Thursday, 23 December 2010

Dunston Hall’s Debbie Baldock Wins Camplings Inaugural Housekeeper of the Year

Debbie Baldock, Housekeeper at De Vere Dunston Hall Norwich for 10 years, is the winner of Camplings inaugural Housekeeper of the Year Award.

Tim Tyler, Sales & Service Manager, Camplings visited Dunston Hall on Tuesday, December 21 to present Debbie Baldock with her award. Mr Tyler said: "We established this new award to give something back to housekeepers. They play a key role in stock control and linen delivery. Debbie leads a very professional team who so far this year have had 347,299 items of linen through their hands."

David Graham Operations Manager, De Vere Dunston Hall said: "Dunston Hall would not be the same hotel without Debbie Baldock. She is a shining example of an outstanding Head Housekeeper and richly deserves to be Camplings Housekeeper of the Year 2010."

Debbie Baldock said: "This is a wonderful surprise for me and my team, thank you to Tim Tyler and everyone at Camplings."

Camplings provides specialist laundry, linen hire and dry cleaning services to more than 400 businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk

For more information about De Vere Dunston Hall tel. 01508 470444 or visit

Photograph left to right David Graham Operations Manager, Dunston Hall, Debbie Baldock Housekeeper Dunston Hall, Tim Tyler Sales & Service Manager Camplings and Denis McEvoy General Manager Dunston Hall.

Special Christmas Bike for Kacie Thanks to Dunston Hall Golf Seniors

Kacie Ramm (3) from Hingham has a brilliant Christmas present from The Variety Club thanks to fundraising by De Vere Dunston Hall Golf Seniors’ section. She was presented with a pink theraplay tricycle at Dunston Hall on Tuesday, December 21.

Kacie has cerebral palsy and spastic quadraplegia. Her dad David explained: “The tricycle is a wonderful Christmas present for Kacie. She currently has to rely on her special buggy to get around, but this will give her independence. I would like to thank the Dunston Hall golfers and The Variety Club for their support.”

Ron Wade, Dunston Hall Seniors Captain said: “Kacie must be the happiest three year-old I have ever seen. I am so pleased that that the money raised for The Variety Club in my captain’s year is being used locally in such a practical way.”

Dennis Gimes from The Variety Club’s Easy Rider Wheelchair Committee said: “I would like to thank Ron Wade and the Dunston Hall Seniors for their support. The tricycle is going to make such a difference to Kacie’s life.”

De Vere Dunston Hall Golf Club Senior’s section raised £2,000 for The Variety Club Children’s Charity, the De Vere group’s charity for 2010.

The Variety Club Children’s Charity, was founded in 1949 to help sick, disabled and disadvantaged children and young people. The charity has raised over £200 million in the last six decades, supporting more than one million children and young people. The Variety Club provides Sunshine Coaches, electric wheelchairs, days out, equipment for children’s hospitals and more. For more information about the Easy Riders programme see

For more information about De Vere Dunston Hall tel. 01508 470444 or visit

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Photograph of iced up fountain at Dunston Hall

I took this photograph today of the fountain at De Vere Dunston Hall

Monday, 20 December 2010

The Vanishing of Ruth

I have just finished reading Janet Macleod Trotter’s new book, The Vanishing of Ruth. My review of the book is below. All profits from its sale are going towards the rehabilitation of Janet’s brother Don, who was seriously injured in a road accident in March 2010, when he was knocked of his bike. Here (below) is my review. You can buy the book at

What a rollercoaster ride – take your seat on the bus to Khatmandu and be prepared for many mysterious twists and turns on the way. I could not put this book down. Janet MacLeod Trotter engages you fully in the lives of the lead characters. You are with Amber every step of the way as she unravels the story of her Aunt Ruth’s bizarre disappearance. You worry for driver Cassidy, as he tries to guide his hungover passengers on the 1970s overland route to the East, and hope that he builds up enough ‘Dutch’ courage to declare his love for Juliet. This is a perfect winter book, which will waken the wanderlust in even the most jaded traveller.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Norfolk Travel Trade Manual – Excursions Launch

Norfolk Tourism, with partners Norfolk Lavender and Premier Inns Norwich, will be launching the 12th edition of the Norfolk Travel Trade Manual 2011 at Excursions group travel exhibition,, Alexandra Place on Saturday, January 15. The travel trade manual is the essential guide to Norfolk for coach operators and group operators, packed with information on places to visit and stay, meal stops, guided tours and special events.

Pick up a copy of the travel trade manual at Norfolk Tourism’s stand no. E11 or download a pdf or order a printed copy at Visitors to the Norfolk Tourism stand will be invited to enter a free prize draw for a Norfolk Lavender Hamper.

With London 2012 fast approaching, Norfolk is the perfect Olympic and Paralympic base. Enjoy the historic city of Norwich, the magical waterland of the Broads, 90 miles of stunning coastline, busy seaside resorts like Great Yarmouth, Cromer and Hunstanton and the heaths and forest of the Brecks. Then take a fast rail connection from Norwich and Diss to Stratford, with direct access to the Olympic Village, or from King’s Lynn and Downham Market to King’s Cross.

The travel trade manual is full of ideas for visits to the county year-round, notably Norfolk & Norwich Festival (May) one of the largest international festivals in the UK, or Festival Too King’s Lynn’s free music festival (June and July) and the main King’s Lynn Festival (July). Great Yarmouth’s colourful Maritime Festival (September), the EDP Bidwells Norfolk Food Festival (September) and the famous Thursford Christmas Spectacular, the largest Christmas show in the UK (November and December), all add to the mix.

News from Premier Inns Norwich, – Premier Inn Duke Street’s Thyme restaurant has been enlarged with a new menu; Premier Inn Norwich Airport has been extended and work is ongoing at Premier Inn Norfolk Showground. Premier Inn Norwich Nelson has a new group package on offer with City Boats’ river tours.

Norfolk Lavender, offers several special group tours including The Lavender Fields and Distillery, The Rare Breeds Animal Centre & Meadow Gardens and The Thursford Stop-off (for groups en-route to The Thursford Christmas Spectacular).

Virginia Edwards, Norfolk Tourism Team Manager said: “Excursions is an important show for us. It is a great opportunity to meet and talk to group buyers and the travel trade in the south. Norfolk is a fabulous visitor destination at any time of year, as well as peaceful countryside with atmospheric medieval churches, picturesque villages, historic market towns, beautiful coastline and the magical Broads, we have a great mix of attractions plus Norwich, a top-five shopping destination that is easy to explore on foot, with fantastic historic buildings round every corner.”

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

New Norfolk Tourism Chairman - Richard Ellis Norfolk Country Cottages

Richard Ellis, founder of Norfolk Country Cottages, one of the county’s leading tourism businesses, is the new Chairman of Norfolk Tourism, the public and private sector tourism industry partnership. Mr Ellis succeeds Michael Timewell, Director of Blue Sky Leisure.

Mr Ellis originally trained as a management accountant and worked for multinational companies before moving into the food industry. He was instrumental in bringing Kettle Foods to Norwich and was their Chief Executive until 2000. In January 1992 he started Norfolk Country Cottages, with his wife Lesley, in a room at their cottage in Reepham.

Richard Ellis explained: “I wanted to develop my own tourism business based on a strong set of personal values about quality of service, attention to detail, valuing and respecting people, as well as playing an active and responsible role in the community.”

Norfolk Country Cottages is now the leading self catering agency in Norfolk with sister brands in Suffolk – Suffolk Secrets, Kent & Sussex – Freedom Holiday Homes, and Devon – Marsdens Cottage Holidays. Now collectively known as The Original Cottage Company, the business has grown to be one of the largest independent holiday cottage agencies in the UK.

Mr Ellis was appointed Chairman of EEDA in December 2003 and retired at the end of March. He is currently a trustee of Norwich Theatre Royal, The Forum Trust, Norwich and the Holt Festival.

Richard Ellis added: “I am very pleased to have joined the team at Norfolk Tourism. We live in challenging economic times, but these are also times of great opportunity for those of us involved in the county’s tourism industry. With more people holidaying at home and the Olympics approaching fast, there is growth to be had. But with reducing public funding it is imperative that the private and public sectors work more closely together to ensure that we both attract and delight more visitors.”

In 2009 tourism in Norfolk was worth £2.6 billion to the local economy. Tourism related employment was 49,652, comprising 14% of the county’s workforce,

Monday, 13 December 2010

50 Christmas Trees in a Church Dickleburgh - the winners

The winning trees at the 7th 50 Christmas Trees in a Church, Dickleburgh, which closed on Sunday, December 12, were:

Adult: Culrose Residential Care Home, Dickelburgh

Child: Gissing Children’s Centre

The Nick Arnull Plate for the most innovative tree: Rushall Doll’s House – specialists in handcrafted miniatures.

Rev. Norman Steer, event organiser said: “We had a joyous week at Dickleburgh Church. I would like to thank all the exhibitors for their hard work in producing such an excellent ‘crop’ of trees this year, our volunteers for their support and everyone who visited who helped make this such a special event.”

Picture - Culrose Residential Care Home

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Norfolk’s Official Tourism Website Interactive Upgrade

Norfolk’s official tourism website,, has had a £25,000 upgrade giving it a more contemporary look and feel, increasing interactivity by providing commission free online accommodation booking and showcasing images of the county from its flickr group.

The website development was supported by Norfolk Tourism’s partners and the regional Destination Management System (DMS) project funded by EEDA and managed by East of England Tourism. The upgrade makes a one-stop shop for visitors and local residents wanting to book accommodation, get the latest tourism news, find out what’s on, discover the county’s great food and drink and choose from the vast array of attractions and things to see and do.

The home page has a selection of revolving images, links to key themes – London 2012, World Class Norfolk and Outdoor Norfolk, seasonal highlights and what’s on information and a quick accommodation search box.

A link to ‘Your Norfolk Images’ features the 800-strong flickr database – images supplied by local photographers and friends of Norfolk. The flickr database is growing all the time and in addition there is a Visit Norfolk facebook page where visitors can leave top tips and comments and post photographs. links into East of England Tourism’s DMS, which then provides a seamless route to and

Jan Robertson, Norfolk Tourism’s website manager said: “I am really excited about the opportunities provided by the new website. I am very keen for us to develop our presence on social media platforms. The flickr group is proving really successful and we are working hard to ensure that we have good visibility on facebook and twitter. We also have greater flexibility to develop special promotions, which will allow us to work more closely with media partners like the Eastern Daily Press and the BBC.”

Gerry Balding, a member of the Visit Norfolk flickr group,, said: “I am really pleased to have my pictures included on the Visit Norfolk website. I like getting out and about with my camera as Norfolk has so many fantastic places and events to photograph. By sharing them on the website, I hope that people will appreciate the beauty of Norfolk and then come and explore the county for themselves.” To see the full range of Gerry Balding’s photographs go to

Lydia Smith, Director Norfolk Tourism added: “The new online booking system is an excellent development. It simplifies the process of choosing a holiday or short break in Norfolk. Visitors to the website can decide what they want to do in the county and then choose accommodation to suit their requirements. I would like to thank East of England Tourism and our partners for helping create our new ‘shop window’.”

Friday, 3 December 2010

Ninhams – New Colman’s Mustard and Cheese Scone Mix

Norwich based producer of traditional cake mixes, Ninhams Ltd,, has created a Colman’s Mustard and Cheese Scone Mix, which is now available exclusively at Colman’s Mustard Shop & Museum, Royal Arcade Norwich,

The final mix was developed following feedback from customers who attended a tasting session at Colman’s Mustard Shop & Museum in late August. The mix is sold in 250g bags costing £2.75.

Emma Bussey, Director Ninhams Ltd said: “We are delighted to be working with Colman’s Mustard Shop & Museum. It’s great to see two historic Norwich brands combining on such an excellent local product.”

Nick Cook, Retail Business Manager of Colman’s Mustard Shop & Museum, said: “The Colman’s Mustard and Cheese Scone Mix is a great addition to our growing range of exclusive and tasty Colman’s mustard products and is already proving a hit with customers.”

Ninhams of Norfolk has been producing traditional cake mixes since 1870. The Ninhams brand and original recipes were acquired by Emma in 2008. Her sister, Sophie Buchanan is in charge of production and Emma’s mother, Frances Parker also lends a hand. The business is based on Whitelodge Business Park, Norwich.

As well as the Colman’s Mustard and Cheese Scone Mix, Emma and her family sell the famous Norfolk Cheesecake filling, Leavona Lemon Cake Mix, Ginger Cake Mix and Chocolate Cake Mix. For more information tel. 01603 660263.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

North Norfolk Chilli Peanuts at Wroxham Barns Christmas Farmers’ Market

Glyn Kirpalani from Weybourne will be offering tastings of his Norfolk made hot chilli peanuts at the Produced in Norfolk Christmas Farmers’ Market at Wroxham Barns on Saturday, December 11, 10am to 1pm.

“Chilli Peanuts are called hot pepper nuts in the West Indies and sold by the roadside in Trinidad and Tobago where men pour handfuls of them down the throat like beer from the bottle,” explained chilli fan Glyn Kirpalani, who makes the nuts and a hot chilli sauce in his home kitchen at Weybourne.

Glyn who believes chillies, which contain anti oxidants, have good health benefits and help to fight off colds and flu, will also be explaining how his chilli sauce can be used to spice up the left over turkey.

“ I just love chillies to bits. I even ordered a chilli costume to wear at the Farmer’s Market but unfortunately I had to send it back as it was faulty. “Anyone who has a spare chilli costume they could lend Glyn Kirpalani are asked to contact him on 01263 588249.

North Walsham Salvation Army Band and the Skiffle It Band will be entertaining visitors to the Farmer’s Market.

Also on Sunday, December 19, visit Junior Farm for Christmas Carols in the Barn with Tunstead Primary School at 2pm, free admission, donations to local charities and a raffle.

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.

Produced in Norfolk,, tel. 01603 241012, is a social enterprise founded in 2005 to promote and support local producers that are genuinely making their products in Norfolk. Its Farmers’ Market at Wroxham Barns won the EDP Norfolk Food Awards 2009 Best Farmers’ Market.