Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Win two pairs of two tickets to see Celtic Flames at Princess Theatre

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

The Celtic Flames troupe performs a quality eclectic mix of traditional Irish music, song and dance fused with a more contemporary style. Formed originally as 10 piece group in 2011, it has grown to include the top young talent to emerge from the west of Ireland in recent years and their mission is to entertain!

Using 15 different musical instruments to deliver a unique and vibrant sound, their versatile world champion dancers perform the full dynamic range of Irish dancing including light, heavy, set, sean-nos and twig dancing while a diverse variety of singers perform a seductive hybrid of rousing traditional ballads and modern classics from artists like Adele, Bob Dylan and Mumford and Sons.

Their atmospheric show generates a brilliant and energetic night’s entertainment suitable for all ages. At times, Celtic Flames burns with a light flicker, at times with a searing spark and at times it sets the place on fire! So treat yourself to a moody blend of ancient and modern, of a rich musical tradition with a contemporary feel and come to see the wonderful Celtic Flames perform.

Emmet and Emily of Celtic Flames

Emmet and Emily of Celtic Flames

Here is a little background on some of the younger talent in the Celtic Flames troupe:

Brother and sister and brother Emily and Emmet Greaney (see photo) are in 3rd and 5th class respectively in Brierfield National School in County Galway and have won competitions all over Ireland in harp, banjo and concertina in the past five years. Emily also dances in the show and is being tipped for stardom by all who see her perform. They can’t wait for the Celtic Flames tour of England!

The other group members include some of the top young talent in the west of Ireland, including four World Champion dancers who have performed all over the world in the past few years with Michael Flatley’s ‘Lord of the Dance’ show.

Celtic Flames is due to appear at the Princess Theatre, Hunstanton on Thursday, 17 April. Would you like to win tickets to see this exciting 24 piece mixed music troupe with members aged from 6 to 60? We have two pairs of two tickets to give out.

HOW TO WIN TWO TICKETS (WE HAVE A TOTAL OF FOUR TICKETS AS PRIZES): Send an email to answering the following question: “What year was the Celtic Flames troupe originally formed and when will they appear at Hunstanton’s Princess Theatre?”


Celtic Flames Dancers

Celtic Flames Dancers


Coastal Tweetup is now West Norfolk Tweetup

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Coastal Tweetup has been running for almost a year and it has become obvious that a name change is needed to better promote our corner of Norfolk, thus it has been rechristened West Norfolk Tweetup. We will have to consider a new logo to suit when time allows.

The most recent tweetup attracted a fantastic variety of different business owners gathered together at Caithness Crystal on Tuesday, 11 March 2014. Managing Director, Mark Sander, supported by Stuart McBarron and Lindsay Van Dyke, welcomed everyone warmly and generously provided tea, coffee and scones as everyone introduced themselves.

Louise from Hands for Hounds tries glassblowing - photo by Stella Gooch

Louise from Hands for Hounds tries glassblowing – photo by Stella Gooch

Beaver  shows the tweetup members how his creation is shaping up - photo by Stella Gooch

Beaver shows the tweetup members how his creation is shaping up – photo by Stella Gooch

I was half an hour late in joining the group owing to a slight hiccup in school run arrangements but time stands still for no man and things were humming by the time I arrived at Caithness Crystal in Kings Lynn. I just had time for a cup of tea with our hosts and to say hi to Liz Pendleton of @LifestylesFest and @lingoliz fame. Then we were guided to the glassblowing area where Beaver, long-experienced glassblower was demonstrating his skill to the interested tweeters.

Caithness Crystal was a very interesting venue for a tweetup and a great opportunity for us all to better understand what Caithness Crystal can offer visitors. The cafe was a delightful space to relax and enjoy a range of refreshments and the gift shop sparkled with colourful displays of gifts for a wide range of tastes and styles. The biggest surprise of all was the range of jewellery on offer. I had never considered glass an option when it came to jewellery before but they were very lovely indeed.

A big thank you to Caithness Crystal for being such delightful hosts.

Tweetups are a great way to meet the people you tweet with on Twitter and to put faces to names. In other words they are a networking group but it operates very informally and allows the host venue to showcase its offering. If you would like to take part just follow @WNorfolktweetup (formerly @coastaltweetup) and turn up on the advertised day and time at the venue indicated. Please pass the word around – it is an inclusive group and we welcome all busines owners.

DIARY DATE: Wed, 23 April (11am) the next tweetup will be at Bircham Windmill where Elly will be delighted to welcome us to take in the wonder that is Bircham Windmill whilst enjoying our networking. Hope to see you there.

Beaver admires his work - photo by Stella Gooch

Beaver admires his work – photo by Stella Gooch


A completed glass elephant is presented to the crowd - photo by Stella Gooch

A completed glass elephant is presented to the crowd – photo by Stella Gooch

Find out about about Hunstanton Rotary Club on 26 March

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Hunstanton Rotary Club LogoHunstanton’s Rotary Club awareness day – Wednesday, March 26

Why not drop in to the Le Strange Hotel in Old Hunstanton on Wednesday, 26 March and meet members of the Hunstanton Rotary Club. This is a great opportunity to find out what Hunstanton Rotary Club do and you can find out if it is an organisation you would like to be part of.

President Ben Warnes said: “Rotary’s primary purpose is to create friendships among public spirited professional people who want to give something back.”

To find out more, or to attend, call Phil Newell on 01485 533864 or email

Click to find out more about Hunstanton Rotary

Princess Theatre hosts Lifestyles Festival Supporters Evening

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

By Stella Gooch

15 March from 6pm – Supporters welcome to visit the Princess Theatre – just £3 can help!
Hunny Invite for Lifestyles

The Lifestyles Festival was originally organised and funded by Kings Lynn & West Norfolk Council but it is now operated solely by voluntary means so your help is needed to keep it alive.  Although £10,000 has been put up by a West Norfolk based business, Highline Extreme (OZ-UK) Ltd, (manufacturer of mobile climbing walls, skate parks and high ropes) this is just the start in finding the £50,000 needed for the event to go ahead.

Did you know that your pledge of just £3.00 (yes three pounds) can make a difference to ensuring the longevity of the Lifestyles Festival.   Come along to the Princess Theatre on Saturday, 15 March to learn how a small pledge can help make big things happen.

Click here for a little more background on Lifestyles Festival.

Hunstanton Council gets the local youth bopping

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Posted by Stella Gooch

Kids Disco Poster 7th March 2014Lately Hunstanton Town Council have been running a few discos at the Community Centre which are aimed at 7-11 year olds.  This is going down well and there are two more discos to put in your diary:  Friday, 7 March 2014 AND  Friday, 4 April 2014.

Mayor Elaine Clutton said: “We are trying so hard to get things going for 7 – 11 year olds in the town and hoping this project will lead to establishing a youth club.”

So spread the word and get your youngsters bopping to keep the momentum going!  Don’t forget to register your interest in signing your children up for the Youth Club too.  I am sure Hunstanton Town Council will be delighted to hear from you.

Spinney development opens in Hunstanton

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Posted by Stella Gooch
Photos by Stella Gooch


Section of the new wall at The Spinney illustrating scenes of Hunstanton as it was in times gone by

Members of the Hunstanton Regeneration Project Team and Hunstanton Round Table, gathered at The Spinney in Hunstanton on 19 February 2014 to mark the completion of the refurbishment project.

Work on The Spinney began in September 2013 and the new scheme incorporates an event space and pedestrian priority area towards the High Street. The event space is partially surrounded by a curving feature wall, which includes photograph tiles and letter engraving. A feature balustrade is fitted to the top of the wall. New street furniture, trees and lighting have been installed to punctuate the landscaping, providing places to pause. Works to the High Street included resurfacing of carriage way and pedestrian crossing points, de-cluttering of street furniture and new feature planters.

Cllr Elizabeth Watson, Andrew Searle, Paul Searle are delighted to see The Spinney seating & public area openCllr Alistair Beales, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “The focus of this project has been the involvement of the public and key stakeholders. The Hunstanton Regeneration Project Team has been pivotal in this work and I would like to express my thanks to them.

“The scheme is a big improvement, and now there is a clear pedestrian link into the High Street. We’ve also created a small performance area, where events can be held to encourage more people into the town centre.”

The tiled walled, a most attractive feature within the scheme, has been developed using photos submitted by members of the public and beautifully illustrates the halcyon days of the Victoria seaside upon which Hunstanton was built.

Cllr Elizabeth Watson, Borough Councillor and Chair of the Hunstanton Regeneration Project Team, said: “We received an array of photographs, from which we selected 25 to feature in the wall. These tiles tell the story of Hunstanton and in particular give an indication of what the town was like during its Victorian heyday.”

“We are grateful to everyone involved in creating this wall, from those providing the photos to those selecting the ones to use. We are now producing an explanatory leaflet to help visitors to the area to understand more about this beautiful resort.”

Also featured in the wall are two carved dedications: One to Richard Searle MBE for his services to the Round Table and one to Henry and Hamon Le Strange – visionaries, in recognition of establishing Hunstanton as a classic Victorian seaside resort. The wording is picked out in the wall using stone.

Gary Waddison, Chairman, Hunstanton and District Round Table, said: “Richard credited many of his achievements to what he learned in his early years spent in Round Table.

“We are delighted to be able to pay tribute to Richard’s outstanding service to the local community through his years spent in Hunstanton and District Round Table.

“We are especially pleased to have Richard remembered here as this is the kind of project I’m sure he would have been delighted to see happen.”

Cllr Elizabeth Watson, Kevin Waddison, Andrew Searle, Edward Napolitano, Gary Waddison, Paul Searle, +1, Jo Searle

Cllr Elizabeth Watson, Kevin Waddison, Andrew Searle, Edward Napolitano, Gary Waddison, Paul Searle, +1, Jo Searle

A celebratory formal opening of the Spinney is being planned for Easter to mark the start of the season. A range of activities will be organised with local groups to demonstrate how the new space can be used. More details of this will be published shortly.

In 2008, when the Hunstanton town centre and southern seafront masterplan was developed, The Spinney was identified as an area that could, with enhancements, become a more inviting and accessible place that could be shaped to help direct people towards the town centre. This was highlighted again by Hunstanton’s Town Team, established as part of the town’s efforts to attract funding from the Mary Portas Scheme.

Funding for this scheme (£347,000) has come from the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk and Norfolk County Council. The work to enhance the area around the Spinney has been funded by Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, and was carried out on their behalf by Norfolk County Council’s strategic partnership with May Gurney (now part of Kier Group) for construction and Mott MacDonald for design work. Norfolk County Council undertook maintenance and street scene enhancement works along High Street at the same time to reduce overall cost and minimise disruption.

The final plan was created by Wynne Williams Associates Ltd, landscape architects based on an initial brief developed by the borough council in conjunction with the Hunstanton Town Team and Regeneration Project Team

Help Hunstanton Lifestyles Festival now or lose it forever!

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Lifestyles Festival LOGO“Help Lifestyles Festival now or lose it forever!”  It sounds like a strong please and it is because the very popular annual watersports event is under threat.  On 19 February 2014, the Lifestyles Festival launched an Official Appeal @ The Shed Skatepark in King’s Lynn to ensure that the Festival can go ahead in 2014.  Owing to lack of crew and funds last year, the Lifestyles Festival did not happen for the first time since I can remember.  Thus Lifestyles Festival volunteers are working hard to save the Festival (which began around 2005?) for future years by raising £50,000 and recruiting 40 new volunteers, by April 2014.

This year there are more new committee members on board, and a revised constitution has been agreed for the not-for-profit community group behind the Festival, Lifestyles Association.  The drive to raise much needed support for this great event is aimed at either returning the annual event to Hunstanton for 2014 or to retire it from the Norfolk events calendar forever.

Supporting the launch was Professional BMX Flatland rider and Guinness World Record holder, Matti Hemmings.  Matti explained in a BBC Radio interview how he first got into BMX at an event just like Lifestyles.  He said: ”Lifestyles is clearly beneficial to the local community, showcasing extreme sports as a good way of life and inspire young people to take part.”

During the evening, new volunteers signed up to offer their help in marshalling the VW show and the street course and A-level students from Kings Lynn took photographs, illustrating that students on work-experience were very welcome to participate in the event.

Norfolk based technology firm ‘New IT’ was the first to pledge their support for the continuation of the event and the Lifestyles Association hope that more comapnies will follow their lead.  There was considerable press and media attention on the night with reporters from BBC Radio Norfolk and the Lynn News conducting interviews.

So what can be done to ensure the Lifestyles Festival is preserved for years to come?

A supporters evening -  6 March 2014 – King’s Lynn’s new Rathskeller wine bar
Anyone interested in volunteering, supporting or sponsoring, is invited to come along.

A kickstarter campaign – a way of ‘crowd funding’
This campaign will be starting on the 1st March. Anyone who would like to back the campaign is asked to follow Lifestyles via facebook or twitter

Donations and Sponsors are welcome
You can donate either via online donations through the Association website, or through contact with the sponsorship team  Donations go to pay for things like safety barriers, toilet hire, marquee hire etc.


Coasthopper comment by a former town planner whose heart is in West Norfolk

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Coasthopper by Norfolk GreenToday, 12 December 2013, is the closing date for all comments from the public to be submitted to Norfolk County Council for consideration under the current Coasthopper consultation.

Here are the comments submitted by David Marshall, Chartered Town Planner’s comments sent to Norfolk County Council on 11 December 2013 re the current Coasthopper consultation

“I am responding to Norfolk County Council’s consultation on the future of the Coasthopper bus service as a regular visitor and as someone with a professional interest in transport. I am a Chartered Town Planner by professional training but have tended to specialise in transport and have worked in local authorities, big firm consultancy, part time academia and most recently running my own consultancy.

I spend around 3 to 4 weeks a year in North Norfolk, usually staying in Heacham, and the ability to leave the car at my accommodation and explore the area by bus is a significant factor in my repeated visits. Traveling by bus enables me to see and enjoy the beautiful coastline much more than if I were driving and allows me the freedom to walk sections of the coastal path and appreciate the natural beauty of the coast in a way that I couldn’t by car.

When I used to visit Norfolk in the early 1980s there were no bus services at all along the coast road and Wells only had one return trip per day to Fakenham and Norwich. I’ve followed the progress of the development of the Coasthopper from the initial service funded from the old Norfolk Coastal Project. This was an hourly service operated with some quite old Mercedes high floor minibuses. It really has been a success story in terms of its social, economic and environmental benefits and I’ve used it as a case study of good practice in my lectures at Newcastle University and in various conference presentations from time to time.

The successes of the service include the following:

  • Reducing car traffic on the A149;
  • Contributing to tourism along the North Norfolk coast;
  • Contributing to sustainable tourism, particularly enabling people to walk the coastal path;
  • Contributing to the vitality and viability of local businesses along the coast;
  • Contributing to communities along the coast;
  • Contributing to the equalities agenda through providing transport for older people and accessible transport for people with disabilities.

Not all of the above are easily quantifiable or can be valued in monetary terms making a full cost/benefit analysis of the service difficult to undertake. The patronage figures mask the human stories like the elderly lady from Wells who travels to Sheringham and back ‘for some company’ or the family from Stiffkey who use it for their shopping trips. There are probably as many such stories as there are people using the service.

My understanding is that ridership has risen year on year since 2000. By 2005 it had reached 100,000 per year rising to 275,000 two years later in 2007 and is now around 500,000. This represents phenomenal growth especially considering bus use is falling nationally. Certain journeys, such as the first one out of Hunstanton after 09:30, are regularly ‘standing room only’ or even leave people behind.

I suspect the patronage on the Coasthopper has reached the point where the summer service could be operated commercially now and Norfolk Green confirm this in their own pamphlets on the proposed cuts. The paper provided by NCC for the recent consultation meetings confirms that they are looking to reduce the subsidy to virtually zero over the next two years. From the point of view of public funding, getting as much of the service operated as a free standing commercial venture is the ideal. The big question is getting as much value as possible out of every public £ put into it.

The figures provided by NCC are interesting as they highlight the fact that a lot of non-Norfolk residents use the service. This need not be a bad thing as those visitors are spending money with local businesses and contributing to the local economy. Unfortunately a lot of them are concessionary permit holders and the reimbursement from central government doesn’t quite cover the costs. Perhaps one way to overcome this would be to introduce a nominal boarding charge for non-Norfolk concessionary permit holders. Assuming 30% of passengers are in this category and 500,000 pax pa this would raise around £150k pa.

The other area where the service is loss making is the winter service when loadings are significantly lower but higher proportions of passengers are Norfolk residents. The demographics of North Norfolk mean that there are a higher proportion of older residents and with age there is a much higher incidence of ill health and disability. The Coasthopper provides a lifeline to older people in these circumstances.

Given this, other sources of funding could be sought. One area worthy of consideration is through developer contributions from planning gain agreements. There are a number of renewable energy and offshore wind farm proposals affecting the Norfolk coast and there may be some scope for this to support the Coasthopper or any replacement service. As an example, Statoil, the developer of the Sheringham Shoal windfarm are providing £100k pa to support community projects in the area. Some of that money is ring fenced to community projects which may preclude Norfolk Green from receiving it but could be subject to a partnership with a third sector partner.

The use of new or existing community transport projects or social enterprises should be considered in proposals for ‘backfilling’ or any part replacement service. There is an established community transport operator in the area, King’s Lynn based West Norfolk Community Transport which already undertakes contract work.

From what I know of Norfolk Green, the Coasthopper is a core part of their business and they have invested heavily not only in vehicles but in their staff and developing the customer base. They don’t strike me as a ‘fly by night’ operator who would walk away if the subsidy were withdrawn completely. From the data provided by Norfolk County Council, I would expect that a significant part of the Coasthopper service could be provided commercially, particularly in the summer season. The precise detail of that is probably commercially confidential but I would expect that it forms the basis of negotiations between the operator and the County Council going forward.

In conclusion, I feel that the Coasthopper is a success story that has contributed significantly to the economy, communities and environment of North Norfolk over the past 10 years or so. I trust that all concerned can work together to ensure its future.”

Help is being offered for flood clean up

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Posted by Borough Council of West Norfolk & Kings Lynn
Photo by Stella Gooch

Kings Lynn Council logoRecovery from last week’s floods is well under way, with businesses and householders cleaning up their premises and homes.

The borough council, along with other agencies, is busy assessing the damage, to the sea front in Hunstanton, the waterfront in King’s Lynn and affected areas along the West Norfolk coastline to Burnham Overy Staithe. An assessment of the cliffs in Hunstanton is also being made due to recent rockfalls as a result of the high tides. The council is warning people to keep away from the cliff area for the time being.

Environmental Health Officers at the council have been visiting food premises in King’s Lynn and around the coast providing advice and assistance with the clean-up to help restaurants open again as quickly as possible, given that this is a busy time of year for many of them.

Council workers help clear up damaged steps outside Oasis the day after tidal surge struck Hunstanton - photo by Stella Gooch

Council workers help clear up damaged steps outside Oasis the day after tidal surge struck Hunstanton – photo by Stella Gooch

Cllr Nick Daubney, Leader of the Borough Council, said: “Some businesses in West Norfolk have been badly affected by flood waters. I am pleased to be able to announce that we are providing support for them in the form of a Business Flood Relief Fund. This will mean that eligible businesses will be able to get a free skip to help them clear their premises of debris, so that they can get back to business as soon as possible.”

For residents whose properties have been flooded, they can request the Bulky Waste Collection Service for free to enable them to dispose of large items that have been damaged. Alternatively, they can use the Household Waste Recycling Centres, to dispose of their flood related waste. Normal restrictions are being lifted for those affected by the floods.

The council also intends to contact second home owners where there has been local flooding to advise them to check on their properties.

Cllr Brian Long, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “We don’t yet know how much this is going to cost us, or how much it will cost local businesses and residents.  Businesses need to be trading at this time of year and families want to be able to plan for Christmas, rather than worrying about how they are going to sort out their homes.  All we can do is try to help people get back to normal as quickly as they can.  We would of course remind people not to throw things away until they have been advised to do so by their insurers.”

Hunstanton Sea Life Centre, fairground & pier flooded

Monday, December 9th, 2013
Lifeguard station moved by tidal surge on Hunstanton seafront - photo by Neal Sanderson

Lifeguard station moved by tidal surge on Hunstanton seafront – photo by Neal Sanderson

The fierce tidal surge that hit the Norfolk coastline on 5 December 2013 was predicted to be the most serious stormy seas in 60 years.  On schedule, the powerful waves breached sea defences in Hunstanton and delivered chaos and damage to “Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary” and the small businesses under the pier (“Castaway Fish & Chips” and “Surface”) all of which are closed until further notice.  (Sadly I later heard that looters thought such a night was a great opportunity to help themselves from the afflicted Surf shop under the pier which had been battered by the storm.) Other parts of Hunstanton seafront were also affected including the fairground and Oasis Leisure Resort.  The Fun Castle and cafe were closed pending clean up and repair operations.  Searles Leisure Resort had limited damage but had  a foot of water in the plaza area.  The situation would have been much worse here but for the works done to raise the power boat ramp and the addition of rock armour in the vicinity,  See previous article about sea defences.

The impact of the fierce waves on Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary left the entire building surrounded by up to 3 feet of sea water as it continued on its way round the Norfolk coastline.  Inside water levels were more than a foot deep and the building’s electricity was gone. Many expressed concern for the welfare of both staff and animals, and later, their admiration for the way the Sea Life team successfully managed to ensure the safe evacuation of almost all the fish and animals.

Social media was manic with people anxious to hear their property, friends and loved ones were all ok throughout the night.  Thanks to modern technology reassurances could be given quickly.

Once things were more settled Sea Life staff retreated to a nearby house and established a plan to ensure the safety of the animals within the Sanctuary.  Emergency services were quickly on the scene and the water pumps were put to work.  Everyone worked through the night and by morning the water had been drained.

By early Friday morning, the huge evacuation programme was launched to relocate the thousands of fish.  The lack of power meant vital life support systems were unusable so staff had to move quickly to protect vulnerable marine life from risks such as contamination.   Specially adapted transport vehicles containing holding tanks and marine experts from The Sea Life Headquarters in Dorset visited Hunstanton to provide emergency back-up and transport fish to quarantine facilities in Weymouth, Dorset.   Relocation arrangements also had to be made for the otters and penguins at least until power is restored and repairs carried out.

By Saturday, thanks to unrelenting dedication by the staff of Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary and volunteers, sharks, a turtle, tropical fish and six penguins were successfully evacuated from the Sea Life Sanctuary and now settled in their new homes.  The Sea Life team also provided assisted in the rescue of seal pups from other flooded areas in Norfolk.

Sanctuary General Manager, Nigel Croasdale, could not praise the efforts of the fire service and his own staff enough in their dedication to ensuring the safety of all the animals throughout proceedings.

Hunstanton Golf club in Old Hunstanton also felt the effects of the tidal surge as the water caused damage to parts of the golf course.  Bob Carrick of Hunstanton Golf Club said: “The sea roared down into Holme and now the 10th hole is under water and needs pumping out.”  Mr Carrick advised that expected that it could take a week for the water to be cleared and restore the 10th hole back into use.  He went on to say that: “as of today there were 15 holes playable on the golf course so golfers were still welcome to play.”.  If you wish to enquire about updates on the golf course then please call Mr Carrick on 01485 532811.

The road to recovery for the Sea Life Sanctuary and the other Hunstanton businesses affected will take many months.  However, this process will be made all the smoother with the support and help from those around them which has already been forthcoming.

Please check websites and social media to keep up to date on the re-opening of affected businesses.  Click for updates re Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary.


Sea Life Centre half under water in tidal surge 5 Dec 2013 - photo by Neal Sanderson

Sea Life Centre half under water in tidal surge 5 Dec 2013 – photo by Neal Sanderson

Damaged Surf shop under pier  the day after flooding by tidal surge - photo by Stella

Damaged Surf shop under pier the day after flooding by tidal surge – photo by Stella

Castaway fish & chip shop the day after tidal surge - photo by Stella Gooch

Castaway fish & chip shop the day after tidal surge – photo by Stella Gooch

Where Waterside Bar meets the sea the day after tidal surge - photo by Stella Gooch

Where Waterside Bar meets the sea the day after tidal surge – photo by Stella Gooch