Saturday, 2 September 2017

A Moment in Time - 50 stories that bring East Anglian history to life

On Monday 2 October 2017, I am publishing Peter Sargent's A Moment in Time - 50 stories that bring East Anglian history to life. I used to be an avid reader of Pete's history columns in the Eastern Daily Press and now I am very pleased to be working with him to publish a first collection of these columns.

Here's an introduction to the book: 

It only takes a moment to change the world. Our past is littered with these moments; from the grandest in the land – a Queen claiming her crown at a Suffolk castle – to the humblest – a workman whitewashing religious pictures in a church.

These moments in time helped create our history in East Anglia. In this book, former journalist Peter Sargent takes us on a journey in time, from the mysterious ancient figure of the Green Man in Norwich Cathedral, via the day King Charles II rode a winner at Newmarket’s racetrack on to Second World War soldiers preparing for the D-Day landings in woods on the Norfolk-Suffolk border.

In this series of short stories, many of which first appeared in the Eastern Daily Press newspaper, you will encounter famous figures who made their mark. Here is Oliver Cromwell raising an army in his own backyard, Queen Elizabeth I on a Royal Progress, while highwayman Dick Turpin goes about his nefarious business.

You’ll also meet less familiar figures and veer well off the beaten track. Here are tales of a Cambridgeshire Iron Age ‘hill fort’, Norfolk’s raffish 19th Century bare knuckle boxers and the sailors who fought a huge, but barely remembered, 17th century sea battle off the Suffolk coast.

Peter Sargent’s interest in history was sparked when he studied the subject at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, during the 1980s. After working in Peterborough and Cambridge, via spells in Malta and Hong Kong, he later returned to Norfolk to work as a journalist on newspapers and magazines. From 2004-11 he wrote weekly articles on local history which appeared in The Eastern Daily Press, and was production editor on Let’s Talk magazine for six years. He lives in Norwich. This is his first published book.
A Moment in Time, price £12 can be ordered here at

ISBN Paperback: 9780995618718, 160 pages + 8 pages colour illustrations.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Take a Tandem Parachute Jump for Norfolk Deaf Association

Norfolk Deaf Association (NDA) is marking the start of Deaf Awareness Week 2017 with a Tandem Parachute Jump on Sunday, May 14 at Ellough Airfield, Beccles to raise funds for its vital services supporting people with hearing loss in Norfolk.

NDA is dedicated to improving the lives of young people and adults with all degrees of hearing loss. This is achieved by providing hearing aid maintenance, advice on assistive listening technology and communication methods, befriending, and support and information on hearing loss and other related conditions, such as tinnitus.

Aliona Derrett, Chief Executive, NDA explained: “Demand for our services continues to grow, in particular for the Hearing Support Service. Between April 2015 and March 2017, the number of people we support grew by 70%, from 5,528 to 8,642. So initiatives like the Parachute Jump are very important in helping secure funding for our work. We need more people to come forward and take part in the Parachute Jump, or just come along on the day and support the tandem jumpers. Because of the growth in demand, we are also very keen to recruit more volunteers to assist with our Hearing Support and Befriending Services.”

Ellie Parfitt
Ellie Parfitt from near Wymondham, also known online as Deafie Blogger, has booked to take part in the parachute jump. Ellie said: “I'm 20 years old and profoundly deaf. I write blogs for the Phonak Hearing Like Me community blog, as well as my personal blog. I am passionate about deaf awareness, deaf culture and issues around it. Ever since I started blogging, and becoming involved in the deaf community, I've always wanted to do some fundraising for a deaf charity. The opportunity arose for me to do this tandem skydive for NDA, and I feel the funds raised will allow the charity to provide valuable support to those with hearing loss across Norfolk.”

For more information about the Tandem Parachute Jump or volunteering opportunities contact Norfolk Deaf Association, t. 01603 404440, email There is a fundraising page for the Parachute Jump at For more information about what is involved in a Tandem Parachute Jump see

Ann Harrod
Ann Harrod from Norwich has first hand experience of the support that NDA can provide. Her father, George Barber, who died last year aged 95, was a regular visitor to the Hearing Support Service clinic in Norwich. George was a pressman in the local shoe industry, working in a noisy environment. He spent his whole employment in the shoe industry, except for war service.

“When my Dad’s hearing began to fail,” said Ann, “ I suggested he needed a hearing aid, but it had to be his decision. It was fitted at the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital and eventually he had hearing aids fitted for both ears. Dad had problems with his hearing aids, they whistled a lot and he needed to get them cleaned and maintained. I found out about NDA when they were on Silver Road. I began volunteering at Pabulum Alzheimers support, which was below the NDA office.”

“It was becoming very difficult for me to take Dad to the Norfolk & Norwich clinic, so imagine my relief, when NDA offered to send a Hearing Support volunteer to visit him at home and look after his hearing aids, cleaning the tubes and checking the batteries. Sadly my mum was suffering from dementia and Dad wasn’t keen to leave her, so getting a volunteer to do home visits was a real bonus.”  

After my Mum died in 2008, I began taking Dad to the Hearing Support Clinic at NDA’s Head Office, which is now on Thorpe Road. He loved to chat with volunteers and find out how they were getting on, while they checked and cleaned his hearing aids. Margaret, Sylvia and Norman were a wonderful support. Dad really appreciated what they did for him and he enjoyed their company. They were his friends. The volunteers sent me a lovely card when he died.”

“NDA’s Assistive Listening Technology Clinic also proved very useful. Dad was finding it difficult to hear an ordinary telephone. We were able to get advice from NDA on what was available and purchased a telephone with a higher volume and large press buttons.”

“I always publicise the work of NDA whenever I can and have introduced David and Pete, who live by themselves after their wives passed away, to NDA’s services. David suffers from tinnitus and both he and Peter are helped out with their hearing aids.”

Whilst many of us take our hearing for granted, the Action on Hearing Loss Fact Sheet (April 2016), showed that hearing loss affects over 11 million adults and 45,000 children in the UK. This has an enormous personal, social and economic impact. Of this figure, over 5 million people are of working age. NDA aims to support those with hearing loss to enable them to engage fully in all aspects of life.

Norfolk Deaf Association was established in 1898 and currently has a team of 11 staff as well as more than 50 essential volunteers.
 More than 124,000 people in Norfolk have some degree of hearing loss. This equates to 1 in 7 people.
 NDA provides the following services: Hearing Support Service, Befriending Service, Tinnitus Support Group, Hard of Hearing group (HUSH! Club) and Hearing Loss Awareness Training for commercial and public sector organisations as well as individuals.
 Of the two million people in the UK that have a hearing aid, only 1.4 million wear it regularly.
 It is estimated that by 2031, 14.5 million people in the UK will have hearing loss (approx. 20% of the population)

Norfolk Deaf Association is based at 120 Thorpe Road, Norwich, NR1 1RT. T. 01603 404440.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Great Days Out in Norfolk & Suffolk – English Tourism Week Launch

Launching Great Days Out 2017 at Framlingham Castle: Fiona Siddall, Easton Farm Park, Martin Dupee, Africa Alive and Abbie Connell-Smith, English Heritage (photo James Bass Photography)
Norfolk and Suffolk Tourist Attractions (NSTA) launched their 2017 Great Days Out in Norfolk & Suffolk booklet at Castle Acre Priory and Framlingham Castle (English Heritage properties) on Tuesday, March 28, to mark English Tourism Week (March 25 to April 2).

The Great Days Out booklet features 51 attractions across Norfolk and Suffolk and £260 of discount vouchers.  New members featured in 2017 are the East Anglia Transport Museum, English Heritage (Norfolk and Suffolk) and Southwold Maize Maze.

Norfolk and Suffolk's attractions continue to invest in new projects demonstrating significant confidence in the region’s tourism offer. Examples of these include English Heritage embarking on a two-phase £1.2 million visitor facilities improvement scheme at Framlingham Castle, including a new café and extended shop. English Whisky’s St George’s Distillery is developing a new restaurant and shop, which will open in the autumn, as will Dinosaur Adventure’s explorer-themed restaurant.

City Sightseeing Norwich is unveiling an upgraded DDA compliant bus, with easy wheelchair access in April. Banham Zoo will be opening its new £400,000 Californian sea lion enclosure later this summer and Amazona Zoo is opening Cromer Camping in July, the only campsite in the heart of Cromer.

On the events front, the legendary Tom Jones will be at Holkham Hall on July 23, Houghton Hall is hosting an exhibition by acclaimed British sculptor, Richard Long from April 30 and, once again, the Thursford Christmas Spectacular, the largest Christmas show in the country, returns on November 8.

Launching Great Days Out 2017 at Castel Acre Priory: Julie Enefer, English Heritage and Martin Dupee, Banham Zoo (photo James Bass Photography)
Martin Dupée, Chairman NSTA said: “This is looking like a fantastic year for all of Norfolk and Suffolk’s attractions. The Great Days Out booklet features 51 excellent reasons for day trips and short breaks in the region. It's such good news to see both large and smaller attractions continuing to invest in new facilities and innovative events, improving the visitor experience and giving a boost to our £4.8 billion tourism economy in Norfolk and Suffolk.”  

The Great Days Out booklet offers an unrivalled menu of activities from boat trips on the Broads, family theme parks, top museum collections and country houses and gardens to zoos and animal collections, heritage railways, fabulous live shows and much more.

Some 400,000 booklets will be distributed across the six counties of the East of England and to Tourist Information Centres nationwide. Great Days Out in Norfolk & Suffolk can also be downloaded from

Monday, 27 March 2017

New Floating Common Tern Breeding Platform Launched at Fairhaven Garden, Norfolk Broads

Trevor 'Tabs' Taberham (left) and John Debbage secure the platform on Fairhaven broad 
A new floating breeding platform for common terns was secured on Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden’s broad today (March 27) at South Walsham in the Norfolk Broads. It was attached to posts that survive from an old 1960s installation, designed to deter waterskiing.

The platform comprises a 3m x 2m pallet and six large fruit juice barrels (for buoyancy) donated by Britvic, Norwich, along with two ‘air raid’ shelters, so that chicks can hide from aerial predators and a hinged ramp into the water. The ramp will take the weight of a chick, but not otters, to deter them from attacking.

Trevor ‘Tabs’ Taberham, volunteer wildlife warden at Fairhaven Garden explained: “Two years ago, just after I started working her, five pairs of common terns tried to breed on the island in Fairhaven broad, but greylag geese wrecked the nests. So last year, we experimented with a single standard size pallet, attached to the waterskiing posts. It attracted two pairs of common terns; one pair stayed to nest, three chicks fledged, but unfortunately one was taken by a Herring gull.”

Common tern chicks on the 2016 platform
“The new platform, which has been built by John Debbage, one of the gardening team at Fairhaven, is much larger.  We hope that John’s air raid shelters and chick ramp will keep the birds safe, should they decide to breed this year. We can expect the common terns to start arriving in mid April and will be keeping a close eye on activity out on the water.”

John Debbage, Fairhaven gardener added: “We have developed a much more substantial and stable platform this year. I would like to thank Phil Denman and Luke Davey from Britivic for their support and have my fingers firmly crossed for a more successful breeding season than last year.”

 Job done - Trevor 'Tabs' Taberham (standing) and John Debbage with the secured platform 
Fairhaven Garden’s daily boat trips, which started for the season on Mothering Sunday, will take visitors past the common tern platform, so they can keep an eye on progress.

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

The garden is open daily all year 10am to 5pm (closed Christmas Day and closes 4pm during the winter), also open Wednesdays until 9pm from May to the end of August.  Garden entry is adult £6.75, concessions £6.15, child £3.85 (under 5 free). Free entry to tearoom, gift shop and plant sales. 

There is wheelchair access throughout the garden, including a Sensory Garden and accessible boat trips (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.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Nelson's Gold Launched at the Maids Head Hotel Norwich

Left to right: Matt and Steph Brown, creator's of Nelson's Gold with Adam Youngman, Maids Head Hotel and the Nelson's Golden Apple Cocktail. 
Nelson’s Gold, a brand new spirit drink from Norfolk’s Wild Knight English Vodka, was launched today at the Maids Head Hotel in Tombland, Norwich.

The new spirit drink combines Wild Knight English Vodka and caramelised East Anglian sugar beet. It takes its name from the story behind the predecessor of Horatio Nelson’s HMS Victory, which was sunk in 1700 containing around £500m worth of gold coins.

Adam Youngman, Restaurant and Bar Manager at the Maids Head has devised a cocktail to celebrate the launch of Nelson’s Gold.

Nelson’s Golden Apple is now on sale in the historic Maids Head bar, where it is believed that Horatio Nelson imbibed his first alcoholic drink. The cocktail combines Nelson’s Gold, fresh apple juice and cinnamon syrup, shaken and served in a chilled martini glass and garnished with apple.

Matt Brown, co-founder of Wild Knight Vodka said: “We were really pleased to launch Nelson’s Gold at the Maids Head. The hotel was our first customer last year, when we produced our Wild Knight Vodka and it was great to come back today with our new spirit drink to a historic bar, with links to Horatio Nelson.”

Friday, 17 March 2017

Fairhaven Garden – Great Broadland Breakfast – English Tourism Week

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden at South Walsham in the Norfolk Broads is marking English Tourism Week from Saturday, March 25 to Sunday, April 2, 2017 with the Great Broadland Breakfast, celebrating a cooked start to the day with the best of local produce.

Breakfast is served in the tearoom from 9.15am until 12noon, giving visitors the chance to enjoy their meal before exploring the garden, which opens at 10am.

Norfolk and Suffolk businesses supplying breakfast produce are New Oven Bakery, Great Yarmouth, bread and croissants; Green Farm Coffee Rackheath, tea and coffee and Broadland Hams, bacon. Eggs come form Hoxne in Suffolk and mushrooms from Capel St Mary (also Suffolk). Fairhaven supplies it own tomatoes, in season, from the garden’s vegetable patch.

Louise Rout, Manager, Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden said: “The garden has always been managed sustainably using organic principles and traditional Broads practices. Our green ethos also features strongly in what we offer for visitors and we always use local suppliers whenever possible. Our local breakfast is proving popular and we look forward to welcoming visitors during English Tourism Week to celebrate our Great Broadland Breakfast.”          

Fairhaven Garden Breakfast

Breakfast Menu
Great Broadland Breakfast, £5.70: mushrooms, bacon, fried egg, tomatoes, baked beans and toast.
Muffin Breakfast, £4.25: buttered muffin with bacon and fried egg.
Scrambled egg on toast, £3.95.

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is at South Walsham, nine miles east of Norwich, signposted off A47 at B1140 junction, t. 01603 270449,
The garden is open daily all year 10am to 5pm (closed Christmas Day and closes 4pm during the winter), also open Wednesdays until 9pm from May to the end of August.  Garden entry is adult £6.75, concessions £6.15, child £3.85 (under 5 free). Free entry to tearoom, gift shop and plant sales.

There is wheelchair access throughout the garden, including a Sensory Garden and boat trips (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, 28 February 2017

Italian Students Take Pancake Challenge at Maids Head Hotel Norwich

Maids Head Hotel Pancake Challenge - 28 February 2017
Students from Istituto Tecnico per il Turismo G.Mazzotti, Treviso in northern Italy, took part in a pancake challenge at the Maids Head Hotel, in Norwich, to mark  Shrove Tuesday 2017.

The Italian students were victorious in a timed pancake making competition, against a team comprising staff from the Maids Head, The English Experience and Liftshare.

Linzi Rawson, Sales Manager, Maids Head Hotel explained: “The English Experience asked if we would host the group of 40 Italian students and take them on a tour of the hotel. As it was Shrove Tuesday, we decided to also introduce them to our pancake tradition. Head Chef, ‘Magic’ Marcin Pomierny gave a pancake making demonstration, then two teams made as many pancakes as they could in 10 minutes, with the Italian students coming out on top. We were really pleased to work with The English Experience on this visit, along with Liftshare, who are also hosting the students.”

The Italians, whose school focuses on languages and vocational training for careers in the tourism industry, are in Norwich for a fortnight studying with The English Experience.

Cristina Pastrello, English teacher with the students from Treviso said: “We do not have pancakes in Italy on Shrove Tuesday, so today was an excellent way to open the students to British culture at first hand. It is my first visit to Norwich. I am enjoying my stay here. Norwich has retained its character much better than other British towns, especially the local shops.”  

Iris De Longhi, one of the students who took part in the pancake challenge said: “I really enjoyed learning about and cooking pancakes, and also tasting the Head Chef’s pancakes, which were very good.”

Carol Syder, Director, The English Experience added: “We have been working with the tourism school from Treviso for 15 years. Industry visits in Norwich, like this one to the Maids Head and to Liftshare, are becoming more and more popular and valuable as the students develop their vocational skills.”

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Maids Head Hotel Norwich Retains Top Platinum Grading at Loo of the Year Awards

 Mandy Ames and Erwin Mullari with the Maids Head's Loo of the Year certificates 
The Maids Head Hotel in Norwich has retained top platinum grading for its public toilets in the annual Loo of the Year Awards, along with a special Attendant of the Year Award for cleanliness.

The Loo of the Year Awards have been identifying the best in Britain since 1987, and are recognised as standard setters for all those who provide ‘away from home’ facilities for staff, customers and visitors.

During 2015, the hotel invested £140,000 in fully refurbishing all public toilets, including the addition of an accessible toilet near the Wine Press Restaurant and new gents’ toilets close to the Minstrel Suite, the main function room. The completed refurbishment reflects the heritage of the hotel with a contemporary twist.

The Maids Head received an unannounced visit from a Loo of the Year Awards inspector and was assessed against 100 judging criteria including signage, décor, fixtures and fittings and overall standards of cleanliness and management.

Christine Malcolm, General Manager, Maids Head Hotel said: “We are very proud of to have retained our platinum status in the Loo of the Year Awards. This is excellent recognition for our housekeeping team, led by Mandy Ames. Erwin Mullari has overall responsibility for keeping the toilets looking at their best, and the Attendant of the Year Award is well deserved for all his hard work.”

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

Monday, 6 February 2017

Star Night at Fairhaven Garden, Norfolk Broads

The Milky Way above Happisburgh Lighthouse, Norfolk: Shaun Reynolds
It’s Star Night at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, at South Walsham in the Norfolk Broads, on Saturday, February 18, 2017, from 7pm.  Telescopes will be set up for viewing the night sky. The evening is being run in partnership with Norwich Astronomical Society.

Do bring your own telescope and wrap up warm, but no torches as they destroy night vision. The evening also includes an illustrated talk from Shaun Reynolds ‘In search of the Milky Way’, a guide to where, when and how to look for the majestic Milky Way, together with photographing it around Norfolk, Suffolk and the UK's incredible coast.

Star Night entry is £3.50 adult, £2 child. Hot snacks, teas and coffees served in the tearoom from 7pm.

Also at half term Fairhaven is running family activities in the garden: Signs of Spring Week and Design a Den Week. Both are from Saturday 11 to Sunday 19 February, 10am to 4pm daily, and are included in the entry charge: adult £6.50, concessions £5.90, children £3.75 (under 5 free).

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

The garden is open daily all year 10am to 5pm (closed Christmas Day and closes 4pm during the winter), also open Wednesdays until 9pm from May 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 boat trips (April to October, additional charge). Visitors requiring special facilities are advised to telephone in advance, mobility scooters available.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Norwich School Students Publish Fine City Colouring Guide

L to R: Melissa Thomas, Reservations Co-ordinator Maids Head Hotel, Tom Osborn Managing Director Inceptum Norwich holding his grandfather's painting Winter Sports in Norwich and Victoria Hood, Deputy Head of Sixth Form Norwich School.
Inceptum Norwich, a business formed by a group of year 12 students at Norwich School, who are taking part in this year's Young Enterprise Programme’s company scheme, have produced and published, Norwich: A colouring guide for a fine city, featuring 15 historic buildings and locations throughout the city (price £5.99).

The Maids Head Hotel in Tombland, one of the buildings in the colouring guide, is selling the booklet at hotel reception. Guests on the Maids Head’s Historic Norwich package receive a copy in their room. The hotel has also combined with Inceptum Norwich to offer dinner for two for the best coloured-in booklet. Completed guides should be handed-in at hotel reception by February 28.

Some of the other historic buildings featured are Augustine Steward's House, Norwich Castle, both Cathedrals and The Great Hospital. The booklet includes a map/trail guide and information about each building and location. There are line drawings of the buildings for colouring in, plus colour photographs as a guide.

The booklet’s cover is a painting of Winter Sports in Norwich, by the late Frank Ashworth, grandfather of Tom Osborn, Managing Director of Norwich Inceptum.

Tom Osborn said: “The objectives of the booklet are to encourage all ages to learn about Norwich, get active and follow the trail, and also experience the de-stressing aspects of colouring. We would like to thank the Maids Head for their support and Irina Vakh from HSBC who has been our business mentor.”

Inceptum Norwich team at the Maids Head Hotel, centre l to r: Melissa Thomas, Reservations Co-ordinator Maids Head Hotel, Toby Barber Company Secretary Inceptum Norwich, Tom Osborn Manging Director Inceptum Norwich and Linzi Rawson, Sales Manager Maids Head Hotel.  
Linzi Rawson, Sales Manager, Maids Head Hotel said: “We are really pleased to help Tom and his colleagues with their Young Enterprise project. The colouring guide is an excellent way to encourage people to get out and about and discover Norwich’s heritage. We are looking forward to receiving lots of completed booklets for our competition.”

Victoria Hood, Deputy Head of Sixth Form Norwich School and link teacher for Inceptum Norwich added: “The students have been a delightful group to work with and very professional the whole way through. I have been very impressed with the team work and the final product.”

Norwich: A colouring guide for a fine city is also on sale at Jarrold Norwich.  

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

Monday, 30 January 2017

Raveningham Gardens Snowdrop Season Norfolk

Raveningham Gardens in Norfolk opens for the 2017 snowdrop season from Wednesday, February 1 to Tuesday, February 28 (closed all Saturdays). See drifts of snowdrops in the main garden from 11am to 4pm (dusk if earlier). Proceeds from Sundays, February 12 and February 19 go to Priscilla Bacon Lodge Hospice in Norwich.

Richard Hobbs, one of the gardening experts on BBC Radio Norfolk's Garden Party and Raveningham’s garden consultant, will lead snowdrop tours in the garden on Sunday, February 12 at 11.30am and 2pm and will talk about the different varieties planted by Priscilla Bacon. Tours start from the tearoom courtyard and are included in the garden entry charge.

Garden entry is adult £5, concessions £4.50 and children under 16 free. The tearoom will be open serving soup, light refreshments, home made cakes and drinks.

Raveningham Hall is the home of Sir Nicholas and Lady Bacon. It was Sir Nicholas’ mother, Priscilla Bacon, who added snowdrops to the garden.

The 18th century Walled Kitchen Garden with its large glasshouses will be open and visitors will also be able to enjoy views across the new lake established at the turn of the Millennium and the contemporary sculpture in the gardens.

Raveningham Gardens (NR14 6NS) is 10 miles south east of Norwich, signposted off the A146 at Hales, then B1136, t. 01508 548480,

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Cecil Gowing Infant School Marie Curie Daffodil Bulb Planting at Maids Head Hotel

Evie Victoria, Jamie and Emily
Twelve children, aged four to seven, from Cecil Gowing Infant School in Norwich, planted 24 daffodil bulbs at the Maids Head Hotel on Tuesday, January 17 to help raise money for Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal. The children also decorated pots and then planted their own daffodil bulb to take home.

The Maids Head is inviting people to sponsor a daffodil bulb for £15, with the money going to Marie Curie. To aid identification each child also added name sticks next to their bulbs.

The person who sponsors the first daffodil to bloom will win an evening for two in the hotel’s Wine Press restaurant, enjoying the new seven-course Inspiration Menu. There will also be a prize for the child who planted the daffodil.

Marie Curie in Norfolk is the Maids Head’s charity for 2017. To sponsor a daffodil bulb, t. 01603 272008 or email

Jemima and Seth
Eloise Moore, teacher at Cecil Gowing Infant School said: “All the children take part in outdoor learning once a week in mixed age groups, either at the school or out in the community. We were really pleased to return to the Maids Head, after working with the hotel on our wedding event last year. The children learn about different charities, so this has been an excellent opportunity to introduce them to Marie Curie and also for them to visit a city hotel.”

Hugo Stevenson, Community Fundraiser Marie Curie Norfolk said: “Marie Curie is delighted that the Maids Head has chosen to support us as their charity of the year in 2017. It was lovely that some of the children from Cecil Gowing Infant School were at the hotel today planting daffodils. It is very good that young children are involved in fundraising and learning that it is fun, as they are the fundraisers of the future. Together we can build a better community in Norfolk.”

Daisy with Linzi Rawson, Sales Manager Maids Head Hotel
Linzi Rawson, Sales Manager, Maids Head Hotel said: “We really enjoyed welcoming back the children and teachers from Cecil Gowing Infant School, as they helped us launch our fundraising year. We will be keeping a close eye on the daffodil bulbs as they grow in the planters in our courtyard. There will be several events in aid of Marie Curie during the course of 2017 and individual members of staff will also be organising their own fundraising projects.”

For more information about the Maids Head Hotel see and Marie Curie see .

Monday, 16 January 2017

Sandra Derry Art Exhibition at Fairhaven Garden Norfolk Broads

Great Trees by Sandra Derry
Sandra Derry presents her first solo exhibition at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, in the Norfolk Broads, from Tuesday 31 January to Sunday, 5 February, 2017, open 10am to 4pm, with free entry to the exhibition. Sandra is a Norfolk artist who paints rural scenes. She will be in residence throughout the exhibition run and will be working on new paintings.

Tractors, old and new, are painted in watercolour and acrylic from pictures taken while driving around the countryside. Trees are captured in their natural state and show their form and changing colours throughout the year. Some of her work features Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden. Her cards and prints will be available at the exhibition, along with her first children’s story book Curly Sheep’s Bad Hair Day.

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

The garden is open daily all year 10am to 5pm (closed Christmas Day and closes 4pm during the winter), also open Wednesdays until 9pm from May to the end of August.  Garden entry is adults £6.50, concessions £5.90 and children £3.75 (under 5 free). Free entry to tearoom, gift shop and plant sales.

There is wheelchair access throughout the garden, including a Sensory Garden and boat trips (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.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Norwich Cathedral Hostry – David Holgate Retrospective – Exuberance is Beauty

Norfolk Contemporary Art Society, Norfolk Contemporary Craft Society and Norwich Twenty Group are combining to stage an exhibition at The Hostry, Norwich Cathedral, from January 21 to February 26, celebrating the life of David Holgate. David, who died in 2014, was an active member of all three arts organisations. The Hostry is open Monday to Saturday 9.30am to 4.30pm and Sunday 12noon to 3pm.

The title of the show, Exuberance is Beauty, is taken from one of David’s exquisite pieces of letter carving. David was a man for whom the term polymath could have been invented. An accomplished musician, sculptor, calligrapher, and an innovative teacher, his life and work seemed to be united in a brave and inexhaustible search for meaning and beauty in everything he did. 

David Holgate - photograph Keith Roberts
He is probably best known for the statues of Mother Julian and St Benedict on the west front of Norwich Cathedral, but this remarkable man’s work is spread throughout the Cathedral, the rest of the county and beyond. Numerous churches, cemeteries and buildings feature his letter carving. He was also a skilled artist and several pieces of his work will be displayed in the exhibition, along with his letter carving, sculpture and working drawings. David’s double bass will also be on show, as well as a collection of photographs and other memorabilia from his musical life.

St Benedict - sculpture David Holgate - photograph Julia Cameron
The exhibition pamphlet features a trail round Norwich Cathedral to help visitors discover the 25 examples of David’s work in the Cathedral, along with a memorial inscription to David, created by his apprentice and assistant, Philippa Fawcett.

Norwich Cathedral - works by David Holgate
In conjunction with Exuberance is Beauty, the David Holgate retrospective exhibition at The Hostry, Norwich Cathedral, two apprentices from the Guild of St Stephen & St George will be demonstrating work in their portable lodge, based in the Cloisters, from Monday, February 6 to Saturday, February 11. The apprentices will be carving bosses from 9.30am to 4pm daily. For more information about The Guild of St Stephen & St George see .

From 1955, David was apprenticed for five years to David Kindersley, followed by two years as his assistant. David loved jazz and left stone carving to pursue a career as a professional musician, playing his double bass with numerous bands, including a support band for the Beach Boys. David eventually set up a workshop in Norfolk in the 1970s. 

Katy Gandon, David Holgate’s daughter commented: “Norwich - a fine city, and for thousands of years has been made finer by those who have lived and worked here, giving their time and energy to the upkeep and preservation of its historical beauty.  David Holgate was one of these. A man who, although not actually born in the city, adopted it as his home and devoted his life to the historical buildings and churches of the city and the surrounding villages. “

“It is for this reason that it is important that David's work has been documented and presented in this retrospective, showcasing what a significant contributor he was to the preservation and future of this beautiful county.”

“As well as working on commissions, David taught for many years in local art colleges, worked with several, (now very accomplished) apprentices, as well as keeping up a successful musical career as a bass player. There isn't a pub or live music venue in the county that hasn't experienced the David Holgate 'bass wiggle' at some point over the years!”

“This retrospective is a celebration of an extremely talented man, who always had time to share his enthusiasm for the all arts with people from all walks of life, and has literally and metaphorically left his mark on this city and county. His exuberance was, and is beautiful.”

Philippa Fawcett, David Holgate’s last apprentice added: “I am very lucky to have worked with David on and off for ten years, first as apprentice and then as his assistant. He was a very gifted and inspirational teacher, a brilliant communicator and very good company. He was a great talker and there were a lot of very extended coffee breaks. Life in the workshop is now extremely quiet and I still miss him greatly, though sometimes I still hear his voice in my ear commenting on the job in hand.”

David Holgate at work
Gary Breeze, who worked with David from 1988-92 said: “David Holgate gave my life both purpose and direction at that time when I really needed it. In fact, as I’ve got older and my time with him drifts into the distant past, I think that teaching was really his greatest talent. It’s easy to think, when you look at his very idiosyncratic lettering, that he must have had strong opinions about the shape of letterforms. But the fact is that his shapes are deeply informed by the process of using a brush built upon a rigorous understanding of proportion, principles which are both flexible and infinitely adaptable.”

Derek Rae, a Norwich Twenty Group colleague added: “David was the Group’s Chairman from 2008 – 2009. Ever inventive, he initiated our licentiate scheme whereby four graduates from, what is now, the Norwich University of the Arts are invited to become members of the Group and to show their work at meetings and exhibitions at no cost to them. This scheme has given graduates an opportunity to access the outside art world sooner than they might otherwise been able to. It has also given existing members the opportunity to understand younger artists approach to their work.”

“Another inspiration of his was an exhibition entitled Voicing Visions in which 46 Norwich Twenty Group artists were paired with poets. As David himself put it, ‘It was a surprise to some members to find that the first two meetings of 2009 were invaded by poets who were invited to visit member’s studios, view their work and be inspired to write a poem or two’. The artwork and resultant poems were exhibited together and the queue to get into the private view at St Margaret’s church spread out into St Benedict’s.”     

John Barnard, a Norfolk Contemporary Crafts Society colleague, remembers David Holgate: “David introduced me to many things: early computers, which fascinated him with what they could do, jazz bass playing, lettering and artwork, which started with pencil from his Kindersley days, then pen, until he became convinced that this medium was constricting his creativity and found brushwork lettering from the Romans. He reminisced about the four lives he had crammed into one. He ruthlessly pursued his current ideas of perfection. His carving  on Norwich Cathedral and St Giles church, whimsical animals on headstones, florid, wreathing flowers from his florid, wreathing imagination!  We are filling the Hostry with memories of our very own Renaissance man – a lifetime of magnificent work.”

Norwich Cathedral, t. 01603 218300. 

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden - January Art Exhibitions

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden in the Norfolk Broads is hosting a series of three art exhibitions in January. South Walsham Art Club kicks off the programme from 10 to 15 January. Following the Art Club are Ann Feavers and Roger Burnay, from 17 to 22 January and Elizabeth Reed, from 24 to 29 January. The exhibitions are open from 10am to 4pm and entry is free.

South Walsham Art Club
South Walsham Art Club 
Tuesday 10 to Sunday 15 January
The Way We See It! – an exhibition of paintings by members of the art class that meets weekly in St Lawrence's, South Walsham, led by Nicky Arrowsmith-Brown, featuring an excellent collection of subjects and painting styles.

Eagle Owl - Roger Burnay
Ann Feavers and Roger Burnay 
Tuesday 17 to Sunday 22 January
Ann will be showing her range of Victorian painting on glass pictures and explaining how they are produced. She will also exhibit a small selection of her abstract work. Roger, an animal and wildlife painter, working in oils, pastels and coloured pencils will be demonstrating his work. He will also have prints and cards for sale.

Cornflowers - Elizabeth Reed

Elizabeth Reed
Tuesday 24 to Sunday 29 January
Elizabeth is proud to present her third solo exhibition at Fairhaven. As a keen gardener and country lover she will be displaying original paintings depicting landscapes and floral subjects, together with prints, cards and craft items. Visitors to the gallery will be welcomed by Elizabeth and will be able to see some new work in progress.

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is at South Walsham, nine miles east of Norwich, signposted off A47 at B1140 junction, t. 01603 270449,,
The garden is open daily all year 10am to 5pm (closed Christmas Day and closes 4pm during the winter), also open Wednesdays until 9pm from May to the end of August.  Garden entry is adults £6.50, concessions £5.90 and children £3.75 (under 5 free). Free entry to tearoom, gift shop and plant sales.

There is wheelchair access throughout the garden, including a Sensory Garden and boat trips (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.