Friday, 21 August 2015

JetSki Display Team at Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival 5 and 6 September

The thrilling DJR Freestyle JetSki Display Team is making its Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival debut on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 September.

The JetSki Display Team, which comprises British and European champions, performs some of the most advanced water based stunts ranging from 15ft high backflips, barrel rolls and 360 and 540 degree spins, to submarines and fountains in the river. The JetSki team will be on hand to talk about the engines, routines, and nature of the sport on South Quay when not on the water. Performance times on 5 September are 11am, 12.30pm, 2pm, 3.30pm and 4.30pm and 6 September are 11am, 12.30pm, 2pm, and 3.30pm.

Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival on 5 September, 10am to 6pm and 6 September, 10am to 5pm, celebrates the town’s proud maritime past and important maritime future with visiting ships including The Götheborg, the world’s largest wooden sailing ship and the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s Lord Nelson. It’s the first time that The Götheborg from Sweden will be seen at a UK Maritime Festival.

There’s also a full programme of international shanty and folk music, street entertainment, arts, crafts and children’s activities. Festival activities and entertainment on South Quay are free; a donation of £1 per visitor towards festival costs is welcomed.

The festival is organised by Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area (GYTABIA) in association with Seajacks UK Ltd.

Aileen Mobbs, Maritime Festival Chairman said: “The DJR JetSki Display Team is a thrilling addition to the Maritime Festival. I am sure that their amazing stunts will be a firm favourite with the visitors to the Festival.”

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

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Norfolk’s Addison’s Uncle Concert on The Götheborg – Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival

Addison's Uncle
Swedish Tall Ship The Götheborg, the world’s largest wooden sailing ship, which is making its UK Maritime Festival debut in Great Yarmouth, is hosting a concert with Norfolk folk band, Addison’s Uncle, on the evening of Saturday, September 5.

The concert, staged on The Götheborg’s sun deck, is from 8pm to 9.30pm. Tickets cost £10 and are on sale at Great Yarmouth Tourist Information Centre, Marine Parade, t. 01493 846346, or at the Maritime Festival during the day on September 5 and in the evening ‘on the door’. Fish and chips, beer and soft drinks will be on sale on the quayside.

Addison's Uncle is a 'stampy' English Folk band. Since finding out about becoming an uncle, singer-songwriter Philip Pearson has been writing his 21st century folk story, telling honest, personal stories of family, friends, childhood, home and his native Norfolk coastline. Last year the band released their homage to the Norfolk road network – ‘B1159’.

The band comprises Philip Pearson, guitar and vocals, Georgia Shackleton, fiddle and vocals, Aaren Bennett, guitar and vocals, Nic Zuppardi, mandolin, James Maas, ukulele, Joe Hartley, bass and Tom Hartley, drums.

Aileen Mobbs, Maritime Festival Chairman said: “Addison’s Uncle’s concert will round off day one of the Maritime Festival on a fantastic musical high. What better way to spend an evening than listen to Norfolk inspired folk music on board The Götheborg, the largest wooden sailing vessel in the world? It is going to be a truly memorable occasion.”

The Götheborg will be moored near the main stage between middle gate and south gate and will be open during the day throughout the festival on Saturday, September 5 and Sunday, September 6.

Daytime entrance fees are £6.50 for adults and £5 for children. Discounted family tickets for 1 adult and 3 children or 2 adults and 2 children will cost £20. Unfortunately disabled access is not available on The Götheborg.

The Götheborg
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.

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

For more information about Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival see

Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival Enjoy International Shanty and Folk Singers 5 and 6 September 2015

Patrick and Miguel from France, Scheepsfolk from The Netherlands, 2 Anchors from Gloucester, Roaring Forties from Scunthorpe and Kimber’s Men and Monkey’s Fist both from Yorkshire, join the roster of live music acts for the first time at the 16th Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival on Saturday 5 September (10am to 6pm) and Sunday 6 September (10am to 5pm) .

Shanty and folk music is performed throughout the festival on three South Quay stages.  New for this year, Great Yarmouth Borough Council, as part of its Town Centre Initiative, is funding an additional festival stage and entertainment in the Market Place, to better link the town centre to South Quay, encouraging the movement of visitors in both directions, and to provide yet another reason for people to visit the festival and the town centre. Eight shanty groups will play on both days, between 11am and about 3.30pm, with Dusmagrik Young People's Theatre Company also performing on the Sunday.

Kimber's Men
The Maritime Festival also features visiting ships, notably The Swedish Ship Götheborg, the world’s largest wooden sailing ship and the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s Lord Nelson, street entertainment, arts, crafts and children’s activities, all celebrating Great Yarmouth’s proud maritime past and maritime future.

The event, organised by Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area (GYTABIA), takes place on South Quay; activities and entertainment are free (entry charge to go on The Götheborg). A donation of £1 per visitor towards Festival costs is welcomed.

The Shanty programme is managed by Great Yarmouth based Sue and John Griffiths who have been performing as shanty singers, The Mollyhawks, since the late 1990s.

Sue Griffiths said: “We have sung at every Maritime Festival and have organised the shanty singing programme since the second festival. We make sure that we have a mix of singers and musicians who are both good entertainers and experienced maritime and shanty singers. This is the second year that we have had more of an international flavour to the festival with singers from The Netherlands and France, as well others from the UK and local performers. There’s going to be some fantastic music on the four stages throughout the festival weekend.”  

Patrick and Miguel
Patrick Denain & Miguel Biard from France perform songs from the French shanty tradition. Scheepsfolk from The Netherlands, comprising four musicians, performs nautical songs from America and Europe on accordion, guitar, mandolin, banjo, accordion, washboard, kazoo, harmonica, cajon and bass.

Roaring Forties were founded in 1995, Monkey’s Fist in 2000, Kimber’s Men in 2001 and 2 Anchors have been on the UK shanty scene since 2009. All four groups sing powerful sea shanties and nautical songs from around the world.

John Ward
Suffolk based singer-songwriter John Ward returns for the second year joined by violinist Mario Price, with Lynne Ward on harmonies. They perform a mix of John’s original compositions and traditional songs, punctuated by Mario’s high-energy instrumentals.

Also at the festival are regulars Inner State and Capstan Full Strength. Wrentham Brass Band will also be there to start Sunday morning with a maritime programme.

For more information about Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival go to

Friday, 14 August 2015

Children's Day at Fairhaven Garden Norfolk Broads – Circus Bizerkus with the Foolhardy Folk

The annual summer Children’s Day at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, South Walsham, on Wednesday, August 26, from 11am to 3pm, features East Anglia’s favourite clowns the Foolhardy Folk and their new show Circus Bizerkus.

There are circus workshops from 11am to 1.45pm, followed by the Circus Bizerkus performance at 2pm. Children’s craft activities run from 11am to 3pm.

Circus Bizerkus: the circus is in town, but it’s just Cosmo, the ringmaster and Bert his trusty ring hand. The rest of the troupe is on the tour bus last heard of on the B9127 heading for Arbroath. With the show due to start, Cosmo decides that he will have to do it on his own. He can juggle, knows the magic tricks, and is handy on the diabolo. He even used to do the grand finale handstand on a chair in his younger days. However the enthusiastic Bert has other plans. Seeing his chance to perform, he persuades Cosmo to let him help and mayhem ensues.

ChiIdren’s Day is included in garden entry: adult £6.20, concessions £5.70, child £3.65 (under 5 free).

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is at South Walsham NR13 6DZ, nine miles east of Norwich, signposted off A47 at B1140 junction, t. 01603 270449 The garden is open daily all year from 10am to 5pm (closed Christmas Day), and on Wednesdays until 9pm to the end of August, free entry to tearoom, gift shop and plant sales.

There is wheelchair access throughout the garden, including a Sensory Garden and an accessible boat for trips on the broad from April to October (additional charge). Visitors requiring special facilities are advised to telephone in advance, mobility scooters available.

Dogs are welcome on leads; small charge to cover poop scoop.

Great Yarmouth Heritage Walks – Summer Holiday Special – Gorey Stories

Great Yarmouth - Marine Parade
Discover ‘Gorey Stories on a Wicked Walk’ on a special Summer Holiday Heritage Walk in Great Yarmouth on Wednesday, August 26. The walk starts at 2pm from the Fishermen’s Hospital Gates in the Market Place and lasts up to two hours.

Places must be booked in advance on 01493 846346, or at Great Yarmouth Tourist Information Centre, Marine Parade. Prices: £6.50 adults, £4 children (7-16), under 7 free, price includes refreshments in the Star Hotel.  Twenty maximum on the walk, so book early (10 minimum for guided walk to take place).

Great Yarmouth has had its fair share of tall stories and unpleasant goings-on. Hear tales of body snatchers, disasters, murders in the Rows and the visit of the Witch Finder General. The walk finishes with fascinating findings at the Star Hotel.

The regular programme of guided Heritage Walks continues with ‘On the Warpath: Piers and Bombs’, on Sunday, August 23. This walk covers the Victorian piers and the former jetty from which Nelson embarked for the Battle of Copenhagen, and also looks at the impact of the two World Wars with army billets, sea defences and digging for victory in the seafront flowerbeds.

The walk starts from in front of the Wellington Pier. Just turn up on the day and pay the guide: adults £3.75, children (7-16) £1.50 and under 7 free.  

For details of Great Yarmouth’s full programme of Heritage Walks see, or pick up a leaflet at Great Yarmouth Tourist Information Centre.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Fairhaven Garden Norfolk Broads – New Hydrangea Path’s Summer Colour

 Mary Wright from East Harling, with dog Taffy and Christine Malone
from Stebbing in Essex enjoying the new Hydrangea Path.
The new Hydrangea Path created in the West Garden, earlier this year, to mark Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden’s 40th anniversary is at its colourful best.

“We developed the Hydrangea Path to add interest in the summer season. The multi-coloured hydrangeas add a new aspect to Fairhaven, at a time of year when the garden is very lush and green,” explained Louise Rout, Garden Manager. “Many wildflower species can also be seen, supporting our butterfly and dragonfly populations.”

Fairhaven Garden new Hydrangea Path
Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is at South Walsham NR13 6DZ, nine miles east of Norwich, signposted off A47 at B1140 junction, t. 01603 270449.

The garden is open daily all year from 10am to 5pm (closed Christmas Day), and on Wednesdays until 9pm to the end of August. Entry is entry: adult £6.20, concessions £5.70, child £3.65 (under 5 free), with free entry to tearoom, gift shop and plant sales.

There is wheelchair access throughout the garden, including a Sensory Garden and an accessible boat for trips on the broad from April to October (additional charge). Visitors requiring special facilities are advised to telephone in advance, mobility scooters available.

Dogs are welcome on leads; small charge to cover poop scoop.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

River Waveney Sculpture Trail Opens on Friday 14 August

Waveney and Blyth Arts’ River Waveney Sculpture Trail returns for the second year this summer to the River Waveney Trust near Bungay, opening on Friday, August 14.

The Sculpture Trail, which is supported by Essex & Suffolk Water’s Branch Out fund and is curated by Norfolk artist and curator, Sarah Cannell, will feature 40 new sculptures and installations from 32 artists that respond to the beauty of this stunning part of the River Waveney.

The River Waveney Sculpture Trail is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from August 14 to September 6 and August Bank Holiday Monday, 10am to 4pm. Entry is adult £4, under 18 free and £3 for members of Waveney & Blyth Arts and River Waveney Trust. Venue address – River Waveney Study Centre, Old Harleston Road, Earsham, Bungay NR35 2AF.

Sculptures and installations on the trail include:

Rachael Long’s exotic giraffes. Fascinated by the skeleton and musculature of animals and birds she transforms redundant machine parts into forms that convey the essence of living creatures to magical effect.

Inspired by the fabulous natural environment at the River Waveney Trust, Meryem Siemmond’s 'Swand' sculpture has travelled all the way from a quarry in Carrera, Italy, where it was created.

Meg Amsden’s - Part the branches – enter the alder glade, listen, look, sniff. Who lives here? Leaping, crawling, flying things and maybe a glimpse of the god Pan.

“Waveney and Blyth Arts are delighted to be collaborating with the River Waveney Trust again on this inspirational arts event kindly supported by Essex & Suffolk Water. The curator, Sarah Cannell, has selected artists whose work responds to the site in a creative and magical way. This year you can expect to find tiny masterpiece paintings hidden in a bird hide, a new breed of dragonfly created from twigs and leaves, abandoned umbrellas revived into striking sculptures, crocheted trees, paper boats and much more!” Nicky Stainton, Chairperson, Waveney & Blyth Arts.

Norfolk and Suffolk artists whose work will feature on the trail are: Meg Amsden, Nick Ball, Kelly Briggs, Clive, Sarah Cannell, Mike Challis, Rebecca Clifford, Malcolm Cudmore, Lorry Cudmore, Nicki Darrell, Kally Davison, Mike Dodd, Patrick Elder, Sophie Giller, Patrick Goodall, Joanna Guthrie, Pamela Harling-Challis, Mel Horwood, Jayne Ivimey, Davide Lakshmanasamy, Rachael Long, Caroline Mackenzie, Kathleen Madigan, Eric Marland, Liz McGowan, Nikkita Morgan, Simon Raven, James Rose, Meryem Siemmond, Bobbie Watchorn, Caroline Way and Terry Wright.

Thanks to Essex and Suffolk Water's grant, Waveney and Blyth Arts has been able to commission a guest artist to create a new work for the trail. Sound artist Mike Challis has created Soundhide trail, a structure incorporating a soundscape recorded on the site during the seasons and at different times of day and night and through different elements – air, water and wood.

The trail will also feature The Book Project exhibition in the café at River Waveney Trust’s Study Centre, comprising preliminary paintings, drawings, photographs and prints celebrating the River Waveney between Brockdish and Bungay, created by members of Harleston & Waveney Art Trail. A full-colour book of images and text will be published later this year.

Special Events
Dancing the Landscape, Saturday, August 22, 4pm to 6pm, cost £5 including entry to the trail. Community dance practitioner, Mel Horwood will lead participants through ways to connect with the Waveney landscape through movement responses. Adults only, no dance experience necessary. To book 07500 600176.

Curator’s Guided Walk, Thursday, August 27, 2pm to 4pm, cost £7 including tea and cake. Sarah Cannell’s tour will give an insight into the process of creating the trail and the artists’ work. To book email

Family Fun Day, Sunday, August 30, 10am to 4pm, cost £2 per child – a day of drop-in creative activities.

River Waveney Trust Café is open daily serving tea, coffee, cakes and sandwiches.

For information about access on the site go to search under Norfolk for the River Waveney Trust.

Only trained assistance dogs are allowed on the trail.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Maids Head Norwich – Gift of 1945 Hotel Bill

A 70 year-old bill, in near perfect condition, for a one-week stay at the Maids Head Hotel in Norwich, along with a tariff card, has been donated to the hotel and provides a remarkable insight into a visit to Norfolk in the immediate post-war period.

Mrs and Miss Dale stayed in the Maids Head’s room 58, from 16 to 23 October 1945 at 17 shillings (85p) a day, had breakfast every morning at 7 shillings (35p) for 2, lunch on four occasions at 8 shillings (40p) for two and dinner on six evenings at 10 shillings (50p) for two. Their total bill came to £14/6s/4d (£14.32p).

Patience and Esme Dale's Hotel Bill October 1945
Miss Dale (Esme) died recently aged 94. Her stepdaughter Dorothy Latham found the bill and the 1945 Maids Head tariff, while going through her papers.    

Dorothy Latham explained: “At the time of her stay, Esme was accompanied by her mother, Patience, who was very recently widowed. They were living in Newcastle upon Tyne.  Over the years, Esme moved house many times, so it is remarkable that the bill is in such good condition.”

Esme Dale in Land Army uniform (1942)
“Esme was in the Land Army during World War II and her last posting was in Norfolk. I have found several old small fuzzy photographs taken at a farm in Norfolk; on the back of one of them, she has written Carr Farm, Kerdiston. Esme was given permission to leave the Land Army in 1945 on compassionate grounds, in order to help her mother, when her father, Joseph, died suddenly. This was the cause of much regret for her, as she loved Norfolk and the Land Army.”

“Before the War, Esme and her parents toured the country in their car for holidays and Norfolk was one of the places they enjoyed. I am sure that, because of all the happy memories, this was why they came to the Maids Head after her father’s death.”

On the back of the tariff Esme Dale has noted the train times for their journey from Newcastle to Norwich, leaving at 8.10am and arriving at 2pm, changing at York and Ely. She added the address of George Smith & Son in Wroxham, so they must have been planning a trip on the Norfolk Broads and also worked out their budget for the week.

Maids Head Hotel tariff 1945
The bill gives a fascinating insight into the Maids Head in 1945. There is a motor garage ‘offering first-class open and closed motor cars for hire’ and there is a line on the bill for ‘servants’ board and apartments’. The tariff promotes ‘hot and cold running water in all bedroom’ and ‘central heating’.

Christine Malcolm, General Manager, the Maids Head Hotel said: “I am so pleased that Dorothy Latham contacted us. We are going to frame the bill and put it on public display. We are very keen to gather memories of the hotel, so we can build a fuller picture of life at the Maids Head over the centuries.”

 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. 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”.

Eighteenth century 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.

For more information about the Maids Head see, t. 01603 209955.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Rare Snow Leopard Cubs Make Debut at Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens Norfolk

Snow Leopard Cub Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens August 2015
Two rare snow leopard cubs, the first to be born at Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens near Great Yarmouth, have made their handling debut.

The cubs born to mother Nima and father Mohan in June have been handled for the first time by Ian McNichol, Senior Veterinary Surgeon of Acle Anchorage Veterinary Hospital. They were sexed, vaccinated and health checked. Ian McNichol gave the cubs a clean bill of health and pronounced them to be both male. 

Snow leopards (Uncia uncia) are classified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as endangered because of their low numbers in the wild and growing human pressure on their habitat, They live in the mountains of 12 countries across Central Asia. Numbers are estimated at between 4,000 and 6,500, but as they are spread over such a huge area, contact opportunities for breeding are very poor. 

 Keepers Lisa Rainer and Sophie Simmons with the snow leopard cubs
Mother Nima was born in Belgium in 2012 and father Mohan was born in Zurich in 2013. The two snow leopards came to Thrigby Hall as part of an international breeding programme, co-ordinated by the studbook keeper, Leif Blomquist of Helsinki Zoo. 

Ken Sims and Scott Bird Directors, Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens said: “We are privileged to host these beautiful cats and to make a contribution to the conservation work of progressive zoos.” 

Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens is at Filby near Great Yarmouth, t. 01493 369477, The Wildlife Gardens open every day at 10am.