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News - January to March 2001

Another Pantomime Success

Another year, another pantomime. Each as good as the last.

This year's offering at the Village Hall was Robin Hood and once again writer and producer Duncan Pigg came up with an original plot to surround the age old legend.

This was the Hethersett Pantomime Group's 32nd production and the fifth in the new village hall and ran from Saturday 13th January to Saturday 20th January.

The whole company deserves praise but particular mention should go to Colin Wilson for his wonderfully original scenery which seems to become more dramatic with each passing year. Profits from this year's event were for the East Anglian Air Ambulance Appeal and other charities and full houses at every performance ensured that the group exceeds the 30,000 mark in the money raised since it started. A total of 2,000 went to the main recipients and there were also donations of 100 to Hethersett Methodist Church, St Remigius Parish Church, Wymondham Catholic Church and Hethersett Youth Club.

The principal parts this year were played by June Harrison (Robin Hood), Bonnie Wood (Maid Marion), Mike Hallam (Sheriff of Nottingham), John Freeman (Prince John), Neville Greenhalgh (Polly), Barry Foster (Friar Tuck) and Lloyd Parfitt (Little John).

The production was directed by Sarah Wright with the music directed by Tony Press

Nick's Oz Dream

Nick Bedson

Norwich businessman John Farley has kept the world championship dreams of a Hethersett youngster alive.

John, who is managing director of Norwich civil engineers, Dunnella, will be sponsoring 17-year-old cycle speedway ace Nick Bedson to meet the costs of a Great Britain Under-21 tour to Australia.

The month long trip will include the World Under-18s Cycle Speedway championships in Adelaide.

"I'm very grateful to John and Dunnella. This will enable me to get more equipment for the trip and could make all the difference," said a delighted Nick.

The tour will also include a five match international series against Australia when Nick is likely to make his debut at that level.

"We're just delighted to be able to help fulfil a young man's dream. Racing for the world title in Australia is an opportunity of a lifetime," said John.


In the February Good News parish newsletter the Rector, the Rev Di Lammas, talks of the throwaway society.

"We live in a throwaway society and relationships seem to be looked upon in the same way as last year's fashions or the furniture that we have grown tired of," she says.

Rev Lammas questions how long some of the couples she marries will stay together in contrast to many wartime marriages where couples are now celebrating their diamond (60th) anniversary.

She pays tribute to The Rev Dan Shakespeare and his wife May who will be celebrating their diamond wedding on 25th February and who will be renewing their vows in the parish church. Other couples are being asked to join them.

A Sign of the Times

A decision is to be taken as to whether the carved wooden Steepletower sign on Churchfields should be repaired or taken down. One of the carved figures and the wood and brick plinth need reapir and restoration work, but it has been suggested that the Steepletower name is divisive and residents prefer to be considered part of the village and that the sign should be taken down. The parish council is asking for comments before referring the matter to the district council. The Steepletower development is opposite the parish church.

Subsequent to the above, the parish council has asked the district council to remove the sign.

Blooming Times Again

Such was the success of last year's Hethersett in Blook that a similar event is being organised this year. It is hoped that there will be even more entries for the floral displays and Best Kept Garden competitions.

It is also intended to continue the maintenance of areas around the village such as the village sign and Oak Square.

Environmental Strategy

Hethersett Environmental Action Group is continuing its survey of trees, ponds, open green spaces, verges, hedgerows, woodlands, conservation areas, pollution and recycling in the village. The results will be used to produce an environmental strategy for the village.

Council Spending

The parish council's expenditure budget for the year is 77,340 which will be offset by existing funds and a precept of 68,340 from South Norfolk District Council. The expenditure is as follows:









Memorial Playing Field


Contingency Fund




NYCS (Youth Worker)


Recreational equipment fund




Youth Club


New lighting


Loan Repayment


Churchyard grass


Amenity equipment


Play equipment maintenance


Bowls Club


Memorial playing field


Village grass cutting


Village hall land/car park


footpath and car park




Village Hall security measures


Environmental fund


Parish Constable


Netball Club


General Village car Park fund


Capital Expenditure


Youth Parish Council




Village Appraisal


Charitable Donations




Street lights-energy/maintenance


Middle School




Byegone Times

Village archivist Bill Reekie reports that the village archive now has 1,200 pieces including copies and original wills, conveyances, admissions and surrenders of copyhold tenure, maps, postcards, photographs, drawings, censuses, trades directories, family trees, details of schools, housing and churches.

The archive was established by the parish council and has recently attracted a lottery grant which has allowed the items to be catalogued.

Slightly more up to date the Hethersett Millennium Committee has built up a record of the year 2000 and this will be kept as part of the archive. Some of the current material can be seen on the committee's website at

A video record is also being produced. A booklet describing two millennium walks has been produced with details of walks around Hethersett showing pictures and places of particular interest. It has been produced with the help of archivist Bill Reekie and costs 1.

The booklet features two walks, each likely to take about 75 minutes. The walks are based on the historic Hethersett Enumeration Districts walked by census enumerators butcher Walter Dann and farmer Charles Lofty Robertson in April 1891.

Descriptions and pictures of buildings and other points of interest are included for both walks. The booklet is available from millennium committee member Colin Wilson on or from Hethersett Library or Hethersett post Office.

Meanwhile archivist Bill is now looking for old cinefilm or video of life in the village for the archives. Of particular interest will be Silver Jubilee or Millennium celebrations. If enough material is forthcoming, a public showing could be a possibility for the future.

Brighter Bills

The parish council has cut the cost of street lighting by replacing the majority of lights in the village with low energy sodium units. This has seen the cost drop from 444.34 per month in 1997 to 300.91 per month.

Go to Work on an Egg!

Children at Hethersett Middle School had a great start to the day when they tucked into bacon sandwiches and other specialities cooked for them by volunteers from the Norfolk branch of the Women's Food and Farming Union.

The decision to offer the 270 children a home-cooked breakfast provided a great incentive for the youngsters to get to school to take part in the Farmhouse Breakfast Week which was organised by the Home-Grown Cereals Authority and supported by the Meat and Livestock Commission and the British Egg Information Service.

Lorna Richardson was in charge of the organisation and delighted at the response: "We announced the farmhouse breakfast at assembly and almost every hand went up," said acting head Richard Carter. Some of the children returned for seconds, thirds and even fourths. Some pupils even suggested that the school should provide breakfast every day!

Teacher Angela Sweet underlined the importance to children of a good breakfast: "You can tell if children have skipped breakfast. They lack concentration and are not as bright as other children," she said.

On Song

Hethersett singer Mary Little has been supporting well known folk band Raymond Froggatt at the Regal Theatre in Stowmarket. Mary also has appearances with country artists Shaun Cuddy, Brendan Shine and jazzman Kenny Ball and is recording a new CD.

Mary plays country, pop and Irish music from the 1950s to the present day and when not performing is a psychotherapist:

"I listen to people's problems and pain in one job and then I go out singing and hopefully help people to have some fun in the other. Singing is my therapy," she said.

Parking Fines on the Cards

The owner of Oak Square in the village has threatened to introduce wheel clamping for unauthorised parking in what many people see as a car park for the village.

Oak Square is in the centre of the village next to the Methodist Church, but owner Nick Downes is threatening to close the car park in evenings and at weekends in a bid to get the parish council to contribute to resurfacing work.

Mr Downes owns most of the shops in the Oak Square area and claims that his tenants are facing a 7,000 to 8,000 bill for repairs.

Signs warning of clamping and an 80 release fee have been put in Oak Square pointing out that car parking is for use of Oak Square customers and permit parking for offices. Until now the car park has been used as a public facility with some users leaving their cars there all day and during the evenings.

Mr Downes has written on behalf of the businesses to the parish council asking for a contribution towards the cost of resurfacing. He has threatened to close the car park after 6 p.m in the evenings and from 4 p.m on Saturdays and all day Sundays.

"The square is in fact a private car park for the use of shoppers in Oak Square," Mr Downes said.

At the February meeting of the parish council Mr Downes asked for a contribution to the repair of the surface. The council have invited him to a meeting with South Norfolk District Council about car parking issues in Hethersett. Although land has been allocated on the local plan for a car park, the matter is in private hands. In the meantime the parish council has asked Mr Downes to be lenient with his clamping plans.

News Update - Mr Downes has agreed to put his plans on hold until he has met councillors to discuss the issue and the possibility of an alternative car park being provided for the village.

Bus Service Problems

Parish councillors have met bus company officials following complaints from residents about changes to the service implemented last month.

Under the thin guise of improvements, the new service has in fact caused problems for people unable to board their normal bus because the new route, which no includes Wymondham, has meant the vehicles have been full by the time they reach Hethersett.

Larger buses have been provided but this itself has posed problem for the disabled and some elderly people who cannot manage the higher steps into the vehicles.

Councillor Liz Hovey and parish clerk Diana Dring, along with four residents, met bus operations manager John Smith ahd schedules' officer Steven Royal to outline their grievances. They also pointed out that availability of timetables and notification of changes had been inadequate.

The officials accepted there had been difficulties with the new timetable and assured villagers that steps have already been taken to improve the situation. Another new timetable is expected to come into force at the beginning of March.

It is not the first time that the bus company have weakened services to the village under the guise of improvements.

Grant for Youth Parish Council

Hethersett Youth Parish Council has earned a 7,500 grant from the Millennium PACT* Award Scheme. Five members of the council went on a week-long course organised by the scheme. They learned business management skills, team building and how to use their money wisely. The council plans to use the money mainly on a new BMX/Skate park and other facilities around the Jubilee Hall.

The youngsters are being advised by the parish council to liaise with nearby residents about the plans for a skatepark and grafitti wall.

It will also spend money on developing the youth council itself, by purchasing a laptop computer to make a newsletter which will be circulated around the village to notify the public of its work and other youth orientated events.

The council is also applying to the British Youth Council to take part in visits to London to meet with the village's local MP and to take part in conferences. It is also designing its own web site.

The following members were re-elected to the youth council on 9th February - Kaye Benfield, Philip Benfield, Elena Brown, Annika Olsson, Vicky Poole, Sarah Reynolds, Matthew Steward, Alison Utting and Sam West. Two vacant places are likely to be filled by co-option.

Meanwhile the youth parish council is looking to have its own noticeboard in the village and possibly a representative on the main parish council.

* - PACT is the Partners against Crime Taskforce.

Social Get-Together for Elderly

Ninety Hethersett pensioners enjoyed a special meal at the Village Hall at the end of January, which was rounded off by entertainment. The meal was organised by Joy Bartram, Ruth Denmark and Rosemary Manley.

Another Award for Lynne

Hethersett's Lynne Symonds, who was made an honorary tribal chief in Ghana for her work there, has loanded a new international award.

The Association for Science Education has presented her with a special award in recognition of her international work. In February, Lynne was in India organising and speaking at a science and technology conference for UNESCO and the Commonwealth.

Lynne has also seen at first hand how local money is being used in northern Ghana. Schools which once were bare and empty are now full of furniture and books. Lynne is Head of Science at Hethersett Old Hall School and in 1993 set up the Wulugu Project which was named after the first school it helped. Since then she has pressed Ghanian ministers on the need for women to be educated.

Park and Ride Concern

The parish council has voiced some concerns over the proposed development of a park and ride system at nearby Cringleford. It is felt that the introduction of an extra roundabout and new road layout will add to the congestion already experienced on the B1172 interchange with the Thickthorn roundabout. This will be further worsened if the proposal to close Station Lane goes ahead. The concerns will be passed to Norfolk County Council.



The bad winter (mainly rain and now snow) has forced the postponement of a number of fixtures for all the teams under the Hethersett Athletic Football Club umbrella. Nevertheless the club is having its most successful season ever. The Senior First Team recently beat league leaders St Faiths and are now on target to win their second successive championship. The Senior A side have reached the final of the South Norfolk Players Aid Trophy where they will play Withersdale in the final. The Under-13s are also through to a cup final and the under-13s, under-14s and women's side are still in the hunt for league honours. Karl Mills from the Under-13s has joined the county School of Excellence and under-15 girls Kelly McEwen, Charlotte Boreham and Sarah Milne have been picked for the county squad.

A seven-a-side pitch has been marked out at the village hall to accommodate women and girls teams and help with the fixture congestion.

Life in Chambers

Pupils from Hethersett Middle School got down to some serious debating during a special visit to City Hall in Norwich.

Sixteen pupils, aged from nine to 12, were given free rein of the council chamber. The youngsters were all members of the newly-formed school council and were given the treat as a thank you for their hard work.

Acting deputy head Sharon Gilhooly said: "I thought it would be lovely if they could have a meeting in one of the council's huge rooms. They were very good to us and let us have the chamber and the children loved it.

"They loved using the microphones to vote and I was quite proud of them."

The school council was set-up in September and so far the youngsters have succeeded in getting the school new picnic benches and new fleeces and are now raising money for a new water fountain.

"The idea was to give them a forum to voice their opinions and show them they have a say and that what they think does matter," added Miss Gilhooly.

"Their ideas range from anything from the quality of the toilet paper to a change in school uniform."

Top of the agenda for the council chamber meeting was the charity red nose day. They decided to bake cakes, buy an extra lunch for 20p and wear red noses and designed glasses to raise funds for charity.

Each term two youngsters from each class at the school are elected to the school council. Council members go back to their classes and report back so the children can see democracy in action.

Stars in their Eyes

Students from the Hethersett based Yvonne School of Dance have performed in London.

In conjunction with Mardi Gras Promotions students appeared in the Stars in Their Eyes Show at Her Majesty's Theatre in the West End. They took to the stage along with more than 200 other young performers from around the country.

During the past year Mardi Gras has staged more than 30 shows featuring over 10,000 performers selected from over 30,000 hopefuls.

The Hethersett school performed two routines choreographed by Yvonne and Kirsty Cutting and they worked with television personality Cheryl Baker:

"It was wonderful to begin 2001 with the students performing at such a prestigious venue," said dance school principal Yvonne Cutting.

Village Appraisal

The village appraisal committee has been granted an additional 1,200 to pay for processing the appraisal forms. The response to the appraisal has been good and the extra money is needed to help complete the project. The money has been granted by the parish council.

Pipped at the Post

Hethersett Athletic's Men's A team were beaten 1-0 by Withersdale in a stirring South Norfolk Players' Aid Trophy match played at Diss Town's Ground in March.

There was very little to chose between two excellent teams who battled hard throughout the game and the only goal came midway through the second half.

Hethersett had their chances to equalise but can be proud of their performance with winger Steven Beck being named man of the match. For a full report and photographs of the game Click here.

Sixth Place for Nick

Young cycle speedway rider Nick Bedson (see earlier in this section) won a clutch of medals at the Junior World Cup in Australia. Nick was a member of the England squad which took the cup by beating the host nation in the final. He raced for the British Lions in five junior test matches, top scoring in the first. Australia won the series 3-2 but Nick finished sixth in the world junior individual championships. The new Hethersett Hawks season begins on April 1st.

Club Mourns

Hethersett Jubilee Youth Club is mourning the death of voluntary youth leader Donna Beech who has been killed in an accident at Dereham. Miss Beech had been an invaluable member of the youth club team. A qualified youth worker, she worked at the Hethersett club as a volunteer. She had recently moved from the village to Norwich. "Donna was one of those rare, selfless people always willing to give her time and energy to other people," said a club spokesman.

Diamond Day

Hethersett priest, the Rev Dan Shakespeare and his wife May celebrated 60 years of marriage by renewing their wedding vows at St Remegius Church - along with many couples among 150-strong congregation from the churches he served as assistant priest until his recent retirement.

After the service the couple enjoyed a reception at Hethersett Middle School when they were presented with paintings of Hethersett and Little and Great Melton churches.

Clean Sweep

Hethersett Environmental Action Team (HEAT) is asking all village organisations and individuals to give the village a spring clean by picking up litter and tidying up properties by cutting back hedges and shrubs that overhang footpaths. A group litter pick has been arranged for April. Meanwhile dog mess is causing problems particularly on routes to the playing field and the parish pit.

School Art

Pupils of Hethersett High School spent the day taking part in eight arts workshops.

Year Eight students enjoyed large scale painting, textile work, music, drama and stained glass. The idea of the day was to exercise the pupils artistic talents and to improve their confidence and enable them to gain the skills needed for group work. Several visiting arts experts helped. Art workshops were held based on the work of Van Gogh, Gustav Klimt and Roy Lichenstein.

Meanwhile 99 students have produced their own volume of poetry. In October the school submitted 172 poems to a national competition run by a Peterborough-based young writers organisation. The group received nearly 50,000 entries from around the country. Now the 99 successful Hethersett poems will go into a regional anthology. A free copy of the anthology will be presented to the school.

The school judged to have sent in the best overall entries will win 1,000 for their school. There will also be fice runners-up prizes of 250 and 10 of 100.

Charitible Deeds

Hathersett Parochial Charity has given away 1,376 in grants to villagers during the year. The grants included a distribution at Christmas of 850 with 18 households benefiting. Much of the money raised comes from income from the mini recycling centre in Great Melton Road on land owned by Mr and Mrs Peter Bond. Unfortunately vandalism and arson at the site (covered elsewhere) has cut down the amount raised this year.

SHORTS .......

The latest edition of the Hethersett Handbook which lists organisations and groups in the village is on sale at a cost of 1 from local shops and businesses.

The village is preparing to celebrate the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002 and a "celebration group" is being set up to organise events.

A cycle rack is being provided near the shopping area in Great Melton Road.

A team of fire cadets from Thetford were victorious in a quiz at Norfolk Fire Service Headquarters in Hethersett. They beat off the challenge from teams from Stalham and Fakenham.

Police Constable Rob Boothby has replaced PC Tim Tyler as village policeman. Rob, who lives in the village is married with two children and has been with Norfolk Constabulary for nine years after serving for six years with the RAF Police. And Special Constable Mervyn Freeman, who covers Hethersett along with a number of other neighbouring areas, has received a long service medal from Prince Charles for clocking up 10 years' service.

A vacancy has arisen on the parish council following the failure of a member to attend for six months.

The county council is re-assessing the need for a footpath along the west end of Great Melton Road from the junction of Mill Road.

The parish council is to take steps to increase its membership to 13 from May 2003.

A coffee morning in Central Crescent raised 313 for the general parish church funds.

The guttering on the north side of the parish church has been replaced at a cost of 800.

The parish council is considering providing a bus shelter at the bus stop on Churchfields opposite Admirals Way.

Proposed planning developments off Great Melton Road and Myrtle Road have been turned down following objections from both the parish council and local residents.