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Archive News September 2014

Below are some of the stories featured on this site in September 2014

Building Work Starts on Water Tower Site

Work has begun on nearly 160 homes in Hethersett on what is known as the Water Tower Site - with a long-awaited footpath along a dangerous stretch of road also given the green light. To read more on this story from the Norwich Evening News click here


New Homes Prompt Nursery Growth

Hethersett Old Hall School is expanding its nursery facilities in light of future village development. You can read about this story from the Wymondham Mercury newspaper by clicking here and view a cutting from the paper by clicking here.



"Gunshots" were Nothing More Than Fireworks

Police have confirmed that gun shots in Hethersett on September 14th were nothing more sinister than fireworks. To read about this story from the local Media click here. Also visit our cuttings section.


Delayed Fete is a Success

Hethersett Old Hall School showed how perseverance will get you there in the end after putting on its annual fete four months later than planned. And the day was made extra special thanks to a visit from Norwich City player Jonny Howson. To read about this from the Wymondham Mercury click here.


The Day Ian Paisley Visited Hethersett


Irish political firebrand the Rev Ian Paisley who has died showed his softer side when he visited Hethersett in May 2011 to preach at Hethersett Baptist Church. Re-visit the cutting of this event from the Wymondham Mercury by clicking here.

Challenge for Youngsters


Youngsters celebrate completing the summer reading scheme with Community Librarian Helena Last on the left and on the right is organiser Caroline Mitchell (far left) with her young helpers.

WELL over 200 youngsters proved up for the challenge at Hethersett Library over the summer. A total of 239 children of all ages joined this year’s Summer Reading Challenge Mythical Maze. Their challenge was to read six books and visit the library at least three times over the holiday period. To reward them on their journey they collected smelly stickers and Mungler cards (similar to Top Trumps). There was also a treasure hunt around the village and a variety of activity sheets in the library. Those taking part were also encouraged to write a review of their favourite book. During the holidays the library held three craft events based around the Mythical Maze theme and this has resulted in a magnificent dragon now on display in the teenage area. All three events were well supported with over 20 children at each. “We had five brilliant volunteers helping us with the challenge - Hethersett Academy students Charley Tedds, Matthew Pugh and Matt Segon, and also mother and daughter Louise and Willow Farrell,” said organiser Caroline Mitchell. A total of 120 children completed the challenge, 30 of whom attended a medal and certificate ceremony. Parents and children applauded as all 30 were presented with their medals and certificates by Community Librarian Helena Last. The winner of the Treasure Hunt was Ellis Jones who won a small prize for his efforts.

Duncan and Rita Retire


Rita Berchem watches on as Duncan Pigg cuts the retirement cake. On the right Duncan and Rita with the choir. Click on the photos to enlarge them

TWO of the best known faces at Hethersett Parish Church are retiring after serving the local Christian community for over 64 years between them. Tributes were paid to choirmaster Duncan Pigg and organist Rita Berchem at two special services held before the church shut down for over two months for emergency repairs to the roof. Evensong on August 24th concluded with refreshments and a special cake for the pair which included the words from a well known Abba song “Thank You For the Music.” The following Sunday (August 31st) more tributes were paid at a United Benefice Family Communion Service when the congregation was augmented by friends from churches in Little and Great Melton. Duncan Pigg is a well known and loved figure in Hethersett through his connection with Hethersett and Tas Valley Cricket Club, of which he is currently president, and the village pantomime group which saw him write and produce the first 40 shows from 1970 until 2009. He was awarded the British Empire medal in the 2013 New Year’s Honours to mark over 60 years of service to the local community. He has been choirmaster of St Remigius Parish Church for 39 years. Rita Berchem is retiring after over 25 years as organist at the church and the parochial church council are currently looking for a replacement. Rita came to the church after being trained at the Royal Academy of Music. Both Rita and Duncan are now well into their 80s. “I feel that it is time for somebody else to take over, but I have to say I will miss being organist,” Rita Berchem said. “I would like to thank everyone for their support during my time as choirmaster. The choir includes so many good musicians that I wonder how they have put up with me for so long. I have always had their support and also the support of the congregation. Church choirs have been a huge part of my life since I was a boy,” Duncan Pigg said, adding that he now hoped to continue as “an ordinary member of the choir.” At the United Benefice Service fulsome tributes were paid to both. Speaking on behalf of the choir, Douglas Beattie said: “For over 25 years Rita has diligently prepared music which has been technically brilliant. A quarter of a century of service to the church is remarkable and we would like to put on record our sincere appreciation. Both Rita and Duncan have become part of the history of our church.” In addition to momentoes and presents from the choir, Rita Berchem was presented with a loyal service medal from the Royal School of Church Music and the choir performed a special setting of John Rutter’s “A Clare Benediction” for Duncan, under the guidance of choir member Rachel Mallett. During the repairs to St Remigius, the 8 a.m Sunday service will take place at the Church Hall in Henstead Road and the 10.30 a.m service will be held in Hethersett Junior School.

Tom's Stunning Knock Helps Win Promotion for Cricketers

Tom Osborn (left) who hit an unbeaten 173 and above some of the promotion winning Hethersett and Tas Valley Third Team

A 10 run victory for Hethersett and Tas Valley Thirds over Lowestoft B prompted a promotion party at Flordon on Saturday. The 24 point haul ensured runners-up spot in Division Five of the Norfolk League in a high scoring match that saw Valley opener and former youth team player Tom Osborn hit a magnificent unbeaten 173 which included 17 fours and ten sixes and earned praise from his skipper Dale Clarke: “Tom’s innings was the most complete performance I have seen in my nine years at the club. This was the best match of the season and a great way to gain promotion from Division Five,” he said. A run filled match concluded in the gathering gloom as the light faded fast. Valley’s total of 261-4 looked to be unassailable, but Lowestoft had other ideas and the match was in the balance until the last few overs when solid bowling restricted the visitors to a reply of 251-6, giving Valley a slender 10 run victory. The win saw them finish 27 points clear of third placed Frettenham who suffered a final day reversal at the hands of runaway champions Gillingham. Ross Jones hit 38 for Hethersett and youngster Sam Morton took 2-57 in Lowestoft’s reply. There has been much to celebrate for Valley this season. In addition to the third team’s promotion, a number of former youth team players have been pushing through the ranks with a number playing games for both the seconds and firsts. The wealth of junior talent should ensure a bright future for the club. For the record the first team finished fifth in Norfolk Alliance Division Two and the second team finished fourth in Norfolk Alliance Division Five.

Groups Featured in Open Day


Over 20 organisations were represented at a special societies’ day in Hethersett Village Hall. The event was organised by Hethersett South Norfolk Councillor Leslie Dale with financial support from the council. Afterwards Mr Dale pronounced the event a success and hopes to make it a biennial event with the next taking place in 2016. Hobbies, charities, sports and support groups were all featured. Groups taking part included Hethersett Parish Council, Hethersett Aspiring Artists, Hethersett Archive, Norfolk Winemakers Guild, Hethersett Horticultural Society, Norfolk Libraries Service, MacMillan Cancer Support, Hethersett Environmental Action Team, Hethersett Singers, Wymondham Talking Newspaper for the Blind, Hethersett Bridge Club, Respect Yourself, Rheumatoid Arthritis in Norfolk Group, Hethersett Methodist Church, Humbleyard Hoofers Walking Group, Hethersett WI, Wymondham Probus Club, Hethersett Pensioners Association, Hethersett Society, the Norfolk Dolls House and Miniatures Club, Norfolk Winemakers Guild and Hethersett Jubilee Youth Club. Refreshments were provided by members of Hethersett Women’s Institute. The event was organised in conjunction with Hethersett Parish Council and Hethersett Village Hall Management Committee. A steady flow of people attended during the four hour session. “Personal experience on arrival in Hethersett in 2002 suggested that identifying organisations to attend or join, is not easy. However in 2007 we found the Societies Day organised by Hethersett Parish most helpful, but there has been no comparable event held since. “In this, the first year of South Norfolk Councillors being allowed £1000 per year of grant monies, I determined to use £100 of this money in hiring the Hethersett Village Hall to hold an exposition of our local organisations,” Mr Dale said.

Recruitment Drive By Singers

Hethersett Singers are looking for new voices as they prepare for their annual Christmas Concert. The group, which has been in existence for 53 years could be in danger of folding without an infusion of new blood. Rehearsals for the next concert begin on September 17th at 8 p.m in Hethersett Academy (formerly Hethersett High School) but there are concerns for the future of the group. “In the halcyon days of the group there were over 50 members. Currently we have about 25 but we desperately need over 30. It would be heartbreaking to have to call it a day when we have such a rich heritage,” said one of the group’s leaders Margaret Hobday. The group also needs more support from the public for its concerts: “We held an excellent concert in May in St Remigius Church when the choir was in good voice and we had two excellent soloists and organist. For various reasons the audience, although select, was small. Consequently we made a loss on the concert and more support is needed from local people if we are to continue and flourish. We need more people to join the choir and sing and more people to pay to hear them,” Mrs Hobday added. The choir meets on Wednesday evenings and feature both choral and secular music and is looking for all voice ranges for the Christmas concert which will be in St Remigius Church on December 12th and which will feature a wide range of seasonal music from songs and carols to works by Edward Elgar and Paul Carr. “We are a friendly group and previous experience is not essential. Hethersett is rapidly expanding, so there must be people who would like to join us,” Mrs Hobday added. Anyone interested in joining or who would like to receive more information can contact Margaret Hobday on 01603 810449 or e-mail her by clicking here. Our photograph shows Margaret and John Hobday at the village Societies' Day. 

Were You Miss Hethersett 1959?

The hunt is on in Hethersett to find a beauty queen from the past. Village archivist Gary Wyatt (pictured above) has been given a poster advertising a “Grand Fete and Horticultural Show” held at Hethersett Hall on July 11th, 1959. Amongst the attractions was a beauty competition to find Miss Hethersett of 1959. “The poster is just one of the fascinating items from the past that has been donated to the archives. It would be lovely to find out who won the contest and whether they are still living locally. The minimum age for entry was 15 so it is likely that the winner will now be in their early or mid 70s,” Mr Wyatt said. Other attractions at the event included produce displays, a children’s cycle parade and dancing on the lawn. The event was held at Hethersett Hall when it was owned by the Back family and before it became a residential care home. The poster has been added to over 5,000 items now kept in the village archive. Mr Wyatt will be giving an illustrated talk at Hethersett Library on October 16th from 6 until 7 p.m entitled “Racecourses, Railways and Road Names.” Entry will be free. 

Re-Wilding Project

A Hethersett environmentalist is hoping to educate local people on how to make their gardens more wildlife friendly. Andy Panes (pictured above), who is a member of the Hethersett Environmental Action Team (HEAT), has drawn up guidelines for a re-wilding project for encouraging wild flowers and “friendly” wildlife into gardens. “As we get more development in Hethersett it becomes more and more important to make existing gardens more wildlife friendly,” he said. So Andy has set out to help local residents encourage wildflowers, bees, hedgehogs, birds, bats and insects. “If people contact me I am happy to visit them and give advice on how to develop wildlife friendly gardens, how to increase the density of wild flowers, how to improve their supply of pollen rich plants, how to encourage hedgehogs, how to set up insect houses to help in the winter and how to provide bird and bat boxes and also how to get the best out of a garden pond,” he added. He has already had almost 40 enquiries and can be contacted on 01603 814818. Meanwhile the HEAT group’s next village litter picks will take place on September 27th and November 15th, both starting at 10 a.m from Hethersett Methodist Church’s car park. The group will also be organising another village open gardens event on June 28th next year.

Dementia Play - An award winning play tackling the subject of dementia is on its way to Hethersett. An Evening with Dementia is written and performed by Trevor T Smith and has been a hit performing to sell out crowds at the Fringe Festival in 2010 and 2012. It was described by the British Theatre Guide as “One of the most essential pieces of theatre to come out of the Fringe” and portrays an aging actor living in a care home who “accepts” rather than “suffers” from dementia. An Evening with Dementia plays Hethersett Village Hall on September 27th at 3 p.m. Tickets are £10 and available on either 01603 814343 or 01603 813041.

Elizabeth's Special Dress for a Special PromHethersett's world renowned soprano Elizabeth Watts will be wearing a fashion dress by Dame Vivienne Westwood for her performance at the Last Night of the Proms. Afterwards the dress will be auctioned for charity. You can read the full story by viewing a cutting from the Eastern Daily Press newspaper by clicking here.

Village Road Closures - Work is due to begin on Friday 5th September to carry out major carriageway reconstruction works at Burnthouse Lane, Hethersett. The site will extend from Colney Lane through to Little Melton Road and will include both junctions including the Back Lane junction. The work will take two weekends to complete. During the reconstruction it will be necessary to close Burnthouse Lane, Back Lane and Colney Lane junction on 6th and 7th September. It will then be necessary to close Burnthouse Lane and the Little Melton Road junction on 13th and 14th September. Fully signed diversions will be in place for each road on each weekend. All roads will be open Monday to Friday 8th to 12th September. Access to any properties within the works limits will be possible. Norfolk County Council has apologised for any inconvenience this may cause. The work, which will cost £122,000, will be carried out by Norfolk County Council’s Environment, Transport and Development Department and their contractors.

It's A Racket - You are never too young to learn a new skill or sport and a new tennis initiative being piloted in Hethersett is aimed a youngsters aged from two to four. It’s A Racket is a new tennis tots initiative which could be rolled out over a wider area if successful in Hethersett. The scheme is being organised by Easton and Otley College in conjunction with a local tennis coaching agency. “Tennis has developed into a sport that is started early, like gymnastics and swimming. This new initiative aims to take tennis to local venues for children pre-school age. The fundamentals of tennis are co-ordination, movement and balance; these attributes all lend themselves to a child’s development, but of course ensuring the children are having fun at the same time,” said Matt Breese, Sports and Tennis Manager at Easton and Ottley College. Adapted equipment sees the very young children able to have a go at the very basic fundamentals of sport with the co-ordination of an experienced tennis coach. “Once a child reaches four years of age and has proven to show some sound potential, they will be invited into the talent programme at the Easton Tennis Centre. The centre is a fantastic state of the art indoor tennis facility offering a huge coaching programme for all ages and abilities. The Tennis Talent Programme at Easton and Otley College already has dozens of children aged five and above who attend weekly talent sessions, “Matt Breese added. This first It’s a Racket session kicks off on Friday 12th September from 10 to 10.45am at Hethersett Village Hall. Places can be booked and more information is available via e-mail at