Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Great Yarmouth to stage new car festival September 12 and 13

The Bloodhound SSC Showcar - photo Stefan Margoram
A full-sized replica of a supersonic car designed to smash the world land speed record will be the highlight of a major new car festival at Great Yarmouth seafront in Norfolk UK, on Saturday, September 12 and Sunday, September 13.

The GY Wheels Festival will give visitors to Marine Parade the chance to view scores of prestige and novelty cars, as well as try their hands at fun educational activities, from 10am to 5pm on both days. 

The star attraction will be the official full-sized replica of Bloodhound SSC, a British-built jet-and rocket-powered car, designed to go at 1,000mph, which will attempt to smash the world land speed record.

Jointly organised by Great Yarmouth Borough Council and the Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area (GYTABIA), with additional funding from Joyland and the American Diner, the free festival aims to further extend the tourism season and support the local economy.

Great Yarmouth is the only location in East Anglia, which the Bloodhound Roadshow will be visiting, before the team heads to Hakskeen Pan, South Africa in summer 2016, with the aim of first setting a new world record of 800mph and then looking to take it to 1,000mph.

The Bloodhound Roadshow will have a marquee on Anchor Plaza, featuring the official showcar, a test drive simulator, and a fun activity enabling young people to make and race compressed air-powered K’Nex cars. Also at Anchor Plaza will be displays of a dragster from Santa Pod Raceway.

Meanwhile, at Britannia Plaza, people will be able to see the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo, the Inbetweeners car, Barbie’s car, a Hummer, limousines and the Bloodhound support vehicles. More vehicles will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Autobahn Stormers Club will be showing off their Lotus Carltons on Anchor Gardens, where young people will also be able to design their own rocket cars in blocks of Styrofoam as part of an educational workshop. 

These cars will be cut out in front of their eyes by a Bloodhound expert, will have a rocket motor attached and then be raced along a 30-metre track. The young person with the fastest car will win a VIP day pass to Joyland, plus a burger meal for four at the American Diner.

Also at the festival will be model vehicles from the Lowestoft Mechanical Engineering Exhibition (LOWMEX), plus an information stand from the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network (STEMNET).

Peter Harrison, the lead Bloodhound ambassador for the East of England, said: “Bloodhound SSC is not just about smashing the world record but also about inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers, encouraging young people to choose to study science, technology, engineering and maths.

“Great Yarmouth, as a hugely popular family resort, is therefore the ideal location – and the GY Wheels Festival will ensure that even more people can enjoy the unique Bloodhound experience.”

Cllr Barry Coleman, the borough council’s deputy leader, whose portfolio includes tourism, said: “The borough council is delighted to be working with partners to stage this free festival, which aims to provide yet another reason to visit the borough later in the season and thereby support the local economy.

“The GY Wheels Festival is a great addition to our growing calendar of festivals. We know from other car festivals around the UK, and the popularity of shows like Top Gear, that cars have a very wide appeal."

“We already have a great line-up, with more vehicular attractions still to be announced, and it has been a major coup to secure the official replica of Bloodhound SSC – a name which everyone will hear a lot more of in the coming months.”

David Marsh, chairman of the GYTABIA, said: “This is a fantastic new festival which will continue to grow over the next five years of the BID, helping to bring extra people into the borough to support local businesses.”

Michael Cole, of Joyland and the American Diner, said: “I have been following this project for a number of years and am delighted that the Bloodhound SSC showcar is to be the star attraction at this year’s GY Wheels Festival next to Joyland."

“It will give everyone a unique opportunity to see this fantastic piece of British engineering and maybe inspire schoolchildren into an engineering career.”

Bloodhound SSC is a jet and rocket-powered car designed to reach 1,000 mph (just over 1,600 kph) and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. It has a slender body of approximately 13.4m length with two front wheels within the body and two rear wheels mounted externally within wheel fairings. It weighs 7.5 tonnes and the engines produce more than 135,000 horsepower - more than six times the power of all the Formula 1 cars on a starting grid put together. The car is a mix of car and aircraft technology, with the front half being a carbon fibre monocoque like a racing car and the back half being a metallic framework and panels like an aircraft. For more information see

Friday, 10 July 2015

Martham Boats Stages Norfolk’s Only Stand-up Paddleboard Race – July 18

Martham Boats is staging the fifth Norfolk Broads Classic stand-up paddleboard (sup) race on Saturday, July 18. Norfolk’s only sup race, which will feature up to 70 competitors, will have an international element this year with American paddelboarders flying in to take part.

The event, which is supporting Hemsby Inshore Lifeboat, is sponsored by Waterways Holidays and features £800 of prize money, comprises two races. The main 15km race, which is part of the official UK SUP Clubs Series, starts at 2pm from How Hill Staithe, heads down the River Ant, joins the River Bure, then the River Thurne, before ending in Martham. The shorter 6.5km race starts at Thurne at 3.30pm and also ends at Martham.

Ian Curtis from Martham Boats explains: “Five years ago I was looking for something new to run alongside our boat business, experienced paddleboarding in Devon and was hooked. We became accredited as a paddleboarding school and organised our first race, which was from Wayford Bridge to Martham. The feedback we had after year one was that the race was a bit long and we have now settled on the 15km How Hill to Martham route. It’s the second year that we have been part of the official UK SUP Series.”

It costs £25 to take part in the long race and  £15 for the short race (booked before the day of the race). For more information contact Martham Boats, t. 01493 740249 and to register, go to

Learn how to paddleboard at Martham Boats on a two-hour course costing £30 per person.

Spectators should head to Thurne, where they can watch the long race go past and also the start of the shorter race from the staithe. From Thurne the race route can be followed on foot on the Weaver's Way from Thurne to Repps, then by carefully crossing the A149 and joining a smaller path along to Martham Staithe.

For information about accommodation in the Borough of Great Yarmouth go to, or contact Great Yarmouth Tourist Information Centre t. 01493 846346.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

City of London Churches – Report Calls for Improved Heritage Access

WPI Students with Jennie Hawks Art Alive in Churches

A report focussing on City of London Churches calls for improved physical and digital access to churches to respond to visitors’ interest in religious heritage and breath more life into the Capital’s religious heritage assets.  

The Interpreting Religious Heritage report produced by students from Worcester Polytechnic Institute Massachusetts (WPI), on behalf of Art Alive in Churches (AAiC), is the first in a series of studies promoted by the East Anglian charity into the understanding of and marketing of the United Kingdom’s rich ecclesiastical heritage.

The report concluded that lack of promotion, limited interpretative materials and poor access for visitors with disabilities, means that City of London Churches are missing opportunities to tap into London’s vast tourism market.

Lack of funding is a key barrier to making improvements, but the students concluded their report with a series of practical recommendations, which are relevant to any historic church wanting to improve access and understanding of its heritage.

Nicole Beinstein WPI student said: “We feel lucky and honoured to have had the opportunity to be able to learn about the United Kingdom’s rich religious heritage. We were particularly impressed with St Stephen Walbrook, a beautiful Christopher Wren church near St Paul’s. Everyone there was very welcoming.”

“We also visited Norwich and Cambridge during the project to see examples of ecclesiastical buildings outside London. We thought that the way that new Refectory and Hostry have been created at Norwich Cathedral was very innovative, blending the old with the new. The free art exhibitions in the Hostry were inspirational.”

“We appreciate that funds are limited and hope that our report is a valuable contribution to raising awareness of the importance of improving access to the United Kingdom’s wonderful historic churches.”

The report recommended that churches should be made more welcoming by leaving doors open, by installing glass doors (where practical) and keeping the lights on. They should also take measures to improve access by installing ramps for visitors with disabilities and increase intellectual access by providing improved websites and interpretative materials.

To read the full recommendations and download the report see  

Jennie Hawks, Director Art Alive in Churches said: “We congratulate the WPI students on completing a first rate report with many practical recommendations for the City of London churches. The report is very relevant to any Diocese looking to improve interpretation of and access to their historic churches. We look forward to working with WPI students on future projects about access to churches.”

Art Alive in Churches runs special projects to increase understanding of and access to East Anglia’s world class ecclesiastical artistic heritage, from medieval to modern, and its historical links with Europe.  AAiC was established in Norfolk in 2008 and in 2013 expanded its remit to include Cambridgeshire and Suffolk.

To mark the anniversary of the start of World War I, AAiC developed Memento Mori to raise awareness of the many war memorials and their links to local families in churches and churchyards.  The next project will be focusing on brass in East Anglian churches.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Norfolk First for Maids Head Hotel Norwich

Maids Head Sales Manager, Linzi Rawson with the new iRiS app 
Guests at the Maids Head Hotel in Norwich now have the latest iRiS guest services paper free app in their bedrooms. The iPad based system, a first for a hotel in Norfolk, gives guests the opportunity to reserve a table in the restaurant and order their meal, order drinks at the bar, book taxis, check airport departure boards, browse the internet, get the latest information on events and culture in Norwich and days out in Norfolk and much more.

The app will also soon include the environmental control switch for bedrooms in the older part of the hotel, when the new heat pump based heating and cooling system is commissioned.

Christine Malcolm, General Manager, the Maids Head Hotel said: "We are very excited about our new iRiS guest services app. The old information folders have been removed from the bedrooms and guests now have the latest technology to plan their stay at the hotel, and order food and drink and other guest services from the comfort of their room. We are proud of our heritage and claim to be the oldest hotel in the UK, but are very keen to meet the expectations of guests in the 21st century. The iRiS app, combined with our new heating and cooling system in the old part of the hotel, bathroom refurbishment in the newer part of the hotel, and improvements to our public lounges and toilets is all part of ensuring that the hotel combines a contemporary feel with it's wonderful heritage."      

"We're very happy to be working with the Maids Head Hotel on this project to bring cutting edge hospitality technology to the oldest hotel in the UK. Our solutions will enable guests to enjoy the hotel's unique surroundings in the most modern and convenient way." said Felicia Nekmouche, Account Manager at iRiS Software Systems.

The Maids Head Hotel claims to be the oldest hotel in Britain, based on the hotel’s site being used continuously for hospitality since the early 12th century.

Now privately owned by the Chaplin family, who also run The Gonville Hotel in Cambridge, the Maids Head has 84 bedrooms and caters for a wide range of corporate events in its historic meeting and reception rooms. An ongoing programme of refurbishment and renovation includes the installation of a hi-tech capillary heating and cooling system in the oldest part of the hotel – a first for Norfolk.

Private ownership has also meant a return to a policy of local purchasing for food and drink. Visitors to the bar and restaurant can sample Maids Head Ale from Woodfordes and Winbirri wines from Surlingham.

Norwich historian Walter Rye, who also owned the Maids Head from 1889 to 1895 considered it to be: “the oldest Norman site in the city after the Castle”.

Historian Rev. Francis Blomfield explained that the hotel was built on the site of a house owned by the early Norman bishops. It was this house that became a guest house for visitors to the Cathedral. This eventually became the Murtel Fish or Molde Fish Tavern, the predecessor of The Maids Head. The tavern is first mentioned in Norwich records in 1287. John Paston recommended the Maids Head as good place to stable a horse in a letter dated 2nd November 1472, confirming the change of name.

iRiS Software Systems – London based iRiS Software Systems Ltd is an award-winning interactive guest services application creator, providing apps designed for hotels, cruise lines and restaurants. The iRiS applications are designed to improve the guest experience, increase revenues and reduce costs, improve communications between guests and staff and provide a smart marketing tool. Both tablet and mobile phone applications are available.

Great Yarmouth Summer Fireworks Season Kicks Off on Wednesday 15 July

Greater Yarmouth Tourism & Business Improvement Area  (GYTABIA) is celebrating the summer with seven weeks of Wednesday evening entertainment, starting on Wednesday 15 July and ending on Wednesday 26 August. Each Wednesday evening climaxes with a spectacular fireworks display on Great Yarmouth seafront at 10pm.

Summer Wednesdays are a great time to visit the resort. Seafront attractions stay open until 10pm, so visitors can play crazy golf in the moonlight, wander round the illuminated Merrivale Model Village, enjoy some exhilarating thrills at the Pleasure Beach, or listen to free live music at the Sea Life Centre Gardens from 8pm, before watching the fireworks.

Music on 15 July will be provided by The Collective, one of Norfolk’s favourite function bands with special guest Joanna Power, who was a live finalist on ITV’s ‘Grease Is The Word’.

David Marsh, Interim Chairman GYTABIA said: “The summer starts here! Our Summer Fireworks evenings are a fantastic way to enjoy Great Yarmouth. We are looking forward to a big turnout on the seafront, with everybody dancing to the music, then watching the night sky light up with our superb fireworks display.”    

Other bands appearing during the summer are:
22 July: Helen Ashton Band, with guest Tommy Winn
29 July: GrooveJam, with guest Gemma B
5 August: Nightlife, with guest Chelsea Francis
12 August: Sophie G & the Good Times, with guest Emily Creed
19 August: The Claire Barker Band, with guest Anika Rands
26 August : Ignite

For more information see or contact Great Yarmouth Tourist Information Centre t. 01493 846346.

The Götheborg, World’s Largest Wooden Sailing Ship, to visit Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival

The Gotheborg
The Götheborg, the world’s largest wooden sailing ship, will visit the 16th Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival Norfolk on Saturday, September 5 and Sunday, September 6, 2015.  It’s the first time that the Swedish tall ship will be seen at a UK Maritime Festival.

Visitors will be able to explore this huge sailing ship, which measures 58.5m long, by 11 metres wide and stands 5 decks tall, with a vertical clearance of 47 metres. The tour will include the gun deck, where there are 10 canons, and the weather deck where the steering wheel is located. In bad weather it sometimes takes up to four crew to hold a steady course.

The Götheborg, which completed its maiden voyage in 2005-07, is a replica of the original Götheborg, which was built in 1738 at Terra Nova ship yard, in Stockholm, for the Swedish East India Company (Svenska Ostindiska Companiet), and was used for three lucrative voyages between Sweden and China.

The ship dramatically sank on 12 September 1745, in Gothenburg harbour, returning from her third China voyage. She ran aground on a notorious submerged rock, the Hunnebådan (known as the Knipla Börö in the 18th century), right in front of merchants and family members, waiting to welcome the crew and its cargo home.

In 1984 a number of exploratory dives to the shipwreck took place, and an ambitious dream was born to reconstruct The Götheborg to 100% scale, using traditional 18th century ship building skills, methods and materials, but complying with the very latest technological advances for navigation, cooking, heating and hygiene.

Nineteen years after the first dive, including the reconstruction of the original shipyard to carry out much of the work, the new Götheborg was launched in 2003, and finally set sail in October 2005 on a two-year expedition to China, commemorating the maiden voyage of the original Götheborg.

Aileen Mobbs, Maritime Festival Chairman said: “It is a dream come true to have secured such a prestigious tall ship as The Götheborg for Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival, made possible by funding support from the new Great Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area (GYTABIA). The Götheborg will be at the heart of a weekend of maritime celebration, with JST Lord Nelson, other visiting ships, a busy international shanty singing programme and lots of demonstrations, hands-on activities and entertainment. We are enormously grateful to all our festival sponsors who enable us to put on such a fantastic event every year.”

The Maritime Festival sponsors are Seajacks UK Ltd, 3Sun Group, Bateman Groundworks, BDO LLP, Bunn Fertiliser Ltd, ELM Contracts, e.on Climate & Renewables, HKB Wiltshire, Gardline, MDF Transport, Perenco, Persimmon Homes Anglia, Stephenson Smart and Wellington Construction. The festival is run by Great Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area (GYTABIA) and is supported by EastPort UK and Great Yarmouth Borough Council.

Chamber Orchestra Anglia – A Bite of Bach for Lunch in Norwich

St John Maddermarket Church
Chamber Orchestra Anglia (COA) is presenting JS Bach’s complete works for solo violin and cello in a series of lunchtime concerts at the Church of St John Maddermarket, Norwich starting with Cello Suite No. 1 and Violin Sonata No. 3 at 1.15pm on Wednesday, July 8.  The concert series is being promoted in partnership with The Churches Conservation Trust and Maddermarket Theatre.

The full programme of concerts is as follows:
Wednesday, July 8: Cello Suite No. 1 & Violin Sonata No. 3
Wednesday, July 15: Violin Sonata No.1 & Cello Suite No. 6
Wednesday, September 9: Violin Partita No. 3 & Cello Suite No. 2
Wednesday, September 16: Violin Sonata No. 1 & Cello Suite No. 4
Wednesday, October 7: Violin Sonata No. 2 & Cello Suite No. 3
Wednesday, October 14: Cello Suite No. 5 & Violin Partita No. 2

All concerts begin at 1.15pm and are approximately 45 minutes long. Tickets are £9 with light lunch from 12.30pm in the Maddermarket Theatre Bar. Concert only tickets (on the door) are £6.  To book concert and light lunch tickets contact Maddermarket Theatre box office t. 01603 620917 or buy online at

The Bach series will be performed by Simon Smith, COA Artistic Director, violin and Katherine Jenkinson, COA Principal Cellist.

Simon Smith is an outstanding violinist who has performed extensively as a soloist with the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. He has also appeared as a soloist in China, Russia and the USA and will soon be recording a CD of solo violin music for Resonus. He has been leader of COA since its inception in 2001 and became Artistic Director in 2014.

Since her Wigmore Hall debut in 2004, Katherine Jenkinson has appeared as a soloist throughout Europe and Asia. She is a member of the Aquinas Piano Trio and has been COA principal cellist since 2005.

Simon Smith COA Artistic Director said: “I would like to thank The Churches Conservation Trust and Maddermarket Theatre for their support in helping us stage this Bach series. St John Maddermarket is a wonderful venue and is going to be an exciting first for the musicians, as we have never performed the Bach side by side like this.”