasons to visit North Norfolk.”

Paul Rice said: “Our ambition is to become the number one destination in Norfolk for model railway and scenery enthusiasts. We are really pleased to be at Wroxham Barns and I would like to thank Mr Lamb for supporting our official opening.”

The business was founded by Paul Rice who has more than 35 years experience in the model trade. The Model Landscape Co. also creates European outline scale model scenes. Paul started his model making in the 1960's and worked from an early age in Victoria Model Railways, Romford, where he was a trained Hornby and Fleischmann service dealer. He has constructed numerous dioramas and layouts for private and corporate clients and specialises in constructing set pieces incorporating Faller Car systems and fairground models.

The Model Landscape Co. is open daily from 10am to 5pm, tel 01603 783219, or contact
Paul Rice 07815 818713 and Louise Mayhew 07796 154719,

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Dickleburgh – Fifty Christmas Trees in a Church

Dickleburgh Church is one of the best places to visit in Norfolk in December to be infused with the Christmas spirit. This beautiful 15th century church is hosting the seventh annual Christmas extravaganza, 50 Christmas Trees in a Church from Sunday, December 5 to Sunday, December 12, open daily 10am to 7pm (closes 4pm on Sunday, December 12 for the prize giving).

This year’s festival has a special theme, the Heavens at Jesus’ birth. Lighting above the trees will recreate the position of the stars and planets. Christmas Trees of all shapes and sizes, some handmade featuring special seasonal messages, will decorate the church, contributed to the event by local businesses and organisations.

The event has a competitive edge, as each organisation that enters has the chance to win prize money in the visitors’ vote for the best trees. In addition, the Nick Arnull Plate will be awarded to the most innovative tree.

Admission is adults £3.50, senior citizens and concessions £3, pre-booked groups £2.75 and children free. All money raised will be shared by Connects & Co, a Norwich-based charity supporting young carers and the parish churches that comprise the Benefice of Dickleburgh and the Pulhams – Dickleburgh, Pulham Market, Pulham St Mary, Rushall, Starston, Thelveton, Shimpling and Frenze.

The Rt Revd Alan Winton, Bishop of Thetford, will officially open 50 Christmas Trees in a Church at 5pm on Saturday, December 4. The opening will include a performance of Rwandan Christmas Carols by Illuminée Nganemariya (author of Miracle in Kigali) and the Benefice choir. Illuminée Nganemariya will also be at the church all day on Wednesday, December 8.

Father Christmas will be making daily appearances throughout the festival.

Event organiser Rev Norman Steer said: “I love the Christmas Trees. It is a good week for me. The church expresses its love in a way that people can understand. I want visitors to be themselves and know that they are welcome and will be cared for during their visit. The best part is the smiles on the faces of all ages when they leave.”

Light lunches and teas are served in Dickleburgh Church Rooms (next to the church). All day breakfast will be on offer on Saturday 11 December and Sunday lunches on both Sundays. Christmas Crafts on sale; good car parking at the church. Dickleburgh is just off the A140 to the north of Diss. The church is on The Street, Dickleburgh’s main thoroughfare.

For more information tel. 01379 854245

PR – The Slow Burn Technique

Magazines do have a long shelf life. This is what Norwich PR consultant Paul Dickson discovered last year.

In 2007, I helped Illuminée Nganemariya, a Rwandan Genocide survivor living in Norwich, write her story of survival and subsequent life in the UK. It was published as Miracle in Kigali by The Tagman Press in October 2007.

How would it feel to wake up every morning for more than three months facing the prospect that you and your newborn baby are likely to be brutally murdered that day?
This was Illuminée’s experience. She and her son Roger, who was born during the Genocide, survived the 1994 attempt by Rwanda’s Hutu extremists to wipe their Tutsi neighbours from the face of the earth.

After watching her husband being dragged away to be killed by friends who had celebrated their wedding with them a month earlier, Illuminée embarked on a horrific journey through the Genocide with Roger strapped to her back – their survival was a miracle.

Miracle in Kigali was promoted with Norwich, London and Rwanda launches, signing events, talks and media interviews. A magazine called the Norfolk Journal, which no longer exists, featured a two-page spread about the book, with a current photograph of Illuminée and Roger, in its January 2008 edition.

Fast forward to Christmas Eve 2009 – the phone rang in Illuminée’s flat. It was Mark Blaney, one of the producers of a new feature film called Africa United. His parents-in-law live near Fakenham, Norfolk and Mark happened to be in the county for Christmas. Africa United was five weeks from going into production and they still had not cast one of the main characters, Fabrice, a middle class teenage, Rwandan football fanatic.

Mark’s mother-in-law had just given him her old copy of the Norfolk Journal, which included the Miracle in Kigali feature and happened to include a reference to Roger’s footballing prowess.

Mark’s enthusiasm for his project was infectious and Illuminée agreed to the film’s Director, Debs Gardner-Paterson visiting Norwich straight after Christmas to audition Roger. This was rapidly followed by a second audition in London on 3 January. Four days later he was offered the part.

So, on 25 January, Roger flew out to Johanessburg for 10 weeks filming in South Africa, Rwanda and Burundi, and also returned to South Africa in June for the opening ceremony of the World Cup.

Africa United’s premiere was at the Odeon West End Leicester Square on 17 October. Roger experienced the full red carpet treatment with banks of photographers and news cameras. Then on 5 November he flew out to Kigali for the Rwandan premiere, meeting the President, Paul Kagame.

As a result of his work in Africa United, Roger was cast in a BBC docu-drama to be screened at Christmas and is now being represented by United Agents.

A miraculous year for Roger, the boy whose mother’s tenacity brought him through the Genocide, and who was discovered in Norwich thanks to a PR story in an old county magazine. Keep the dream!

For more information about Africa United see and Miracle in Kigali

EDP Tourism in Norfolk Awards 2010 – The Winners

Waveney River Centre led the way with three wins at the sixth EDP Tourism in Norfolk Awards, organised in association with the Hoseasons Group and staged at Holiday Inn Norwich North on Friday, November 19. Richard Searle, Managing Director of Searle’s of Hunstanton since 1984, won the outstanding contribution to tourism award.

Waveney River Centre picked up best caravan or holiday park, best Broads holiday experience and the customer care award. Delia’s Canary Catering based at Norwich City FC won the business tourism award for the second year running. Banham Zoo won best tourist attraction (visitor numbers over 60,000) and Go Ape! Thetford Forest won best visitor attraction (under 60,000 visitors). Blakeney Hotel was best hotel (over 35 bedrooms), Titchwell Manor was best hotel (under 35 bedrooms), with Carrick’s at Castle Farm, Swanton Morley as best B&B and guesthouse.

The full list of winners is below.

Lydia Smith, Director Norfolk Tourism said: “The EDP Tourism in Norfolk Awards are a wonderful celebration of the county’s tourism industry, which contributes £2.6bn to the local economy and supports 49,000 jobs. I would like to thank the Eastern Daily Press for its commitment to the awards and its very successful EDP Holiday Here campaign. Thank you also to all the businesses that entered this year’s awards and congratulations to the winners who have demonstrated excellence in their particular field. Richard Searle, winner of the outstanding contribution to tourism and Waveney River Centre deserve a special mention for their achievements.”

Peter Waters, Editor, Eastern Daily Press said: “The EDP Tourism in Norfolk Awards highlight the unique offering of our county: the wonderful coastline and countryside allied with superb accommodation and hospitality venues, great restaurants and pubs, and our brilliant visitor attractions, museums and historical sights. From the kiss-me-quick, bucket-and-spade delights of Great Yarmouth to the more genteel, refined north Norfolk, from the magical Broads and cultural, heritage and shopping hub of our Fine City to the natural beauty of the west and Brecks, there is something for everyone. Here in Norfolk we believe there is nowhere in the UK with a richer, more varied holiday experience than we are able to provide.”

The Winners
Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Richard Searle, Searle’s of Hunstanton
Berry Savory Best Tourist Attraction Go Ape!
(under 60,000 visitors)
Berry Savory Best Tourist Attraction Banham Zoo
(over 60,000 visitors)
Best B&B and Guesthouse Carrick’s at Castle Farm, Swanton Morley
Best Caravan or Holiday Park Waveney River Centre
Best Hotel (under 35 bedrooms) Titchwell Manor
Best Hotel (over 35 bedrooms) Blakeney Hotel
Best Self-Catering Plum Tree Cottage, Ashmanhaugh
Best Visitor Information Centre King’s Lynn Tourist information Centre
Sustainable Tourism Awards Deepdale
Best Broads Holiday Experience Waveney River Centre
Customer Care Award Waveney River Centre
Business Tourism Award Delia’s Canary Catering
Best Marketing Initiative Big 3 Freedom Pass (Banham Zoo, Africa Alive and Dinosaur Adventure Park)
EDP Holiday Here Award Nancy Heywood
Most effective use of online marketing Great Yarmouth Borough Council Tourism

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Wroxham Barns Christmas Events

Thursday 25 November – late night shopping 6pm to 9pm – Christmas open evening with complimentary ‘small eats’ and festive music from the Hellesdon and Sprowston Brass Band.

Sunday 5 December – Christmas family day, with seasonal music from Hellesdon and Sprowston Brass Band and The East Norfolk Operatic Society, face painting and complimentary ‘small eats’.

Saturday 11 December – Produced in Norfolk Christmas Farmers’ Market, 10am to 1pm, music from North Walsham Salvation Army Band and the Skiffle It Band.

Sunday 19 December Junior Farm - Christmas Carols in the Barn with Tunstead Primary School, 2pm. Free admission, donations to local charities and a raffle. Hellesdon and Sprowston Brass Band will be at Wroxham Barns all day.

Wroxham Barns,, tel. 01603 783762, winner of East of England Tourism’s Taste of England award 2010, is open daily 10am to 5pm (closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day), 10 miles from Norwich, take A1151 to Wroxham then follow brown and white tourist signs for 1.5miles on the Tunstead road. Free parking.

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden Christmas Events

Sunday 12 December, 5pm to 7pm, Meet Father Christmas and his reindeer,
£5 per person; every child receives a present. Music from Top Brass, children’s crafts, Mini Christmas market, plus roast chestnuts and mince pies on sale in the tearoom. Pre-booking recommended tel. 016023 270449.

Thursday 16 December, 10.30am, Christmas Wreath Workshop, £12 per person includes all materials and tea/coffee and biscuits. Make a Christmas wreath using natural materials with Val Noon from Natural Crafts. Book in advance, tel. 01603 270449

Boxing Day Walk, Sunday 26 December, 11am with Head Gardener Ian Guest, normal admission charges.

New Year’s Day Walk, Saturday 1 January, 11am with Head Gardener Ian Guest, normal admission charges.

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is at South Walsham, nine miles east of Norwich, signposted off A47 at B1140 junction,, tel. 01603 270449. The garden is open daily all year, 10am to 5pm (closed Christmas Day), admission – adult £5, concessions £4.50, child £2.50 (under 5 free). Tearoom, gift shop and plant sales.

There is wheelchair access to most of the garden, including a Sensory Garden. Visitors requiring special facilities are advised to telephone in advance; mobility scooters available. Dogs are welcome on leads; small charge to cover poop scoop.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Tourism Survey Reveals ‘Staycation’ Boost to Norfolk’s Economy

Figures released by East of England Tourism have revealed that the value of tourism in Norfolk increased from £2.5 billion in 2008 to £2.6 billion in 2009. Tourism related employment increased from 47,269 to 49,652, a 5% growth and is now 14% of the workforce.

Tourism Statistics
2008 2009
Total tourism value £2.5bn £2.6bn
Tourism related employment 47,269 49,652
Day Trips (millions) 25.465 26.734
Day Trips spend (millions) £916.355 £954.825
UK residents staying trips (millions) 3.747 4.092
UK residents staying nights (millions) 13.036 14.066
UK residents staying value (millions) £638.417 £674.807
Overseas visitor trips (millions) 0.232 0.221
Overseas visitor nights (millions) 2.045 1.785
Overseas visitor spend (millions) £92.308 £80.663

Lydia Smith Director Norfolk Tourism : “The statistics confirm the ‘staycation’ phenomenon. In England in 2009 the domestic overnight trips grew by 8% and spend rose by 5%. These figures are reflected by Norfolk’s tourism industry performance, with the value of day trips and UK staying visitors increasing significantly during the year. Intelligence from the industry for 2010 shows that the ‘staycation’ has continued, although this year visitors have been more careful with their spending.”

Councillor Ann Steward, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Norfolk County Council said: “The tourism statistics for 2009 and the reports from the industry for 2010 are very encouraging, especially during these difficult times. It is excellent news for the county’s economy that tourism related employment is showing real growth.”

The UK Tourism survey showed that trips to the East of England for the period April to June 2010 were up 1.82% on the same period in 2009. East of England Tourism’s Business Confidence Monitor for July to September 2010 revealed that 71% of accommodation providers and 57% of attractions experienced an increase or no change in the volume of guests or visitors. Some 75% of businesses said that returning customers had the most positive impact on their business.

Norfolk Tourism is the county's established public and private industry partnership. Funded by its 55 partner organisations, the partnership is designed to act as a forum for all Norfolk's tourism businesses and local authorities, , tel. 01603 222846. See our free to use image library at

Tourism Volume and Value Figures
The figures were produced by East of England Tourism using the Cambridge Economic Model. The model uses information from national tourism surveys and regionally based data. All figures have been rounded up.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Wroxham Barns – out of town Christmas Shopping and Eating on a Plate

Forget the annual Christmas struggle on the high street and head to Wroxham Barns and tick off your shopping list in one go.

Browse through the craft studios and discover unique handmade items – freshwater pearl and gemstone necklaces at Capricorn Minerals and Jewellery, Norfolk themed mirrors, windows, roundels and fire screens from Coastal Stained Glass, Rachel Hutchins countryside inspired prints in The Norfolk Art Gallery and domestic ware and house nameplates at Tricia Francis pottery.

Visit resident sculptor, Sue Windley for art and sculpture materials, or even that special commission, and Pat Trett woodturner for beautiful ornamental bowls.

Sew Creative is a must for patchwork and quilting fans with everything from Christmas Tree kits to the new ruler cutter – just arrived in the UK.

Babies and small children are well catered for at Lads & Lasses with their own Sugar and Spice clothing range and Hooligans, ethically made in South Africa.

Pick up a pack of Uncle Stuart’s Christmas beers, bottles of Burgoyne’s Spiced Norfolk Cider from The Apple Shop or 52 North, Norfolk wine from Spooner Row at the Country Food Store, which is full of delectable goodies. Pop into The Fudge Shop for delicious Christmas fudge and traditional sweets and there’s also Bill LeGrice Roses’ with presents for gardeners in the family.

The Gallery has a vast array of gifts, toys, jewellery, accessories, ladies clothes and new this year – menswear from Kartel and Seasalt. From colourful cup cake containers and cup cake recipe books to gorgeous Cath Kidston mugs, beautiful glove puppets, along with Jellycat cuddly toys and a great selection of fun books like Father’s Wit and Suddenly Senile, there is something to satisfy even the most jaded Christmas shopping palate.

Finally with all the shopping done, the restaurant café is the perfect place to take a break. It serves breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea using the best of local produce, with coffee and cake at any time!

Wroxham Barns,, tel. 01603 783762, winner Taste of England, East of England Tourism Awards 2010, is open daily 10am to 5pm
(closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day), 10 miles from Norwich, take A1151 to Wroxham then follow brown and white tourist signs for 1.5miles on the Tunstead road. Free parking.
Picture - Uncle Stuart's Brewery Christmas beers pack.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Top Night for Norfolk’s Tourism Businesses at East of England Tourism Awards

Norfolk’s tourism businesses won nine awards out of the 15 awards available at the 2010 East of England Tourism Enjoy England Awards for Excellence staged at the National Trust’s Ickworth House on Thursday, November 4.

Kelling Heath led the way with an outstanding three awards – best caravan/holiday village, sustainable tourism award and best tourism experience of the year for its star party event.

Businesses in the Broads won four awards: Philip Search, Broad House Hotel, Wroxham, outstanding customer care category, Dairy Barns Hickling, B&B/guest accommodation of the year, East View Farm Holiday Cottages, Ashmanhaugh, self-catering holiday of the year and Wroxham Barns, Taste of England.

Titchwell Manor on the North Norfolk coast won best small hotel and Norfolk Cottages at Gissing won the access for all accolade.

The awards celebrate the best of English tourism - and are known throughout the industry as the ‘Oscars’ of tourism. Regional winners go forward to the national awards next spring.

Lydia Smith, Director Norfolk Tourism said: “This is a wonderful result for Norfolk’s tourism industry. Congratulations to Kelling Heath on its fantastic achievement and all the other winners who are first class ambassadors for the county.”

Ian Russell, Chairman of the Broads Tourism Forum, said: “The Broads Tourism Forum is very proud of our four winners, whose work has been recognised for enhancing the area’s visitor experience. This acknowledges our sustained drive for quality in the Broads.”

For a full list of winners see

Thursday, 4 November 2010

‘A Second Helping’ charity evening at The Yurt Restaurant, Thornham

The Yurt Restaurant at Drove Orchards, Thornham is staging a ‘A Second Helping’ on Sunday, November 14, 7.30pm for 8pm start, an evening menu featuring recipes from Able to Cook, the charity cook book, published in July, by Norwich-based Able Community Care to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

Able to Cook features more than 120 recipes and includes contributions from stars of stage and screen, Norfolk personalities and friends and colleagues of Able Community Care.

All profits from ‘A Second Helping’ will go to the two charities that are benefiting from sales of the book, Age UK Norfolk and Connects & Co, a Norwich charity supporting young carers.

Diners will be able to sample all six starters and choose from six main courses and five deserts (vegetarian options included). The three-course supper, plus coffee, costs £22.50, tel. 01485 525108 to reserve a table.

Rebecca Trezise Sutherland from The Yurt Restaurant explained: ”I used to work for Able Community Care as a Care Manager. We have sold 60 copies of Able to Cook so far to customers. But we decided that it would be great fun to bring the book alive by cooking a selection of recipes, as they appear in the book, and present them to diners as ‘A Second Helping’ to raise money for Able Community Care’s chosen charities.”

Menu examples
Starters – Feta Fingers with Cranberry, Orange & Mint Dip from Emma Wilcox, Head Chef Pulse Café, Norwich, Fragrant Thai Prawn Omelette from Jude Orange, Norwich Puppet Theatre and Granny’s Corn Fritters from Colette Hawes, London.

Main Courses – Norfolk Braised Beef in Beer with Herb Dumplings from Jake Humphrey, BBC Sport, Congham Pigeon Breasts in Red Wine from Henry Bellingham MP and Vegetarian Tart from Professor John Last, Principal, Norwich University College of the Arts

Deserts – Spiced Apple & Raisin Crumble from Nicholas Parsons OBE, Honey Buns from Stephen Fry and Baked Chocolate Mousse from Sarah P, Able Community Care Gazette reader who lives in Devon.

The Yurt’s suppliers, Perfick Pork Great Ryburgh, Cole’s of King’s Lynn, Mr Fruity Norwich and Drove Orchards Thornham are donating food for the evening.

Copies of Able to Cook (£6) will be on sale, along with raffle tickets for The Yurt Christmas Draw (proceeds also to Age UK Norfolk and Connects & Co).

Angela Gifford, founder and proprietor of Able Community Care said: “Rebecca’s ‘A Second Helping’ evening is a wonderful way to support our Able to Cook initiative. Diners are going to have a superb evening sampling some of the special recipes donated to our book and at the same time raise money for two very worthwhile charities. The Yurt is already the top selling outlet for Able to Cook and this event is really the ‘icing on the cake’!”

The Yurt Restaurant, Drove Orchards, Thornham Road, Thornham, PE36 6LS, tel. 01485 525108,

Able Community Care was established by Angela Gifford in Norwich in 1980. The company provides live-in carer schemes throughout Great Britain and the Channel Islands, a true alternative to moving into a residential care setting, providing people with an opportunity to stay in their own homes, tel. 01603 764567,

Norwich Entrepreneur Opens Third New Bathroom Business in Three Years

Norwich entrepreneur, Gareth Pendleton (38) has opened his third new bathroom business in three years. The Bathroom Company at Thorpe End, Norwich is a boutique bathroom shop offering design, supply and installation of some of the most stunning and adventurous designer bathrooms available.

Gareth’s other businesses are Bathrooms by Design in Thorpe St Andrew (opened October 2007) and Norwich Bathrooms & Kitchens, Heigham Street on the Norwich Inner Ring Road, opened in partnership with Pete Garrett in January 2008.

The bathroom businesses employ eighteen people. Gareth is one of the few bathroom specialists in the Norwich area that employs his own team of specialist fitters.

Projected turnover for the three businesses by the end of 2011 is £2 million. Gareth is also actively on the lookout for opportunities to expand The Bathroom Company brand beyond Norwich.

Gareth did a plumbing apprenticeship with his father in Bungay before moving into car sales with Warwick Shubrook. But a desire to work by himself saw a move into bathroom fitting in 1998.

“I have always been very practical and started off with my mum’s bathroom. Fortunately she was pleased with the result. Half the battle with bathroom design is being able to visualise the final result as you go along. I discovered that I had a talent for this and quickly picked up work through recommendation.”

Gareth was full time on the tools for three years, running his business via a mobile phone, then took on a trainee and gradually expanded, bringing on board additional fitters.

“As the business grew, I recognised the need to establish a shop window so people could see bathroom ‘sets’ and visualise their upgrade. I found a vacant unit next to Kitchens by Design on Spinney Road in Thorpe St Andrew, so called the shop Bathrooms by Design to complement the other brand.”

Within one month of opening Bathrooms by Design, Gareth had agreed to set up Norwich Bathrooms & Kitchens with Pete Garrett as a trade and retail outlet.

The Bathroom Company at Thorpe End is a natural development. “I wanted a larger showroom which could focus on luxury and the peace and tranquillity of a special bathing experience. We want our customers to relax and enjoy the experience of choosing and visualising their dream bathroom.”

The Bathroom Company, Thorpe End, Norwich, tel. 01603 300866, email,

Monday, 1 November 2010

Enjoy Fairhaven’s Autumn Majesty

Visit Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, South Walsham on Sunday, November 14 and enjoy a fabulous autumn colours tour with Head Gardener, Ian Guest.

The Autumn Majesty tour begins at 11am and will last for 1½ hours. Normal admission charges apply, adult £5, concessions £4.50 and child £2.50 (under five free).

The autumn colours are spectacular and will be at their best on November 14, especially the many ancient oak and beech trees. Pride of place goes to the huge 950 year-old King Oak, which was a sapling at the time of the Battle of Hastings – believed to be the oldest tree in Norfolk – along with its near neighbour the Queen Oak.

The tour will take visitors down the Beech Walk, along the Broads Walk with its views of the garden’s private broad and past tree-lined dykes.

Sunday, November 14 is also the final day this year for boat trips on Fairhaven’s private broad and South Walsham outer broad.

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is at South Walsham, nine miles east of Norwich, signposted off A47 at B1140 junction, tel. 01603 270449/270683, The garden is open daily all year, 10am to 5pm (closed Christmas Day).

There is wheelchair access to most of the garden, including the Sensory Garden. Visitors requiring special facilities are advised to telephone in advance. Mobility scooters available. Dogs are welcome on leads; small charge to cover poop scoop.