Monday, 28 February 2011

Early Spring Walk at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden

Join Head Gardener Ian Guest for an Early Spring Walk at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden South Walsham, at 11am on Sunday, March 13.

Enjoy camellias, early wild primroses and daffodils, ancient oak and beech trees and the views across Fairhaven’s private broad. Normal admission charges apply for the walk: adult £5.50, senior citizen £5 and child £3, under fives free.

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

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.

Photograph: Fairhaven Garden camellias.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Norwich Business Coach Backs Macmillan Cancer Support Centenary Challenge

Norwich based business coach Suzanne Crouch, of Blackthorn Business Development, is backing Macmillan Cancer Support’s Centenary Business Challenge by offering five one-to-one coaching packages in return for a donation to the charity.

The coaching packages comprise five hour-long telephone or skype sessions and will be ideal for SME owners or managers or business start-ups. The money that Suzanne raises will go towards Breakaway Business Networking’s commitment to donate £1000 to Macmillan’s Centenary Business Challenge. For more information about the coaching packages contact Suzanne Crouch on 01603 301722, email

Suzanne Crouch explained: “Professional coaching requires commitment from the recipient combined with a desire to change. It gives you the chance to move from where you are to where you want to be in quick time. I work with my clients to help them develop ideas and plans to achieve results in their business. The five sessions in my Macmillan package will be delivered over a period of around six months giving my clients the chance to set goals, take action and benefit from fast track development, as well as support a very good cause.”

Suzanne Crouch has six years experience working as a business coach. She regularly commutes to Aberdeen to work with Talisman and Marathon Oil and has also worked with B.A.E and Norfolk County Council, as well as Norfolk businesses including Banham Graham Chartered Accountants, The Bathroom Company Thorpe End and Swains International. She was involved in Business Link’s Columbus Project in 2005, coaching Norfolk business leaders. For more information about Suzanne Crouch, Blackthorn Business Development see

Blackthorn Business Development is a member of Breakaway Business Networking Breakaway is an independent breakfast networking group that meets on Thursday mornings at Norwich Cathedral Refectory. The group has signed up to Macmillan Cancer Support’s Centenary Business Challenge.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Maz Jackson New Egg Tempera Work at Wymondham Arts Centre

Maz Jackson, international Norfolk artist, is staging a solo exhibition of new work, featuring her surreal egg tempera gilded paintings and sculptures and woodcut prints, to launch Wymondham Arts Centre’s third season at Becket’s Chapel. The exhibition runs from Saturday, March 19 to Sunday, April 10; open Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday 12noon to 5pm, free entry,

Maz Jackson was born in Norfolk, brought up in New Buckenham and lives and works in East Harling. She has been a full-time professional artist all her working life. Her paintings are in permanent gallery collections in Beijing, Bologna, Florence and Detroit's Museum of New Art. As well as Wymondham Arts Centre, her 2011 schedule includes exhibitions in Barcelona, Bologna and a solo show at the Basilica di San Lorenzo, Florence. She will also be representing the UK for the fifth time at the Florence Biennale in December. The Wymondham exhibition will be an early opportunity to buy examples of her new work.

Maz Jackson said: “I am very pleased that Wymondham Art’s Centre invited me to launch its 2011 season. It is wonderful to be revealing my new work so close to home, as I draw much of my inspiration from the Norfolk countryside. It is also heart-warming to get recognition in my own ‘backyard’.”

Maz’s egg tempera work is intensely colourful and full of spiritual imagery. Doves flying with mystical hooded eyes, along with female and male symbols and the swirling waters of life, encourage the viewer to consider the balance in their own lives as well as the world that we inhabit.

“My mother came from Ireland and my father was a New Buckenham grocer,” explained Maz Jackson. “I have always loved colour and feel that this comes from my Irish background, as well as being intrigued by the colourful international goods that were sold in my father’s shop and being inspired by the beautiful Norfolk countryside.”

“Egg tempera is an ancient method,” continued Maz Jackson, “going back as far as cave paintings and championed by early Christian icon painters. Painting for them was an intense religious experience. I feel that my own work is a similar spiritual journey. I am very respectful of the pure pigments that I use from all over the world, as well as the Norfolk oak that is the ‘canvas’ for my paintings.”

Cennino d’Andrea Cennini (c. 1370 to c. 1440) wrote The Craftsman’s Handbook in 1437, which included the method for egg tempera painting and gilding, still used by artists today. Egg yoke is mixed with powdered pigment that has been ground in distilled water.

“A childhood of visiting the region’s churches and cathedrals with my father introduced me to these traditions, that also influence my sense of colour and technique,” added Maz Jackson. “It is therefore apt that this exhibition takes place in Becket's Chapel, where these methods would have been employed by medieval craftsmen.”

In addition to using Norfolk oak, Maz also buys her eggs locally from Molly’s Free Range Eggs in nearby Quidenham. All other materials including pigments and specialist brushes are purchased from Norwich Art Supplies in St. Benedicts.

Professor Arthur Lucas, Chairman of Wymondham Arts Centre’s steering group, said: “We are very excited that Maz Jackson is staging the first exhibition of Wymondham Arts Centre’s third season. She has a very busy international schedule, and we are fortunate that March is a time that suits her. Our visitors will have an early opportunity to see new work prepared for her 2011 shows. We will be able to compare her approaches to imagery in different media, because as well as the classic techniques of egg tempera deployed in her distinctive way, she is including hand-pulled woodcut prints, drawings and watercolours.”

Wymondham Arts Centre is a project run by Wymondham Arts Forum. It provides a varied programme of exhibitions and events in Becket's Chapel, Church Street, Wymondham NR18 0PH, from late March to the end of November. William D’Albini, grandson of the founder of nearby Wymondham Abbey, built Becket’s Chapel in 1174 as a chantry.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Fairhaven Garden Volunteer Days – get hands-on at half-term

Volunteers of all ages are invited to help the gardening team at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, South Walsham on Tuesday, February 22 from 9.30am to 12noon and Thursday, February 24 from 10.30am to 3.30pm.
Tasks are helping out with the annual leaf gathering exercise and making leaf soil – nature’s compost, as well as potting plants.

The garden’s leaf fall is collected during the winter and moved into large holding bays where the leaves gradually decompose into leaf soil. This potent natural product, along with farmyard manure, is the only fertiliser used in the garden. Bags of leaf soil are also sold in Fairhaven’s plant sales area.

Volunteers are asked to phone the garden on 01603 270449 or email to confirm their attendance and help with planning for the days.

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). The garden is open until 9pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays from May to the end of August.

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.

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is organic, only garden leaf soil, farmyard manure and the product of the annual dyke clearance are used as fertilisers. There are 30 species of tree, and more than 95 species of bird, 11 species of butterfly and six species of dragonfly have been recorded.

The garden was created by the Second Lord Fairhaven from 1947 until his death in 1973. A charitable trust was then set up to care for the garden, and open it to visitors.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Dunston Hall Sunshine Day supports Variety Club Sunshine Coaches

De Vere Dunston Hall Hotel, near Norwich, is staging a special sunshine day on Friday, February 25 to raise money for The Variety Club’s Sunshine Coaches. The day is part of the De Vere Group’s continuing support for the Variety Club

All staff, along with Leisure Club members who visit on 25 February are being asked to wear yellow and donate money to the Variety Club. There will also be ‘fines’ for those not wearing yellow.

Diners at Dunston Hall’s Brasserie will have the chance to order a yellow pudding, which will be on the menu all week from Monday, February 21. Proceeds from the sale of each pudding will go to The Variety Club, as will the sale of yellow biscuits in Bunkers Bar. There will also be a Sunshine Drawing competition for children with the chance to win a family meal in the Brasserie.
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.

Photograph - Dunston Hall staff get in the sunshine mood.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Merrivale’s 50th Anniversary Launches Norfolk Attractions Brochure Campaign 2011

Peter Williamson, Chairman of Norfolk Tourist Attractions’ Association (NTAA) and owner of Merrivale Model Village, Great Yarmouth, celebrated the publication of NTAA’s 2011 brochure and Merrivale’s forthcoming 50th anniversary with Norfolk Tourism Director, Lydia Smith and Kirsty Burn Great Yarmouth Tourism Marketing Manager at the model village on Wednesday, February 9.

Some 500,000 NTAA brochures promoting the county’s top attractions will be distributed to more than 3,500 outlets throughout the East of England. Founded in 1991, the association currently represents more than 100 attractions in Norfolk and North Suffolk.

NTAA Chairman, Peter Williamson said: “Norfolk’s visitor attractions had another good year in 2010 and we are confident of a successful season in 2011. Many of our members are now open all year round and offer a superb choice for both Norfolk residents and visitors to the county. Our brochure, combined with puts NTAA at the forefront of Norfolk’s tourism industry.”

“I am really looking forward to celebrating Merrivale’s 50th anniversary on Mother’s Day, Sunday, April 3,” continued Peter Williamson, “when admission to the village will be just 50p – 1p for every year of Merrivale. We hope that many of our friends will join us on the day.”

Peter and Shirley Williamson bought Merrivale Model Village seven years ago. Since then they have invested £500000 in refurbishing and improving the village, adding something new each year. New attractions in 2011, which will ready for opening on Saturday, March 26, include St Merrivale’s Church, Uncle Stein’s Big Top Circus, Bogit & Sons Executive Close and The Royal Yacht Club, as well as 200 new Merrivalians.

Norfolk Tourism Director, Lydia Smith said: “Norfolk has a fantastic variety of attractions, from historic houses and gardens, to theme parks, zoos and craft centres. NTAA’s brochure is a first class guide to the county’s top days out and is a must for both visitors and residents. Congratulations to Merrivale Model Village on its 50th anniversary and to Peter and Shirley Williamson who have worked so hard at the village for the last seven years, the attraction is one of Great Yarmouth’s real gems.”

NTAA’s brochure highlights attractions accredited under the Visitor Attractions Quality Assurance Scheme and features money off vouchers worth more than £150. Copies of the NTAA brochure can be ordered/downloaded via or

Merrivale Model Village is open daily from 10am from March 26 to October 30. From July 24 until September 1, visit Merrivale after dusk to see the buildings and houses come alive, as street lamps are lit and lights appear at windows. Merrivale Model Village is located between Wellington Pier and Pleasure Beach Gardens on Great Yarmouth’s seafront. Tel. 01493 842097,

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

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Norfolk Schools Fantasy Shares League Launched

The seventh Norfolk Schools Fantasy Shares League, organised by NWES Exchange and supported by Larking Gowen and Eastern Daily Press, was launched at Wymondham High School on Friday, February 4.

Twenty-three schools from across the county have entered 100 teams, comprising 500 year 10 students. The teams have already planned their share portfolios, with an investment of £50,000, and will track their performance for three months. The league features an Investor of the Month prize for the best performing team in February, March and April and an overall winner at the end of April. The top teams from each school then compete in the live Stock Market Challenge in June.

Will Newton, Team Averagely Better Than You, Wymondham High School said: “We are really pleased to be involved in the Fantasy Shares League. It is part of our maths work. We studied the Eastern Daily Press shares page before making our decisions, and chose companies that had been performing well and looked as if they were going to keep on the up. We put together a shortlist of 20 before deciding on our final seven companies, which include Aviva and Serco. The team will be monitoring its portfolio on a weekly basis. We are really hoping to be the best team in the school, as we would like to go to the Stock Market Challenge in June.”

Jan Cockburn, NWES Exchange Events Manager said: “Fantasy Shares League is a very popular activity and for many schools in Norfolk is an integral part of the Maths and Business Studies calendar. Reaching the Stock Market Challenge at the end of the league is always a much prized reward for all the teams who take part.”

Steven Rudd, Partner at Larking Gowen said: "This is such an interesting way to give students an insight into the stock market. A career in finance may not be their goal, but it is vital for all young people to have an understanding, as finance and economics has such an impact on all of our lives. Larking Gowen is very pleased to be involved in making the Fantasy Shares League happen.”

NWES Exchange is part of the NWES group and exists to support schools and businesses to work together in achieving effective partnerships.

NWES Enterprise Agency has been helping pre-start, start up and existing businesses since 1982. It offers a range of business support covering finance, advice, training and premises in the East of England aimed at anyone who would like help and support in starting or growing a business,, tel. 0845 60 99 991.

Photograph: Steven Rudd Larking Gowen and Jan Cockburn NWES Exchnage pictured with Team Averagely Better Than You.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Dragons, Swans, Snowdrops – Norfolk February Half Term

Visit Norfolk in February for the action-packed Norwich Dragon Festival, the spectacular Welney winter swan feeds, carpets of snowdrops at Walsingham Abbey, the North Norfolk Railway’s full gauge steam experience, a Broad’s river cruise with Broads Tours, or enjoy BeWILDerwood’s Boggle Wish Bonfire.

Explore Norfolk’s great outdoors, for inspiration see and to find a place to stay see

Here are some activities to help you get started:

Norwich Dragon Festival runs from Saturday, February 12 to Sunday, February 27 – two weeks packed full of dragon-related activities and events taking place at more than 30 Norwich venues, linked to the symbol of the dragon and celebrating its role in the heritage and culture of Norwich. Follow the dragon trail around the city, see dragon dancing in the city centre, enjoy dragon storytelling, dragon sculptures, painting and photography, dragon puppet making, find out the science behind dragons and much more.

See the Welney winter swan feed – thousands of Whooper and Bewick’s swans, ducks and other waterbirds gather on the Ouse Washes to over-winter. Watch them being fed, from the centrally heated observatory at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Welney, daily until March 13

Enjoy fabulous snowdrop displays in Walsingham Abbey Grounds open daily from 10am to 4pm from February 5. Contact the Estate Office tel. 01328 820259 to check when the snowdrops are at their best.

Go for a ride on the narrow gauge Bure Valley Railway, daily February 19 to 27, a nine-mile journey from Aylsham to Wroxham and the Broads, or the full gauge steam experience on the North Norfolk Railway, ‘The Poppy Line’, from Sheringham to Holt, (February 19 to 27).

Visit the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich and see Basketry: Making Human Nature, featuring basketry ancient and modern from around the world (February 8 to May 22),

See the Boggles and Twiggles at BeWILDerwood, enjoy the Boggle Wish Bonfire and go on the Wild Wish Trail (February 19 to 27).

Feed the lambs at Junior Farm Wroxham Barns, open daily 10am to 5pm from Saturday, February 19, and have fun on the championship mini adventure golf course.

Enjoy a river cruise on the Broads, Britain’s magical waterland with Broads Tours from Wroxham (19 to 25 February)

Take the Tiger Tree Walk at Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens, near Great Yarmouth, open daily 10am to 5pm,

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Wymondham Music Festival - Annual Public Meeting

As January turns into February, it’s good to start thinking of the warmer months ahead. Local music lovers will also start contemplating the delights of the forthcoming Wymondham Music Festival. If you’re a music fan, then the start of the Festival year is next Monday, when the organisers put on the Annual Public Meeting.

The meeting will take place in the Fairland Church Centre on Monday 7th February 2011. The doors open at 7:00 pm, with the meeting proper starting at 7:45. The meeting is open to all, and entry is free. It’s your opportunity to meet the organisers, here about the forthcoming delights, chat to other festival supporters and have your say about anything to do with South Norfolk’s best music festival. If you’d like to get involved in helping out with the Festival, then you’ll be especially welcome!

There will be live music at the start, with free tea and coffee and homemade cake. In addition, there will be a slideshow of photographs of the 2010 festival, taken by the festival’s official photographer Anna Meek.

John Wood, the Festival chairman, is very keen to get feedback on how the Festival is run. “We’ve been running the Festival since 1996”, he explained. “and we believe that one of the reasons for our continuing success is that we’re always after feedback and trying to act on comments and suggestions.” He explained that the Annual Public Meeting is put on for just that purpose - he urged all music lovers to come along.

For further information about the Public Meeting or the Festival in general, give Barbara Randall a call on 01953 601939, or visit the festival website at