A u t u m n - W i n t e r 2020
Snap happy! Your photos in the spotlight
The new normal? Coping with COVID
2 Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020
Welcome back! Back to business This edition of ‘Diss Matters’ comes from
due to COVID-19, we feel privileged to be
My year so far, the mayor
able to, once again, celebrate all that our
New faces on the council
community has to oﬀer. And equally
All tied up
the heart. With our spring edition cancelled
pleased to be able to welcome back many organisations that had to close temporarily throughout lockdown and beyond. Chips, pics, poems and people
10-11 The Corn Hall – an update/what’s coming up 13
South Norfolk Police news
14-15 Rotary round-up 17
Youth groups chatroom
individuals, businesses and volunteer groups in
Keeping Diss moving
our community who kept support and services
On the pitch
running despite the challenges presented by
In this issue, we pay special tribute to the
the pandemic. There’s a focus on mental wellness and physical health with tips on how
22-23 Out and about
we can make the most of all Diss has to oﬀer to
24-25 Mysteries of the mere
help preserve both.
26-27 Keeping art alive
There are new features - including a poetry
28-29 A chip oﬀ the old block
page and a themed gallery of photos sent in by
our readers (thank you, they’re amazing!). As
32-33 The great outdoors
well as all the old favourites, from council news
Climb every mountain
Preserving the past
some familiar figures and look ahead to the
Trained to care
rest of the year. We’ve also got a fresh new look
Denny Day Centre reopens its doors
– hope you like it?
2020: In it together
to what’s coming up at The Corn Hall. We meet some new faces, reacquaint ourselves with
The sweet sound of success
So sit back, grab a cuppa and enjoy a taste of what matters. And keep in touch! I’d love to hear from you, whether it’s feedback on the mag or ideas for a future feature. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Diss Matters is published by Falcon Publications, DBH 21,
Have a great Autumn,
Diss Business Park, Hopper Way, Diss, IP22 4GT
Tel: 01379 773347 / 48, www.falconpublications.co.uk Design & Artwork: Ian Foster, Copy Concept
Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020 3
Council news The past months have been tough for all
Time to remember
sectors of our community. And, while
An oﬃcial Remembrance Day ceremony
we’re all making steps to move forwards
may not be possible this year due to COVID-
where we can, it’s important to take stock
19 and restrictions around social
and reflect on challenges our community
gatherings. But, as a council and a
has faced in recent and more distant
community, the day will be marked by
times. With this in mind, here’s an update on what’s new and coming up, but also what we’re doing to remember events that have challenged us as a town. Mere’s Mouth gets a facelift
A working group of the Town Council, together with members of the community, are planning to recognise and commemorate the impact of COVID-19 on town life.
Transformation of the area around Mere’s
Mouth is almost complete. The coordinated
personal and private tributes to those who
programme of works includes
fought for our country, sacrificing
refurbishment of the toilets, resurfacing of
themselves to secure and protect our
the pathway at Mere’s Mouth and repairs to
the sleepers around the mere. A shining light A working group of the council together with members of the community are planning to recognise and commemorate the impact of COVID-19 on town life. Using funding provided by Diss Town Council, a Beacon of Hope, Light & Remembrance will be installed in Diss Park. This beacon will also act as the start and finish points to several ‘Lockdown Loops’ (new walking and cycling routes in and around Diss). Keep an Sarah Richards, Diss Town Clerk
Along the boardwalk Improvements to the boardwalk have finished and the walkway is now open to the public with a one-way system in operation to ease social distancing. Access runs from the rear of the council oﬃces on Market Hill to the King’s Head car park. 4 Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020
eye on our website (www.diss.gov.uk) and social media channels for more details.
My year so far, the mayor This has been a very strange time to be
to notice the little things around you. I
mayor. The COVID-19 pandemic has
found these very helpful and try to follow as
brought with it many tough challenges for
many as I can.
us all and the theme - Kindness, Communication and Community – chosen
Other highlights this year include: helping
to underpin my second year seems more
out with the Fair Green community group
important now than ever.
whose members went above and beyond to support others through the height of the
Though busy in my role as mayor, I’ve tried
pandemic; speaking about volunteering
hard to find time to promote mental
opportunities in Diss at a virtual Rotary Club
wellness. Good mental health is just as
meeting; and laying a wreath alongside
important as physical health. And, as we
Council Leader Simon Olander to
move through this pandemic, it’s important
commemorate VJ Day on 15th August.
slightly changed for
My work in
this field has
year. I’ll be
the Big C
my role as a
first aider to
my role as a
mental health navigator. Working at
Violence & Abuse Services charity. I have
Citizen’s Advice alongside our project
been thinking outside the box for ways to
partner MIND, I helped devise a workshop
raise money, so watch this space!
aimed at supporting people through a crisis such as the COVID pandemic. Council staﬀ
Please stay well everyone. Don’t forget to
and colleagues took part in these training
social distance where possible, to wear your
sessions, which also provided support for
face masks where specified, and to look
other issues we may face. One of the areas I
after your mental health.
cover in the training is the ‘Seven Ways to
Good Wellbeing’ which include things like
Cllr Sonia Browne
continuing to learn, connect and
Mayor of Diss
communicate with others and taking time
Diss Town Council
Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020 5
New faces on the council Our most recent recruits to the council,
“I hope to speak up for people in Diss and
Jim Welch and Stuart Warren, are both
can be found in and around the many cafes
passionate about giving a voice to the
in town most days.”
people of Diss. And removing the stigma around mental health. Here they talk a bit about themselves and answer a few sneaky questions from us.
Stuart says… “I’ve lived in and around Diss most of my life. After moving to Norwich a few years
ago, my partner and I moved back to Diss because we missed the area and wanted to
“I was born in London in 1959. I was
be closer to family. Between us we have
grammar school educated, before studying
four children, two girls and two boys.
with the university of life compliments of the Royal Air Force.
“I have worked in the care and support sector as well as in mental health, welfare
“While in the services, I was able to
rights advice and social housing. I’m also a
participate in my passions of archaeology,
qualified vehicle technician. At the moment,
genealogy and war gaming. My time in the
I work for Citizen’s Advice in Diss and Equal
service was spent in an intelligence role,
which has given me many skills to fall back on when needed. I moved to Diss with my
“I’m passionate about helping and
family looking for a slower pace of life, only
supporting others, particularly those with
to find I had come home; my mother’s great
mental health diﬃculties. I have a mental
grandfather was born in Diss in 1847!
health illness and am quite determined to show others that it is perfectly acceptable to
“I was co-opted onto the council in 2020
suﬀer from ill mental health. I want people
after finding I had time on my hands. I
to see that it’s good to be open and honest
needed something to help me get over a
about it to help combat stigma.
bout of depression and I wanted to improve
life for the residents within the town. 6 Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020
â€œI decided to join the council team because
Â Jim: I love to visit Cafe Culture with its
Iâ€™m passionate about the town and want to
friendly staďŹ€ and can be found in there
provide a voice to those that wouldnâ€™t
normally get involved. I want to help improve our town and continue to make it a
What three words could you use to sum
lovely place to live and for people to visit.â€?
Stuart: Traditional, vibrant and friendly.Â
What do you most like about Diss?
Jim: Picture postcard and friendly.
Stuart: The sense of community (this has
Any tips for staying happy and healthy?
been very apparent since COVID-19, the lockdown and the willingness of people to
Stuart: Make use of the excellent leisure
pitch in and help others).
centre and pool or get out and about and take to one of the many footpaths in the
Jim: Being an ex-Londoner I love the slower
area. Walking and the feeling of being out in
pace of life.
nature is great for the body and mind.Â
Whatâ€™s your favourite local place to visit?
Jim: Number one, donâ€™t fall out of bedđ&#x;˜Ż! And number two, just take a few minutes to
Stuart: I really enjoy visiting the town
listen to the ducks by the mere - they always
centre and I love searching through the
seem to be in good spirits.
charity shops. I think we should embrace Diss and put it on the map as a place to come and visit each of the charity shops.
Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020 7
8 Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020
All tied up Nestled in The Shambles (once two old butchers’ shops) in the centre of Diss Market Place, Diss Museum has kept our community connected with its past since 1993. Run by manager Basil Abbott and a group of active volunteers, its combination of exhibitions and events regularly attract both visitors and awards. Then came COVID-19. Diss Museum was forced to temporarily close its doors. But, undeterred, and despite little chance of re-opening this season, work has continued behind the scenes. The museum has always enriched its permanent exhibition with temporary collections and exciting plans for a
Basil’s collection will be on display when the
fashionable new display have been revealed. If you’re looking to smarten up
your image, this display could be just the inspiration you need.
When I looked, I realised I had acquired about 120 neckties since my teens.
“I have never consciously collected them,” says manager Basil Abbott. “But when I
looked, I realised I had acquired about 120 neckties since my teens. While planning to fill our next Collection Cabinet slot, it suddenly dawned on me that I had a collection that people might be interested in! Some have quite a story behind them. They recall a time when every man, even watching a football match, wore one.” Following the death of his father, the collection of ties (many of which belonged to
TIES, a poem by Basil Abbott Boy, he would say, what you doin’ with them ties? And I would say, Well, you’re dead now, Dad, And I didn’t think you’d be needing them anymore. You’ve got a lot here. You liked ties, didn’t you? I’ll bet this one goes back a bit. You can tell by the frayed edge And the pattern. 1930s? You must have thought You were a heck of a fellow in that. And this one – Pure new wool. I think I brought you that one from Wales. You could have started a tie shop. You wore your cap and overalls in the week; But you were quite a dandy on Sundays, The smartest bloke at church. I’ll wear them now and I’ll be nearly as smart as you were. When I put them to my nostrils I can smell you, Dad, Even though you have gone.
his dad) formed the inspiration for a poem. Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020 9
An update from The Corn Hall were directed to close and everything was brought to a standstill. We receive about 95% of our income through ticket sales and, without this, we were in a very vulnerable position. We have since been awarded emergency funding from Arts Council England and a small amount from the British Film Institute. But, we’re far from out of the woods. On 5th July the chancellor announced that £1.57bn would be made available as a lifeline for theatres. While this is welcome news, this lifeline is not a given and we have to apply for a small part of this money. It’s been over a year since I started as Operations Manager at The Corn Hall and what a year it’s been! 2019 was one of the best yet with over 52,000 people walking through our doors to meet friends, have a drink or view some of the free-to-access art we have on display. We showed over 200 live performances, alongside films and screenings from the National Theatre and the Royal Opera House. These were seen by 24,000 people. The professional pantomime at Christmas was another big hit. I had so many audience members complimenting the performance, I think it proved to be one of our best pantos ever! From comedy nights and tribute bands to big name acts such as Dom Joly, The Corn Hall has put Diss on the cultural map – not just locally but also regionally. Then COVID-19 struck, theatres
10 Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020
But we’re still here and we couldn’t have survived the pandemic without the dedication and commitment of our staﬀ, trustees and volunteers. Working from home, the box oﬃce team kept things running behind the scenes. They are, quite frankly, the best in the business. We’ve got a packed programme this autumn, so please support us, keep our box oﬃce team busy and keep The Corn Hall a beacon for the arts in Norfolk. Last year, I described how The Corn Hall takes my breath away whenever I approach it along St Nicholas Street. Well, one year on and it still takes my breath away and for that I’m truly grateful. Lee Johnson Operations Manager
October to December Events
FILMS Wednesdays 10:30am & 7:30pm 14th Oct – The Personal History of David Copperfield (PG) 21st Oct – The Gentlemen (18) 28th Oct – Ford v Ferrari (Le Mans 66) (12A) 4th Nov – Emma (PG) 11th Nov – Portrait of a Lady on Fire
David Copperfield Sale
18th Nov – Military Wives 25th Nov – A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood ROYAL BALLET screenings Tues 20th Oct – Giselle Thur 10th & Sat 12th Dec – The Nutcracker THEATRE Fri 23rd Oct – Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde Fri 6th & Sat 7th Nov – Chekhov Comedies WORD
Sat 24th Oct – Iain Dale: LBC Radio Presenter Sat 31st Oct – BBC TV’s Bargain Hunt presenter, David Harper: Unexpected Tales ROYAL OPERA HOUSE screenings Tues 3rd Nov – Manon Lescaut Thur 26th Nov – Macbeth ART EXHIBITIONS 4th Nov-Sat 5th Dec – Phil Greenwood 9th Dec-9th Jan – 12 Days of Xmas Corn Hall Art
BOX OFFICE Monday to Saturday 10am-2.30pm
01379 652241 · boxoﬃce@thecornhall.co.uk
All events may be booked at any time via our website www.thecornhall.co.uk Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020 11
Do you have a spare room to rent? Help someone looking for accommodation We have an experienced team who can help you as a landlord to offer an affordable room in your home. We provide free advice and support to landlords, working closely with you to match the right lodger to your spare room. We will take necessary safety precautions in respect of Covid-19 when meeting or visiting people. Please call Solo Housing on:
01379 640250 Charity Number 1068017
Registered provider Number 4696
Park House, Mere Street, Diss, Norfolk, IP22 4JY. 01379 643555 Offices also in Harleston, Ipswich and Felixstowe. www.jackamans.co.uk 12 Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020
South Norfolk Police news It's been a busy period for oﬃcers in and
around Diss and what has really been
figures remain low
highlighted is the great community spirit
and Diss continues to
around the market towns. My team and I
be a safe place to
have spent a lot of time out on foot in Diss
work and live.
engaging with you and it's been inspiring to see how people are moving on through the
year in many diﬀerent ways - from residents
would be fantastic to
and visitors to council staﬀ and business
have some more oﬃcers to engage with
you all. Which is why we are promoting recruitment into the Special Constabulary.
We have continued to help people in the
Special Constables make a big diﬀerence
area with any crimes which have been
and if you can volunteer some time every
reported - and have made some key arrests
month we’d love to hear from you.
this quarter from a suspected burglary series to cross-border drug dealing.
Inspector Laura Symonds
What is a Special? Being a Special Constable is about doing the work of a police oﬃcer, having the powers of a police oﬃcer, but serving as a volunteer. But why would you do that? Here are a few reasons… Because you enjoy a challenge. Because you have 16 hours a month to spare to help your local community. Because you want the sense of pride, togetherness and satisfaction that comes from learning new skills. Because you want to make a diﬀerence. Because...you can! Whatever your reasons, come and join a team of dedicated volunteers from the local community who provide tremendous help and support to the regular police oﬃcers. To find out more check out the Norfolk.police.uk website, telephone us on 01953 425699 (Ext 3212) or email: email@example.com We look forward to hearing from you!
Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020 13
Rotary round-up For most Rotary clubs, regular face-to-face
meetings and a packed calendar of
fundraising events are the norm. But,
since COVID-19, both of our town’s clubs
for their evening
(Diss & District and Diss Waveney) have
meeting meals to
had to adjust to a new way of operating.
the club charity
Here’s what they’ve been up to and their
plans moving forwards.
The flexibility of online meetings has freed the club up to mark 50 years of friendship
Fundraising feats and 50 years
with its twin club in Hadsten, Denmark.
Using Zoom, Hadsten Rotarian, Jens
Despite most of its fundraising events not
Soendergaard, spoke about the many
being held, since lockdown the Rotary Club of Diss & District has allocated £12,000 to local good causes. Over half of this (£6,156) was the result of the Boudicca Walk held in early July led by outgoing club president, Phil Catchpole. Phil (joined by others along the way) walked the entire distance, 72 miles there and back, in under 24 hours. A few weeks later he walked to Norwich to present a cheque for the proceeds to the Norfolk and Norwich Boudicca Breast Cancer Appeal and the UEA Prostate Tiger Testing Research Project. Other charitable donations have only been
14 Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020
Our families have met over 37 times for shared holidays, weddings, confirmations and funerals spanning three generations – all brought about by Rotary.
Despite the success of its Zoom meetings, faceto-face meetings are the heart, body and soul of the club.
will be distributed during the autumn term. Since COVID-19, Diss Waveney Rotary Club has been holding its meetings by Zoom; inviting speakers and members of other exchange visits that were originally initiated
clubs to join. Speaking via Zoom, Diss Town
by late local Rotarians, Ted Mercer and
Mayor Sonia Browne talked about the local
Ernest Cole. And experienced by others including the late Peter Faires, wife Ann and daughter, Jo-Ann, who fondly recalls youth exchanges with Dorthe Henricksen, the daughter of a Hadsten Rotarian. “The friendship between our two families has existed for over 40 years,” says Jo-Ann. “Our families have met over 37 times for shared holidays, weddings, confirmations and funerals – all brought about by Rotary.” It is hoped that a further exchange visit might
volunteering opportunities that might open
be on the cards for next year.
up to members once schemes set up to provide support throughout COVID-19 have
For more info see:
http://www.dissrotary.org.uk Despite the success of its Zoom meetings, Dictionaries 4 Life and volunteering
which are set to continue for the
foreseeable future, face-to-face meetings
Part of Rotary’s Basic Education and
(the heart, body and soul of the club) will
Literacy initiative in schools, Diss Waveney
resume as soon as government guidelines
Rotary Club will be presenting 285 Year Five
pupils in 10 local primary schools with individually named Usborne Illustrated
For more info see:
English Dictionaries. The dictionaries,
always well-received by pupils and teachers,
Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020 15
CHRISTOPHER ALDRIDGE T/A
FRANK A. ALDRIDGE & SONS
MOT BY APPOINTMENT We are now proud to offer another great service for our customers – we can carry out MOTs! Victor has now been appointed as an MOT tester, expanding Diss Autocare to benefit customers old and new.
Suppliers of All English & Foreign Hardwoods Softwoods, Veneers, Plywoods, etc. House Beams cut from old logs. Logs sawn to Customer’s requirements. Specialists in Tree Surgery and Firewood. Timber Yard, Heath Road, Eccles
Quidenham, Norfolk NR16 2PD
Tel: 01953 887919, 01953 887415 Mob: 07833 794803 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Darrow Farm, Shelfanger Road, Diss IP22 4XY 01379 423827 07752 000930
Good Honest Food BARISTA COFFEE HOME BAKED GOODS TAKEAWAY LUNCHES ESSENTIAL GROCERIES
Open Monday-Fridays 8am-3pm Saturdays 10am-2pm Jafcaf, Hopper Way, Diss IP22 4GT Tel: 07796 957807 16 Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020
Youth groups chatroom Social distancing doesn’t come naturally to teenagers. And the restrictions put in place due to COVID-19 have presented unique challenges for members of the Diss Youth Group and Diss Youth Council. But with a bit of creative thinking and a large dose of technology both groups have kept connected and active throughout. Here’s how… Paper peacocks and lockdown time capsules With planned activities halted due to COVID19, Diss Youth Council members have been working together to reach out to young people in the community, despite the restrictions in place. Initiatives include the production of a video demonstrating how to make an origami peacock and a redesign of its recruitment flyer. Plans are also in place to launch a lockdown sound time capsule. The sound capsule will include a collection of audio clips chosen by members of the council with explanations as to why they were important to them during lockdown. Scavenger hunts, scaling the stairs and bingo Diss Youth Group (DYG) has been meeting online weekly since April. This is all thanks to support oﬀered by South Norfolk Youth Advisory Board who continued to fund the Youth Work hours and MTM Youth Services CIC who helped with the online risk assessments and policies.
interactive activities, ranging from scavenger hunts, bingo and ‘how to draw’ tutorials to tours, quizzes, memory games and physical challenges. The sessions have had a positive mental and physical impact
During the scavenger hunt, I used the stairs more in one night than I did for a whole week!
on both the young people and staﬀ. “It was great seeing everyone through Zoom,” said one member. “During the scavenger hunt, I used the stairs more in one night than I did for a whole week!” DYG is for young people in years 6, 7, 8 and 9, though young people from Year 10 and over can join the volunteer team. If you’re interested in joining contact Julia on 07546 059061 or email@example.com
Led by the members themselves, the virtual sessions have included a variety of Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020 17
Contractors to H.M. Government
Scrap Metal Collection Free Metal Dump We Buy in Metal Why not pop down and see what we have from nuts and bolts to picks and shovels, buckets and spades, tools and hardware from racking and shelves, benches to kitchenware and cutlery. Items to recycle from vintage to retro.
Open 8.30am-4pm Weekdays 8.30am-noon Saturdays Call us on 01379 642983 Oxford House, Mission Road Diss IP22 4HX firstname.lastname@example.org
18 Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020
Keeping Diss moving We all know that walking and cycling is
People need to feel safe on the roads,
good for us. And it’s good for the
especially families with young children,
environment too. Already a popular sport,
school children cycling to school and those
more people took to their bikes during
with disabilities. There need to be clear
lockdown, when less cars were on the
cycle routes, safe cycle parking and
road. Walking too, became a daily lifeline
walkways that are well maintained and
for many in isolation due to COVID-19.
signposted.” The survey, which closed recently having had nearly 1000 responses from people living in and around Diss, invited comments on a range of transport issues, including whether or not people wanted to see the centre of Diss made more pedestrian friendly. “The results, which comprised not only statistical data but also hundreds of comments, are currently being
At the end of July this year, the Council
analysed, and some clear themes are
launched its Diss District Neighbourhood
emerging,” confirms Cllr Burn.
Plan (DDNP) Issues & Options Community Consultation Survey. Mindful of the timely shift towards a more healthy and active lifestyle since lockdown, the safety and provision of footpaths and cycleways featured highly in the survey.
Traﬃc and safety for pedestrians and cyclists is a major issue in Diss and the surrounding parishes.
“We know that traﬃc and safety for
“From this evidence, we can include policies
pedestrians and cyclists is a major issue in
in the plan that encourage sustainable
Diss and the surrounding parishes,” states
transport and support linked-up routes and
the chair of the DDNP, Cllr David Burn. “This
safer networks across the area.”
is why we devoted a large section to getting
To track the development of the plan and
around the area on foot, on a bike and in a
view the survey results when they’re
car in our recent Issues & Options
Community Consultation Survey.
Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020 19
On the pitch
The year has seen a major impact due to
Our First Team started last season strongly,
the COVID-19 outbreak. Our leisure
but a dip in form from around Christmas
activities of football, small-sided football,
meant that there was no chance of securing
youth football coaching and clubhouse
one of the four promotion places that were
parties came to an abrupt halt in mid-
on oﬀer. The season was eventually
March. Small-sided football and eleven-a-
deemed null and void, with four promotion
side football were able to restart on 1st
places available again in the 2020/21
August. Other activities, however, will not be
season. A ‘lucky draw’ entry was secured for
able to restart until government guidance
the FA Cup, with the first match taking place
on Tuesday 1st September (a 1-0 win against Framlingham Town). A later start to
There has been an adverse financial impact
the season means that there will be more
on the club during the last five months.
midweek matches and cup competitions
However, grants and support from central
may be suspended for the season.
government, South Norfolk District Council, Sport England, the Football Foundation and
Our Reserve Team were in with a good
Greene King Brewery have been a massive
chance of winning the Reserve League
help to ensure that our facilities will be
when the season was halted and declared
available once guidance allows. This will
null and void. Our Thurlow Nunn Youth
allow the organisations that use the club for
League Under-18 team were heading for a
meetings and presentations, fundraising
second place finish when the season was
events, staﬀ parties and private family
halted and declared null and void.
parties to return to our excellent facilities – bookings can be made on 01379 651223.
Tony Collins Honorary Treasurer Diss FC
20 Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020
Picture perfect Tina Ewart has more than a soft spot for Diss. Born and brought up in the town, she’s lived here all of her life. And worked locally too. Starting out as a firefighter for the Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service, she’s spent the past 30+ years working as a truck driver for Smurfit Kappa. And she’s recently added another string to her bow….world-renowned photographer. “When I reached 30 years’ service with Smurfit Kappa I was given a long-service award,” says Tina. “I thought carefully about what I should do with the money. But there was really no question. I had to buy a camera.”
but also by people as far away as Australia,” says Tina. “I’ve been contacted by people who used to live here or visit. Looking at my photos brings back lots of fond memories for them. I get a thrill from taking a good
Going through Roydon, I saw a sheep with the sunrise in the background and I just had to stop and capture it.
From Diss to Oz
the local and national press (including ITV),
Photography was something that had always interested Tina. And since buying the camera she hasn’t looked back. Self-taught and highly motivated, Tina joined online photography groups locally and worldwide. Learning from others and through her own experiences, her photos of Diss have gained her a reputation as a quality photographer in her own community and also further afield. “My photos of Diss have been picked up by
photo, but I also love it when photos I’ve taken mean something to people.” Making the front cover Eyes wide open for the next great photo opportunity, Tina carries her camera wherever she goes. Which is how she managed to capture the great pic we’ve used on the cover of our magazine. “My cat, Mongo, was recently diagnosed with diabetes. I had to take him to the vet really early one morning. On my way, going through Roydon, I saw a sheep with the sunrise in the background and I just had to stop and capture it. Luckily, Mongo was understanding!” Look out for more of Tina’s fantastic shots on our Diss Town Council website (diss.gov.uk).
Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020 21
Out and about An exhibition by you We love photos. Particularly photos of our beautiful town. And who better to capture the true heart of Diss than you, the people who live and work here? So, we set you a theme and you rose to the challenge.
ing walk by Jane
A peaceful even
Serenity by Gemm
Olde tyme Diss on film 22 Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020
by Robert Rogers
Autumn at the
ost mere by Julie Fr
keyhole by Ti na
y by Tracy Keat
Diss morning sk
Our beautiful mere
The mere durin
g lockdown by
by Janice Garman
Rachel Farrow Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020 23
Mysteries of the mere Saxon for ‘ditch of standing water’, Diss
Mystery no 2: What lurks beneath its
takes its name from the mere that forms
the heart of the town. Just 60ft deep
A favourite destination for anglers, the
(with 40ft of mud), the 5 to 6-acre “ditch”
mere is home to over 50,000 fish, including
may be small, but it holds many
crucian carp, tench, roach, rudd and
mysteries in its waters.
perch. Despite being well-stocked, its fish are elusive and diﬃcult to see. Watch
Mystery no 1: How was it formed?
quietly for movement on the surface of
According to ancient folklore, the mere
the water and you may catch a glimpse.
was a bottomless pit formed in the crater
But fish aren’t the lake’s only inhabitants.
of an extinct volcano. Geology, however,
The mere’s also housed a few more
suggests it was created by a glacier retreat
extraordinary items over
back in the last Ice Age. Or, perhaps, a clay-
the years including: a
filled depression formed out of the chalk
£20 note, an acrylic cast
which sits around 100 feet below the
of a human head and a
surface. The truth? Nobody knows for sure.
122lb (55kg) 8ft catfish.
24 Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020
Mystery no 3: What grows on its banks?
Mystery no 4: Whose wings grace its
Being a large body of fairly still water, the
mere suits many delicate aquatic plants.
The mere is home to a wide variety of
Look carefully along the areas on or near
waterfowl. Best-known for its ducks, many
the banks and you’ll discover an unusual
other birds can be seen living and nesting
mix of plants ranging from hoary willow
around the water’s edge. From the Canada
herb to the common reed and yellow iris.
goose to the coot, the great crested grebe
to the grey heron, mallards to moorhens
The mere’s housed a few extraordinary items over the years including: a £20 note, an acrylic cast of a human head and a 122lb (55kg) 8ft catfish.
and the mute swan, there’s a lively community of birds that make the mere their home.
Did you know? Feeding wilds birds too many carbohydrates (such as bread) eventually leads to obesity, which in turn makes them sluggish and unable to fly. This makes it harder for them to evade predators such as foxes and dogs. Wild ducks and waterfowl will live longer, healthier lives eating natural food such as aquatic plants, grasses and insects. If you want to feed the birds on the mere, try deseeded grapes cut in half, cracked corn, oats or other grains or frozen peas or sweetcorn that’s been defrosted. If you can, please give them food out of the water and from the park side of the mere (to stop the pigeons from nabbing the grub!).
Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020 25
Keeping art alive The therapeutic benefits of art are well
challenges, such as drawing the view from
recognised. But when COVID-19 hit, most
your window, a kitchen cupboard item or
art and craft groups were forced to close.
doodling. Members could then share the
Without the regular companionship and
results of their work in a positive forum to
inspiration provided by face-to-face
workshops, many attendees were left feeling isolated. However, with a bit of creative thinking and a lot of commitment, our community has discovered new ways of keeping art alive and kicking. Keep doing what you love Julie Filmer is a textile artist living in the Diss
This has really shown how important it is to keep on doing the things that you love, despite the changes and challenges that life may throw at you.
area. In January 2020, she set up an art/craft
“Some members were just happy to connect
group (Arty Crafty Tuesdays) that met on
with others, while some took on the
Tuesday mornings at The Space in Burston.
challenges with gusto and produced some
They were just getting into their stride when
lovely drawings and crafted items. This has
really shown how important it is to keep on doing the things that you love, despite the changes and challenges that life may throw at you. And the need to connect with others who share similar interests to keep a healthy mind.” Feel better together And Julie’s endeavours didn’t stop there. “I heard about an initiative called Better Together and immediately saw another way of reaching out,” says Julie. Better Together helps people set up projects that bring communities together. It
lockdown began and put a halt to their
also oﬀers information and support to
collaborative sharing sessions.
ensure people make the most of activities
“It became apparent, after a few weeks of
and opportunities in their area.
isolation, that there was a need for
In partnership with Better Together and
members to get drawing, painting and
Harleston Information Plus, Julie set up a
crafting again,” says Julie. “So I formed a
Facebook page called ‘Arty Crafty Norfolk’.
Facebook group where I could set 26 Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020
“Just like my Tuesday group, Arty Crafty
the last few months, so we’ve been keen to
Norfolk has the same positive and inclusive
support people, like Julie, who have found
approach to arts and crafts, where anyone -
other ways of connecting people. We look
regardless of age and ability - can share
forward to doing more of this.
their work,” says Julie. “There are also fun activities, ideas and competitions for adults
Want to find out more?
For more information about Arty Crafty Tuesdays or Arty Crafty Norfolk contact Julie
And Julie’s project isn’t the only one the
on 01379 742704 or email
initiative has supported.
email@example.com. To find
“Whatever people’s ideas are, they can talk
out more about Better Together Norfolk
to us about how we can help make them
phone: 01379 851917 or email
happen,” says Pam Spicer, Outreach Oﬃcer
for the program. “We also have small grants that people can apply for.” “Our aim is to reduce social isolation in rural villages and towns in South Norfolk and Breckland,” says Pam. “We usually bring people together through face-to-face groups. But this hasn’t been possible over
Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020 27
When I see people walking around with a bag of my chips in their hands it always puts a smile on my face.
28 Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020
Image: Tina Ewart
A chip oﬀ the old block As it nears its 100th birthday, Diss’s iconic
Creativity in the face of COVID
Chip Cart has a lot to celebrate. It’s
The mode of transport’s not the only thing
survived two rounds of war rationing, an
that’s evolved over the years. After an
invasion of fast food chains and, most
unprecedented 11-week period of closure
recently, the threat of COVID-19. But,
during the height of COVID-19, the Chip Cart
despite the odds, business has never been
returned with a unique invention that
better according to owner, Simon Reeve.
proved a big hit with regulars. “COVID-19 was the first time we’ve really
Keeping it in the family
stopped serving in over 100 years,” says
Perched at the top of the Market Place in
Simon. “I missed the routine and seeing all
Diss, the Chip Cart has been part of the
of our regulars, so it was great when we
town’s landscape for almost a century. The
were able to reopen.”
culinary creation of Harry and Mary Youngman (Simon’s great
With customer safety a
priority, Simon and his
business started life in
long-serving assistant, his
1921 as ‘Youngman’s Chip
mum Rita Bassett,
Saloon’ and has remained
designed a socially
in the family ever since.
distanced serving system
“My grandparents, Alfred
that made his customers
and Sylvia, took the
business over when my
“I installed a picnic table
two metres from the van to
no longer run it,” says
put people’s orders on,”
Simon. “They had it for a
says Simon. “But I needed
long time - my grandmother, Sylvia, was still
a way to get the orders from the van to the
working on the van well into her 80s! Then,
table. So, I invented a pulley system using a
when I was 19, I was asked if I wanted to
wooden slide, some fishing line and a
pick up the reins.”
couple of baskets!”
From four legs to four wheels
Simon’s chips have become a weekly treat
30 years later and Simon’s still at the reins.
for generations of local families.
The big diﬀerence now is that the reins no
“We have lots of regulars,” says Simon.
longer pull the horse-drawn carts that his
“People turn up every week, just like their
grandparents travelled around on.
parents and grandparents did. They’ve
“My grandparent’s cart was powered by a
grown up on our chips. It’s comfort food
coal fire, equipped with a hand chipper and
really. When I see people walking around
pulled by their faithful horse, Jack,” says
with a bag of my chips in their hands it
always puts a smile on my face. “ Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020 29
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The sweet sound of success 10 years ago, Park Radio started
the volunteers who devote so much time
broadcasting from the basement of
providing a first-class local radio service to
Candies before setting up studio at Diss
the communities we’re licensed to serve.
Youth & Community Centre (DYCC). One
We also couldn’t have kept going without
decade and one pandemic later and it’s
the many listeners, advertisers and
now transmitting much of its output from
supporters who have stuck with us.”
living rooms all across our area. An unusual move? Here’s how it happened…
The station’s mix of music and local news has proved particularly popular with
“We vacated our studios at the DYCC in
listeners during the pandemic.
March when the COVID-19 lockdown was
“Local issues are so important,” said one
announced,” says station manager, Chris
fan. “During the COVID-19 crisis, Park Radio
Moyse. “For the duration of the lockdown
has risen to the challenge of keeping our
we carried on broadcasting either live from
community updated and informed.”
our homes or packaging up programmes remotely for later transmission.”
Plans for the future With its round 2 application for funding
Powered by its 40+ community of
recently approved by OFCOM, the station’s
volunteers, the station’s kept households in
future is looking bright.
Diss, Harleston and Eye connected despite the challenges faced by social distancing.
“We have a busy programme of work in
And while they’re now back in the studio
place,” says Chris. “We plan to expand our
some of the time, many of their
broadcast area so we can reach more
programmes are still being broadcast
listeners across the Waveney Valley. We’re
remotely from presenters’ homes.
hoping to take the show on the road by launching a series of live programmes from
“2020 has been dominated by COVID-19,”
diﬀerent locations. And we’re working on an
says Chris. “But we haven’t let this stop us.
exciting new ‘Friends of Park Radio’
We’ve maintained our upbeat and
informative output throughout.” So, lots to look out for and look forward to. A heroic contribution
Keep in the loop on their website:
A lifeline to many in isolation, the
www.parkradio.co.uk/ or on their Facebook
commitment of the station to keep
broadcasting has been recognised by South
Norfolk Council. “We were all delighted to receive the South Norfolk COVID-19 Community Heroes Award,” says Chris. “It’s meant a lot to all of Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020 31
The great outdoors COVID-19 put life in perspective. With
understood that the boundary belt of trees
most shops and entertainment venues
was originally planted for the Taylor family’s
closed, the great outdoors became the go-
to place for rejuvenation and relaxation.
Some of the boundary belt still exists on
Rich in green spaces and abundant in
public land but, while some of the original
wildlife, our community has lots to oﬀer
trees have survived, the area has been
those keen to walk on the wild side.
extremely neglected. “We’ve run several volunteer working
Diss’s Green Promenade takes shape
parties to put in new fencing and plant new
A green walkway has been slowly taking
trees. There’s also a stumpery which should
shape over the year for the residents of Diss
attract wildlife and help the biodiversity of
to enjoy. With support from Diss Town
the area,” says David Whatley from Parish
Council, work has begun to reform a
Fields Friends, a group formed to help
walkway running alongside the car park
protect local green spaces. “There’s still lots to do though, so if you’d like to help in any way – wielding a spade or raking up leaves, we’d be delighted to see you.” If you’re interested you can contact Parish Fields Friends through Facebook or email email@example.com Bringing nature closer Over in Palgrave another environmental facelift’s underway. Committed to bringing the natural world closer to residents, volunteers are transforming a neglected section of the community centre playing field into a species-rich, wildflower meadow. “The establishment of a wildflower meadow will take time, but will oﬀer a diverse and
adjacent to the health centre and behind
attractive habitat,” says volunteer and
the Heritage Triangle car park.
trustee Phil Dyer. “Plant diversity attracts
This is no new path, however, but the
insects, butterflies and bees, birds and
restoration of part of the historic walkway
mammals. And the flowering species will
around the publicly owned section of The
add a changing palate of colour to our local
Lawn, otherwise known as Parish Fields.
environment throughout the seasons.”
Landscaped in late Georgian times, it’s
32 Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020
A group of volunteers has completed an initial clearance of the site. They’re now awaiting local authority funding to continue preparing the ground. Managed by a small working group reporting to the Palgrave and District Community Centre Trustees, the team is keen for residents to get involved. “Active involvement of the local community will encourage ownership,” says Phil. “There are lots of opportunities for education and recreation (from nature studies to art lessons) and we’re encouraging people to actively help with the ongoing planning and
All-weather walkers Fancy getting fresh air and exercise in the company of others? Why not hook up with a Health Walk?
management of the site as we progress.”
Independent of other organisations, the group is relaxed
If you’d like to get involved, either helping
“We walk throughout the year in all weathers,” says group
prepare the site or giving input into the future management, the working group would love to talk to you. Contact Phil Dyer at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ian McClintock at email@example.com for more info. You can also track progress of the project through The Palgrave Star or at
and informal and open to everyone. leader, Betty Whatley. “We didn’t even stop for the pandemic; keeping safe distances and being considerate of others. We meet every Thursday at 10.30am, walks are usually between 3 and 4.5 miles, and we tend to alternate between the town and local villages.” You can find a list of walks at The Corn Hall, Diss Library, Morrison’s, Tesco and Diss Town Council noticeboards and the health centre. Or ring Betty Whatley on 01379 642249.
Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020 33
Pick up your copy of The Official Diss Town Guide 2020-21 Available from Diss Town Council offices or from Falcon Publications 01379 773347
Thereâ€™s so much more in store for you!
34 Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020
Climb every mountain From equipping a ground-breaking mountaineering expedition to facing oﬀ a global pandemic, Norfolk Feather Company continues to conquer every challenge it faces. At the heart of its success? Its people and its products. From Norfolk to Nepal It’s been in Diss for almost 50 years and in business for over 90, but few locals know
Company proved to be just as resilient and
about Norfolk Feather Company’s rich
robust as its altitude-defying jackets.
“COVID-19 has been a huge challenge for
2020 marks the 45th anniversary of us being an Oﬃcial Supplier of the 1975 British Mount Everest Southwest Face expedition.
us,” says Peter. “But our people have worked eﬃciently and flexibly throughout. Some have been based on site; working long hours to make sure orders are manufactured and shipped on time. Others have worked from home, taking orders and maintaining communication with
In 1975 Dougal Haston and Doug Scott
customers. Thanks to them, we’ve been
became the first Britons to reach the
able to support all of our customers,
summit of the world's highest mountain,
despite the impact of the pandemic.”
Mount Everest. Led by Sir Chris Bonington, the team was equipped with the best gear
Local sourcing, global outlook
worldwide. Including feather-filled jackets
Looking ahead, the company has big plans.
all the way from Diss.
“New product branding and packaging
“2020 marks the 45th anniversary of us
concepts are in place and will be presented
being an Oﬃcial Supplier of the 1975 British
to the market very soon,” says Peter. “We’re
Mount Everest Southwest Face expedition,”
proud of our heritage, of the quality of our
says Peter Crellen, CEO of Norfolk Feather
products and of our commitment to local
Company. “The jackets worn by the climbers
sourcing. All of this will become an
were all made by Wycombe Feather (our
important part of our future as we take our
previous business name) at our Feather Mill
oﬀer out to higher and wider levels.”
site in Diss.” Production through a pandemic Fast forward to 2020 and, when coronavirus hit, the workers at Norfolk Feather Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020 35
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Call us now on 01379 890 606 or email firstname.lastname@example.org www.malthouse-security.co.uk
36 Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020
Preserving the past On 1 Jan 2026, historic routes in England
• An interest in local history
that aren’t properly recorded will be lost
• Interpretation of old documents and
to the public forever. Part of Project 2026,
The British Horse Society (BHS) is looking
• An eye for detail
for people to volunteer time and skills to
• Problem solving
identify and register these routes before
it’s too late. What will you be doing? 2026 research can be done as and when you have the time and energy. It could involve some or all of the following: • Identifying routes and carrying out research from home using online resources •
Visiting your County Records Oﬃce and other archives to gather evidence
Walking or riding routes and putting
Completing and submitting forms as part
notices up on them To meet this challenge the BHS has received funding from Sport England to safeguard as
of the Definitive Map Modification Order
many bridleways and byways as possible. It
will do this by oﬀering training, advice, support and financial
What help will you receive?
assistance to volunteers
You will receive support from a dedicated
who are researching and
2026 project manager as well as technical
making applications to
support and help from a wider community
their local authority to
of volunteers. You will be covered by Public
record these historic
Liability Insurance and receive ongoing
training covering the basics of rights of way, the interpretation of historical evidence,
Who are they looking for?
mapping and research. Financial assistance
You don’t need to be a member of BHS – or
will be given to volunteers to help cover
even an equestrian – to take part. They are
expenses incurred in the submission of an
keen to hear from volunteers with a range
eligible Definitive Map Modification Order.
of skills and abilities including: • Computer literacy, with access to the internet • Map reading skills
How to get involved? To register, please contact the Volunteer Support Team at email@example.com Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020 37
38 Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020
Trained to care The care industry is under pressure. Care workers are in high demand but, with restrictions in place due to COVID-19, training and retaining the right people is challenging. Unable to upskill individuals using traditional face-to-face methods, First Choice Home Care adapted its approach. “We’ve been training our own staﬀ for over eight years,” says Jean Knappit, First
training new people into the care sector,
Choice’s Online Training Administrator.
existing staﬀ members can keep up-to-date
“When COVID-19 hit, we adapted our
with mandatory refresher training.
training immediately to deliver it online.” With the presence of COVID-19 still a threat,
“We’re passionate about this situation
the care sector needs to attract new,
because as an industry we are already
enthusiastic individuals to meet growing
under great pressure,” says Jean. “Working
demand for its services. But, delivering a
in care is tough and it’s not for everyone.
compelling training programme online
Our training manager can take a novice to
requires a unique approach.
NVQ level 2 covering all 15 standards in
“E-learning packages can put people oﬀ if
not delivered or designed with the user in
“We’ve met the challenge of delivering
mind,” says Jean. “Some new courses that
COVID-compliant training with a high
have been rushed out since COVID-19 are
completion rate. Our new challenge is
more damaging than helpful. Large
letting colleagues across this sector know
numbers are pulling out mid-way or within
about our oﬀer so they can keep staﬃng
their first few days of shadowing. For new
and skill levels high. And meet future
starters particularly, the compulsory
challenges the pandemic might present
induction training which takes three days
with a resilient and robust workforce.”
can be intense. Without support, interaction and reassurance we risk losing the attention
For more information email
of the youngsters we’re trying to attract.”
firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01953 667950 or 07593 855365 or visit:
First Choice Home Care’s not-for-profit
courses start at £50 per person which covers the amount required to deliver the programme. As well as attracting and
Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020 39
Denny Day Centre reopens its doors The COVID-19 pandemic has been diﬃcult
ensure a safe return for both staﬀ and
for everyone, but particularly the most
vulnerable in our community. With many
“The health, safety and wellbeing of our
support networks and services
colleagues and customers has always been
temporarily closed, customers and carers
our priority,” says Laura Edgar. “Throughout
were left without support. But, after a
the pandemic, our care and support
diﬃcult few months, care is once again
services have adhered to government and
back in the community. Run by Empanda
public health guidelines. Working closely
Care & Support Ltd CIC, Denny Day Centre
with Norfolk and Suﬀolk county councils
is reopening its doors and couldn’t be
we’ve been busy getting our centres ready
to reopen. We’re excited to be welcoming our customers back and meeting new customers.” With over 90 staﬀ, Empanda Care & Support Ltd CIC provides a range of care and support services across Norfolk and Suﬀolk. Anyone interested in coming along will first receive a home visit to help customers learn more
Located in Thomas Manning Road, Diss,
about what the service can oﬀer and help
Denny Day Centre had to close at the end of
staﬀ find out about new customers; their
March, just a few weeks after opening its doors for the first time in two years. This left many of its customers and their carers without the support and respite they’d come to rely on. “Many of our customers live alone,” says Laura Edgar, Day Care Services Manager.
We’re excited to be welcoming our customers back and meeting new customers joining us for the first time.
“Others live with a family carer. We give our
interests, likes, dislikes, health issues and
customers the opportunity to socialise,
requirements. All care and support staﬀ are
meet new people, participate in activities
fully trained and are able to support
and enjoy a nutritious two-course lunch,
customers with personal care needs.
while giving family carers a well-deserved
Enquiries can be made to
break. Our forced closure left those people
email@example.com or by
telephoning 01603 552102 (option 3). More
The team has been working hard to
information on Empanda can be found at www.empanda.org.uk
40 Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020
2020: In it together
There was a young lady of Diss Who cried: “What a year has been this! Who’d have thought at the start It would tear at the heart With memories of all we would miss.
“We know, we need to keep safe We know, we need to keep well The risks are still high But, hard as we try, What’s involved is a pretty hard sell.”
“I remember a time you could pop out for wine Without ever needing to queue You could meet up with friends Mornings, evenings, weekends High days and holidays too.
“That’s all true” said the bright lad in Scole. “2020 has taken its toll. There’s a lot that is sad But it isn’t all bad Because I think we discovered our soul.
“You could go to the pub or head out for grub At a range of choice destinations And sit in a room With your mum (not on Zoom) And party with all your relations.”
“There’s stuﬀ we need to remember The kindness and care being shown The help and support Given to those that fought With demons they’d never before know.
“You’re right!” said the old man of Eye “It’s been tough these few months passing by. I’ve missed all my mates Stuck at home behind gates. Although I totally understand why.
When we take oﬀ the mask I think we should ask For the chance to sit and reflect.
“When the day centre closed I guess I supposed It would be for a week, or two, never more. But months have gone by and, hard as I try, The loneliness is hard to ignore.
To remember a summer Unlike any other When, with lives and liberties lost, Kindness won. And We Just Kept Going.”
A Beacon of Hope, Light & Remembrance is going to be installed in Diss Park. Look out for more information and set your calendars for a special New Year’s Eve lighting ceremony. COVID-19 continues to impact us all. Let’s take time to remember.
Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020 41
FOOT CARE CLINIC
Diss & Surrounding Area
Offering a friendly, conscientious, reliable, competitively priced, local and airport service
Tel: 01379 640506 Mob: 07828 146298
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Open Tuesday to Sunday 10am-4pm 3A VINCES ROAD, DISS IP22 4HG
www.dissemporium.co.uk 42 Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020
(Member of the college of Foot Health Professionals)
Richard Walpole Roofing • New Roofs • Re Roofs • Roof Repairs • Leadwork • Chimneys Repointed • Fascia, Soffit and Guttering FULLY INSURED
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We are delighted to be working with our partners in the region bringing you a locally manufactured product in HollowďŹ bre and luxury Duck Feather & Down. Your local stockist at https://shop.norfolk-feather.co.uk/pages/stockists
Diss Matters Autumn-Winter 2020 43
SPECIALISTS IN THE SUPPLY AND INSTALLATION OF NEW AND REPLACEMENT WINDOWS, DOORS, CONSERVATORIES AND ROOFLINE
Free surveys and estimates. Supply only or supply and install. For friendly advice and a competitive price, call 01379 677730
E: firstname.lastname@example.org. uk W: www.moultonwindows.co.uk Orchard Farm, Great Moulton, Norwich, NR15 2HA
Diss Matters - Autumn / Winter 2020