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Issue 171 December 2015


Diss & Attleborough Award Winning Landscaping and Design

2016 Excursions Elvis at the O2 - Exhibition of His Life - Sat 9th Jan - £51 incl Mystery Tour with Fish & Chips - Tues 19th Jan - £32 incl Snowdrops at Chippenham Park - Sat 13th Feb - £22 incl The Creative Craft Show, Essex - Sat 13th Feb - £30 incl Mystery Tour with Afternoon Tea - Tues 16th Feb - 32 incl Mothers Day Lunch - Sun 6th Mar - £33 incl Crufts, NEC Birmingham - Sun 13th Mar - £28 Ideal Home Show, Earls Court - Sun 27th Mar - £28 Senior & child may apply

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02 | December 2015

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Issue 170 Your community magazine

Find us at: Queens House, Queens Square Attleborough, Norfolk, NR17 2AE Dispatch Magazine would like to thank all those who have contributed to this issue.

Editor Jonathan Horswell Advertising Editorial

DispatchMag @Dispatch_Mag

for Permanent & Temporary Recruitment Quality People continue to provide a recruitment

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service for the towns of Attleborough, Dereham, Diss, Thetford, Watton & Wymondham plus the surrounding areas throughout Breckland & South Norfolk. Telephone: 01953 4 536 4 4 Email: Find us at: Queens House, Queens Square, Attleborough, Norfolk, NR17 2AE

© Dispatch Magazine Disclaimer: No part of this magazine may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means, either wholly or in part, without the prior written permission of the Publisher. The views expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the Publisher. Every effort is taken to ensure that the contents of this magazine are accurate, but the Publisher can not assume any responsibility for errors or omissions. Whilst reasonable care is taken when accepting advertisements the Publisher will not accept any resulting unsatisfactory transactions. They will, however, immediately investigate any written complaints. The Publishers reserve the right to amend such submissions and cannot accept responsibility for any loss.

2015 December | 03

DISS Diss Museum No Room for Mistakes In 2013 Diss Museum helped Norwegian author Geirr H. Haarr with some research. He was writing a book about submarine warfare and had heard that Diss had some information. We sent him a disk made from an audio tape of Joe Brighton describing his life aboard HMS Porpoise, which he gratefully acknowledged. We thought no more of it until a copy of the book, No Room For Mistakes, arrived in October 2015. Published by Seaforth Publishing and selling at £35, the book is an account of British and Allied submarine warfare in World War Two. The author had used extensive quotes from the tape. In the

Foreword he said: “Basil Abbott, manager at Diss Museum in Norfolk, is warmly thanked for his enthusiastic assistance.” Joe Brighton was a Torpedo Gunner’s Mate and spoke vividly about life in a submarine. “I have often been asked what it was like during a depth charge attack. It was bloody awful. Inside the submarine, when the attacking vessel was in firm contact, a prolonged, repeated ‘piiing-ging’ like a mighty tuning fork could be heard. This was no comfort to us at all. All we could do was wait and take what was coming to us. We could plainly hear the propellers of the attacking ship as it came in for the attack. We could hear the depth charges as they were thrown in the

water and just had to wait for the crashing explosions that followed. The structural strain (on the hull of boat during the explosion of a depth charge nearby) transmits itself to the human body almost as an electric shock, causing the same kind of vibrations.”

occasion after a heavy depth charge attack, the Skipper would ask the cox’n, ‘What’s the state of the rum jars, cox’n?’ He would always reply: ‘Two jars cracked, sir. We will have to break them off.’ This of course meant an unofficial ‘splicing the main brace’.”

He had fond memories of the rum issue of 1/8 of a pint per man. “This was more precious to us than the Crown Jewels. Several of the Junior lads had no taste for the stuff, which was just as well. Bottling the stuff was against naval regulations, but more or less condoned in naval circles as the lesser of two evils. The bottled rum was used as currency to get favours done later. On more than one

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2015 December | 05

DISS Sound Sleep Beds How can you ensure a good night’s sleep? Like proper nutrition, a balanced diet and exercise, sleep plays a vital role in keeping our bodies healthy and happy. We need a good night’s sleep to ensure we are feeling fit, thinking sharply and to generally give us the appetite and enthusiasm to make the most of everyday living.

more vulnerable to infections and metabolic and hormone changes which have the same effect on your body as ageing.

What most people don’t realise is that poor sleep and fatigue are the biggest issues that affect millions of people worldwide.

According to the University of British Columbia, the average person that requires eight hours sleep per night, just losing one hour of sleep can lower your IQ by one point the following day. Reduce this to a whole week of six hour nights could lose you 15 points. Sleep is important for the body and mind!

When sleep deprivation mounts up, people start feeling tired during the day time which affects our ability to make decisions and helps us make mistakes, have shorter tempers and can make us have slower reflexes. With many of us driving on the roads, this can have devastating effects.

This time of year can be the most stressful time of year, Christmas is fast approaching, the mornings and dark and the nights even darker! With December being party season also, the late nights, copious amounts of alcohol and over indulging on food is likely to cause sleep disruption.

The number one key to a good night’s sleep is ROUTINE. Keeping regular hours and going to bed and getting up at the same time every day will help program the body to sleep better.

It is very important to keep that routine all year and even more so during the festive season. If you feel that you are not getting the rest you need, follow these tips and see how much better you feel.

Research from all over the world, confirms that a comfortable, uninterrupted seven or eight hours sleep each night can help reduce stress, boost your mood, your physical and mental performance, cure a wide range of aches and pains as well as slowing down the aging process.

Create a restful environment. Keep you bedroom at a comfortable temperature and as quiet and dark as possible. Turn off that iPhone, vibrations and flashes through the night will disturb your you and in your subconscious you will think about that message you’ve just received.

A lack of sleep suppresses your immune system making you

Exercise. We all hate it, but regular exercise will help relieve

06 | December 2015

the day’s stresses and strains. Consider taking a walk or going swimming. Cut out stimulants. Tea, coffee and sugary drinks in the evening will interfere with you falling asleep. Try a nice herbal tea or a milky drink instead. Smoking also can take you longer to get to sleep, smokers tend to wake more often through the night. Don’t over indulge. Too much food or alcohol before bed could disrupt your sleep. Alcohol does help you pass out, but will no doubt interrupt your sleep during the night. Relax. Turn off the television before bed and have some relaxation time. Read a book, have a warm bath or listen to some music. This could help relax you before bed. Remembering to turn off that phone! Don’t worry. Easily said, but laying in bed worrying about jobs you need to do tomorrow will keep you awake, tossing and turning. Have you considered writing a list before bed, all your jobs are on paper and you can cross them off one by one giving you satisfaction. Don’t sleep on an argument. Conflicts are not conducive to putting you in the right frame of mind for sleep. Comfortable Bed. One of the most important factors in a good night’s sleep is your bed. In Sleep Council research, 79% of people saw a direct link between the way they sleep

and how they feel the next day. Astonishingly, only 11% thought that there might be any link between their bed and sleep. It is recommended that your bed should be change at least every seven years, this will ensure you maintain comfort and support every single night. If your bed feels uncomfortable before seven years, look to change it! Did you know that your bed may have deteriorated by as much as 70% from it’s as new state after seven years? Research also showed that beds as little as six years old could offer significantly less support and comfort than a new one, thanks to wear and tear, not just from body weight and movement but from sweat and debris too. A comfortable and supportive bed is important to assist in achieving those eight, uninterrupted hours. At Sound Sleep, we are fully trained mattress specialists who are able to give you advice on which mattresses are suitable to your needs. We have over 100 beds on display in store and with all the latest mattress technology available we are best placed locally to help aid a good night’s sleep and hopefully make your dreams come true.

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DISS Jackamans Solicitors Last Christmas? “When you first took my hand On a cold Christmas Eve You promised me Broadway was waiting for me You were handsome You were pretty Queen of New York City… …We kissed on a corner then danced through the night” - The Pogues, Fairytale of New York Sadly, this well-known Christmas song from The Pogues moves on to a less romantic scenario with the couple arguing. This can sometimes reflect the reality of family life over the festive season rather more than the traditional carols, which often paint an idealised picture of happy families sitting around a roaring fire with a sparkling Christmas tree.

When the arguments aren’t just about who has the turkey breast, or who packed away the Christmas tree lights badly last year, Christmas can add intolerable stress to an already difficult home situation. All too often, the solution is seen to be a visit to a solicitor in the New Year. It may seem strange for a family lawyer to say this, but divorce or separation is not necessarily your first (or best) option. That may well be the appropriate way forward. Sometimes, though, all that is needed, is to take a step back and make time to think and discuss the problems with your partner. It is unlikely to be productive for such discussion to take place in front of your children or other family members, nor in the heat of the moment without the opportunity to reflect.

Ideally seek assistance to make the best of your discussions. Family counsellors or mediators are well placed to help. It is important to choose someone who has experience and training with family issues, rather than someone who already knows the family, as neutrality and objectivity are both vital. The last thing needed, is someone who may take sides. Unfortunately, all too often, one party or the other says “no” to counselling or mediation when the suggestion is first made, don’t be that person! Left unresolved, hairline cracks in a relationship can become unbridgeable chasms, making home life unbearable for everybody in the family. During the Christmas break, counselling support will not be available immediately so whether

it is a long-standing problem in the relationship that is coming to a head, or a recent crisis, try not to make any hasty decisions in the heat of the moment which you may later regret. You may find it is helpful to direct your energy into researching the help that is available. Useful websites are www., www.cafcass., and www.familymediationcouncil. Of course, if you would like to see a family solicitor in the New Year, we will be here to help. The subject matter of this article aside, Jackamans would like to wish you all a very happy Christmas and New Year. Contact claire.kean@jackamans. or call 01379 643555.

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08 | December 2015

DISS East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) Show you care this Christmas Christmas is a time for giving, for helping others, for spending quality time with loved ones and for having fun, so it’s the perfect time to show you care this Christmas and support your local children’s hospice charity – East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH). There’s plenty to see and do this Christmas across Norfolk to support EACH – here’s some ideas: • Norwich Santa Run Hundreds of Santas will descend on Eaton Park on Sunday 6th December for the first ever EACH Norwich Santa Run to raise funds for the nook appeal. The event will see participants running 2km dressed in full Santa garb to raise valuable funds. Adult entry is £10 and includes a Santa suit, while child entry (13 years and under) is £6 and includes a Santa hat. You can enter here: uk/santarun • New EACH Norwich shop opening Join us at 10am on Friday 11th December for the grand opening of our new Norwich shop at 321b Aylsham Road. Come and enjoy refreshments and hunt for bargains in our new flagship shop stocked full of high quality items

including clothing, bric-a-brac, books, toys, jewellery, DVDs/ CDs, household linens, retro and vintage clothes and electrical items. We’re also looking for volunteers to help run the shop and always need high quality donated items to sell. For more information, please contact the shop on (01603) 301475. • Family Christmas carol services across Norfolk where everyone is welcome. North Norfolk Service Gresham’s Chapel, Holt, 7pm, Tuesday 15th December South Norfolk Service - Diss Methodist Church, Diss, 7pm, Wednesday 16th December Norwich Service - St Andrews Church, Eaton, 7pm, Thursday 17th December There will be a retiring collection in aid of EACH at these services. • Santa Skydive in conjunction with EACH and The Lennox Children’s Cancer Fund. Is a skydive on your bucket list? Are you brave enough to jump out of a plane at over a thousand feet to support EACH? Why not enjoy the thrill of a tandem skydive dressed as Santa or what a great Christmas present for your loved one! The skydive takes place at

Beccles Airfield, Ellough and is organised by UK Parachuting who also provide the Santa Suits. You can take part on Friday 11th, Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th December. To book your place call (01502) 476131, email or visit: • We’re now selling EACH gift cards online: support-us/online-store and in all EACH shops: shops and can be bought as a charitable gesture from yourself or as a present for someone this Christmas. They’re available in the following denominations: £5 – which could pay art supplies for a session of art therapy. £10 – which could pay for a nursing care kit. £20 – which could pay for a support group for siblings. £35 – which could pay for an hour of care. Volunteering We’re looking for volunteers right across Norfolk to help us continue our vital fundraising work. It’s a great way to make new friends, learn new skills or hone existing ones while helping to raise awareness and funds. Roles include, but not limited to, attending cheque presentations, talks and events on our behalf, helping with bucket collections and administration. Full training will be given. Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organisation and make a profound difference to

the work we do – we simply couldn’t achieve what we do without them. Carol Plunkett, EACH Norfolk Fundraising Manager, said: “Here at EACH we’re really excited about the festive period and all the fantastic events, fundraising and volunteering opportunities we have taking place across Norfolk. “There really is something for everyone and we’re looking forward to seeing as many people as possible to help us celebrate Christmas and raise valuable funds to ensure we can continue to deliver vital care and support to life-threatened children, young people and their families across Norfolk. “We’re always looking for support, so please get in touch, and show you care this Christmas – thank you.” There are many more events across Norfolk and details can be found at: events and for more information contact the EACH Norfolk Fundraising office: East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH), Suite 5, The Old Dairy, Elm Farm Business Park, Norwich Common, Wymondham, Norfolk, NR18 0SW. Tel: 01953 666767 email: web: Twitter: @EACH_Norfolk Facebook: /thenookappeal

2015 December | 09

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ATTLEBOROUGH Kerry Butcher Accountancy Services There is lots going on in the world of tax and finance at the moment It’s Christmas! Now don’t worry – I am not about to burst into a very out of tune rendition of Slade or even an emotional “Do they know it’s Christmas?” The fact does remain however, that it is December and that does mean that Christmas is looming. Now we have all been moaning for months that the shops get started on Christmas earlier and earlier each year, some had their wrapping paper and Christmas cards out on display in August when we were all still thinking about our summer holidays, but now it really is the season of goodwill but also the season of hardly any money left after I bought all the Christmas presents and organised a few meals out. Every year lots of our clients here at KBA ask us the question “what can I claim for entertaining”. The answer to that question is always the same, very little indeed. The fact is HMRC are wise to the old adage of taking the family out for a meal at the local pub and putting it down as entertaining clients. Sadly this just won’t work any longer. Rules on entertaining and staff entertaining are very strict – you can pay for your staff to have a Christmas meal at the business expense, but you can’t pay for all and sundry to join in. Make sure that you don’t get caught out this year – because if you pay for lots of gifts and outings from your business account, the chances are that your accountant will simply mark these as private and you won’t get any tax relief on them in your accounts. Even if they are included within your accounts on the profit and loss page, look carefully because there is a very good chance that these have been added back as disallowed on the tax computation that accompanies your tax return. If you are unsure what is allowable and what isn’t,

why not come and talk to us. We want to help you get the most from your business and we don’t want you to end up having to pay back a large directors loan if you are a limited company, or have a large amount showing as drawings if you are a sole trader. Hopefully Christmas will also mean that you can take some much needed time off to be with your family and friends over the festive period. If you run your own business, make sure you don’t get caught out with the payroll though, the real time submissions still need to be submitted and the fines are now fully in place, so make sure that everything is up to date before you leave for your festive jolly. Here at KBA we will be closed for a short time over the festive break, but fear not, we will make sure that all the payrolls are completely up to date before we leave and the Christmas Elf (that will be me then) will be in over the Christmas period to file any real time submissions that are due and can’t be submitted early.

meaning no nasty lump sum to find by 31 January. If you submit your tax return after 31 Dec, it is too late; the amount has to be paid as a lump sum. Another good reason to bring in your information early and get your tax return submitted. Finding a lump sum of the tax man in January is never a pleasant thought, especially when you have just splashed out on Christmas, had a break from work (possibly unpaid if you are self employed) and you couldn’t turn down a bargain in the January sales. Finally, it seems that more and more people are deciding to “go it alone” and breaking from their job with an employer and instead going out there and setting up on their own. This is always an exciting time but there is also so much to think about and plan. One of the main decisions initially is what entity you decide on. Should you be a limited company, a partnership or start

as a sole trader? As with most things there are advantages and disadvantages to all options and it is really important to decide what is best for you and your business. If you are considering starting out in business, why not come and have a chat with us first. Our free initial consultation can last up to an hour and we can run through all the pros and cons, how to pay yourself, payroll, VAT, tax, allowable expenses and anything else that you think of. Why not give us a call or an email – start the New Year as you mean to go on – doing something that you love. However you spend your Christmas and New Year we all at KBA wish you a very happy time. We would like to thank all of our existing clients for their loyalty and support and wish everyone a happy and prosperous 2016. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Of course when we all return from our Christmas and new Year break, then the fun really starts for us here at KBA – because we are then into the “final countdown” – more song lyrics that I promise not to sing. In case anyone has been asleep over the past few months – 31 January 2016 is the final deadline for the submission of your self assessment tax return. But, be careful – if you owe tax in the year to 5 April 2015, the amount is less than £3k in total and you pay tax via PAYE using a tax code – up until 31 December 2015 you can ask for any tax to be added to your tax code for the following tax year. This means that an underpayment restriction is added to your tax code, you pay slightly more tax each week or month when you are paid 2015 December | 11


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ATTLEBOROUGH AB Locksmiths Happy Christmas from AB Locksmiths Happy Christmas There is still time to do your Christmas shopping. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re running out of ideas then you can always buy some half price keys, or take advantage of the discount voucher, which has been extended. Christmas is the time of year we buy nice presents. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also the time of year where burglaries increase in the Attleborough and surrounding areas, so remember to check your doors and windows are locked.

We operate a 24/7 service so make sure you put A B LOCKSMITHS, 07738271863 into your phone for the event of an emergency. We also offer free security surveys to help assess any prevention a that can be made to reduce crime and make sure that you are covered on your home insurance. Wishing you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year. A B Locksmiths.

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2015 December | 13

ATTLEBOROUGH Almary Green Care Fees and Your Home One of the greatest concerns expressed to us is whether a family member going into care will mean that their home must be sold to pay for care fees. Alison Rudd explains the way the rules work. Paying for care is something that many people worry about when they plan ahead for their later years. This isn’t surprising: recent figures quoted by the BBC have shown that the average cost of residential care in the Norfolk County Council area is £522.69 per week. Local Authority help with care fees is currently available to anyone in England with assets of less than £23,250. Owning your own home will almost certainly put you above

the asset threshold, but your home won’t always be counted in the assessment.

Even if your home must be included in the assessment, you won’t automatically have to sell it.

If you have a partner, a child under the age of 18 or a family member who is over 65 or incapacitated living in the property, then your home will not be included in the assessment. However, if none of these apply, and you own your own home, then it will be included and you will be expected to use the value of the home to generate the money to pay for your fees. If you own your home jointly with someone else, then only your share of the value will be taken into account in the assessment. You are given a period of 12 weeks before the cost of the home is taken into account, which gives you time to sell it, if you wish to do so.

Since April 2015, Councils have been obliged to offer what is known as a Deferred Payment Agreement. This is an arrangement whereby the Council will pay your care fees until either the property is sold, or until you die – whichever is soonest. It does give families a bit of breathing space to make decisions about the future of the property, but the money spent by the council on your fees will ultimately have to be repaid: it is a deferral of the fees, not support funding. There may be additional costs to bear in mind too as the Council is likely to charge both a set-up fee for the arrangement and interest on the money it is, in effect, lending to you. It’s worth noting that, under a deferred payment agreement, it is possible to let the house out to tenants and use the rental income to reduce the amount you ask the Council to defer. There are commercial options available too where the value of a property can be prepaid in advance of a future sale, but again there will be fees and interest involved.

14 | December 2015

For those who have the ability to pay for their own care, you can purchase an Immediate Care Plan that provides a top-up to your other income to pay for care fees. Whilst they do require an initial capital sum, they are taxefficient as they are paid direct to the care home so not counted as your income and allow you to limit the erosion of the family’s wealth. The Chancellor announced in his July 2015 Budget that plans to shake up the way that care fees are supported have been deferred until 2020. Although the proposed cap will limit the total amount families will need to pay for care fees, it will only apply to the cost of “personal care”, not to other costs such as accommodation, meals and other services provided by the care home. To discuss any aspect of your financial well-being, contact Alison at alison.rudd@ or call 01603 706740. Alison can be found at the offices of M+A Partners, Cyprus Close, Attleborough most Wednesday and is happy to arrange appointments there or in clients’ own homes.

ATTLEBOROUGH Priory Insurance A look at Motor Insurance Whether you are a convicted driver, young driver, or have limited no claims bonus, we can find the policy cover specific to your requirements. We have negotiated special rates with our panel of Insurers for those careful drivers and special introductory discounts for those without any no claim bonus. We are always able to offer instalment facilities. We deal with many leading UK Insurers and Lloyds Underwriters to provide the best possible quotation and cover for our clients, regardless of the risk. Being totally independent means that we are not tied to a single provider and this allows us access to a range of insurance policies from our panel of carefully selected Insurers.

Why not let us compare the market for you and deal on a personal level with your requirements. Priory Insurance Brokers are a locally owned, independent, professional organisation who have been based in South Norfolk for over 40 years. We would be pleased to provide quotations or advice for you and look forward to receiving your enquiry. For more information, please feel free to call in to our Wymondham Office.

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2015 December | 15

All your unwanted textiles

can be used again, no matter what condition they are in. National research shows that around half the clothes and textiles we throw away end up in landfill, about 350,000 tonnes every year in the UK. It’s such a waste - much, much more could be recycled. Many people think that worn out items are only fit for the bin. In fact holey jumpers, busted bras, odd socks, broken belts, thin sheets, worn out towels, cushion covers, curtains, shoes and boots can all be recycled. These items should never be put in your rubbish bin and go to landfill. It’s bad for our environment, costs us all money and simply isn’t sustainable. Worn out textiles can be recycled into materials like sofa padding or insulation for buildings. Just think, turned into insulation, your old underwear could continue keeping you warm for decades to come. So please don’t throw them away! Bag them up and take them to your local recycling centre or community textiles bank. Many local charity shops will take even your worn out, unwearable textiles because Norfolk County Council pays community organisations recycling credits for the textiles they collect – no matter what condition the items are in. To find your nearest textile recycling point and for more information on how to recycle your textiles go to


Steve Magnall Pete Goodrum meets Steve Magnall, CEO of St Peter’s Brewery for this month’s FINE PEOPLE - and brings you the chance to win some beer!


’ve been talking with Steve Magnall, Chief Executive of St Peter’s Brewery, for about an hour. And I’m slightly dizzy. No. It’s not his beer. No alcohol has been consumed during this meeting. It’s the sheer amount of information coming across the table. The data. The statistics. The forecasts. I doubt there’s a more passionate, more informed and more totally involved CEO working within a hundred miles of here. ‘Here’ is Steve Magnall’s office in the St Peter’s Brewery

building just outside Bungay. It’s a big, bright, room with fresh fruit in a bowl on the heavy duty oak meeting table. When he’d welcomed me in I’d commented on the really rather good pictures on the wall. ‘They were here when I arrived, so I can take no credit’, he says, adding, ‘As a matter of fact my tastes are a bit more Banksy’. It’s a subject we’ll return to. For the moment we return to Steve’s origins. He was born in Tottington, near Bury in Lancashire. After Bacup and

Rawtenstall Grammar School (‘ a bit Dickensian but a good school’) he went to Leeds where he graduated in a food sciences degree, with Business Studies. From there he went on to Reading University where he obtained a Masters in business. At my suggestion he agrees that the building blocks for his career were already in place by then. His first employer was Boots. ‘I didn’t really enjoy that ‘ he says. ‘I was young, it was a job that meant I worked Saturdays, it wasn’t easy’. However, as a graduate entrant he was put in charge of buying records. And something he did set an early precedent for his subsequent track record. ‘The records that Boots sold were pretty much all in the ‘Easy Listening’ category,’ he explains. ‘I bought in - wait for it - it shows how the time has flown - ‘Now That’s What I Call Music 4. Sales went up’. But Steve went out. He moved to Hillsdown Holdings a FTSE 100 conglomerate amongst whose brands was Buxted

Chickens. In one of those small world coincidences he was sent to train at Flixton, not far from where we’re sitting today. The training was pretty visceral. ‘I was cutting up chickens’. But Steve flew. Promoted to his first supervisory role in Wiltshire he moved around the empire, climbing the ladder until he reached General Manager. ‘And from there on I’ve never applied for another job. I’ve always been head hunted into the next role’. There’s no immodesty about this. It’s a fact. Steve Magnall likes facts. The first time his head was hunted it was to join Northern Foods. It was to be his first real taste of being responsible for the bottom line. It was a challenge he rose to. He took the business from a £28,000 per week loss into profit. It would be the catalyst to



2015 December | 17

GENERAL forging his reputation as a ‘turn round specialist’ as he calls it. A man who sorts out businesses. As we rush through his cv even he has to check, via his LinkedIn profile, to make sure we have the dates right. The next key item on that cv is his spell with The Grampian Country Foods Group. It was a role made for him. They acquired businesses and turned them around. Who better to do that? The job took him to Edinburgh, and whilst he was with them they grew from a £200m company to a £1 billion company. His time there he says was pivotal and it fixed in his mind three core elements of strategy he employs to this day. Get the cost base right. Get the right people. Get the marketing right. By 2000 he was with John Rannoch Foods. ‘It was my first full directorial post’. Interestingly, he was head hunted for it - again - having been recommended by Marks and Spencer. They were a customer of Rannnoch and they knew him from when he’d looked after them at Grampian. ‘It was nice to be recommended but this was the time when M and S were on a roller coaster and they were a demanding client’. The John Rannoch job was based in Stowmarket, so, now in his late thirties, he’d arrived in Suffolk. By 2002 John Rannoch had been sold. A role was effectively created for him at G’s Marketing. Going in as Operations Director he was now in charge of a huge

18 | December 2015

portfolio. His role covered salads for M and S and Tesco. There was an entire beetroot factory to run. He took charge of their growing Organics line. In fact, if it was processed in any way, Steve was responsible for it. Plus, any bagged products for Spain came under his watch. And he was running the HR side of the business. ‘That’, he says. ‘was demanding. We had an enormous temporary workforce, often working at picking salad crops, and I was dealing with staff who spoke somewhere around 14 languages’. And now beer arrives in his career. Greene King, who he’d said no to when they first approached him, appointed him as their Operations Director. He spent ten years there, rising to Deputy Managing Director. He was on holiday, in Centre Parcs in Thetford when he got a call from Thwaites. The brewery wanted him as their Managing Director, and he took

the job. It meant moving to Lytham St Annes, but it moved him upwards. Now he had full responsibility for a £65m turnover business. As a mark of his prowess as the ‘turn round specialist’ it’s worth noting that, when he joined, the company was losing somewhere around a half a million pounds a year. Their Wainwright ale brand was not even showing in the 200 best selling brands chart. The business was making £1.4m a year profit and Wainwright was at number 13 when he left. He left because the business was sold. ‘I came out of it ok. Not wealthy, but ok. I thought about starting something on my own. I joined (he mentions a certain well known national spectacles retailer) but it was brief’. ‘How brief?’ ‘A day’. Moving swiftly on then! He got a call from John Murphy the founder of St Peter’s Brewery. Murphy had almost legendary status as a brand guru, and his track record includes the creation of Plymouth Gin. Now, determined to create an ‘iconic beer brand’ he’d founded St Peter’s Brewery in 1996. By 2015 he had a £4m turnover business. By May 2015 he had Steve Magnall. ‘St Peter’s is a brilliant brand. And what I saw was an opportunity to realise its full potential’. And so we’re here. And we’re off. This is where the dizziness come in. In a master class of marketing and business management Steve takes me through where the company was, where it’s going, and how it’s going to

get there. He holds nothing back. He actually gives me a hard copy of the company’s strategy document. ‘People often to say to me why are you sharing this so openly? My answer is that I’ve nothing to hide. This is what we’re doing. It’s not a secret’. The point to ponder here is that a lesser person would keep the goals secret, in case they don’t achieve them. That’s not the person Steve Magnall is. He will achieve them. And these goals are about making St Peter’s ‘The International Brand of English Beer’. He’s on track. In fact he’s just back from the USA where he’s done deals to sell beer - and he’s able, without a moment’s hesitation, to give me market figures, typical bottle sizes in the USA, a proof of the new design of label for America and statistics of how many distributors there are in each state. He gives me precise costings on the company using their unique glass bottle, and how he’s preserving that packaging at the same time as making savings on it. We cover the positioning of St Peter’s as a ‘specialist Brewery’ because he wants to differentiate it from the current buzz word of ‘craft’ breweries. He’s on his feet to show me the new cartons for delivering beer to supermarkets and retailers, and can tell me exactly what savings that’s making. In a heartbeat he’s across the room to pick up and show me the new pump clips for the beers, explaining that the brand is now the hero because the beer is generic.

GENERAL “Nobody can own India Pale Ale - but we can make them ask for St Peter’s’. Sat down again he’s explaining how he’s changed the way they buy malt - to make savings. How the export trade now includes Mexico, Sweden and Italy. What the margin is on retail sales and how it differs - he has the precise figures - between chains. There’s the pubs the company are running , and a projection for their future. There’s a complete rundown on St Peter’s success in gluten free beer, which covers not just the overall strategy but the exact details of which shelves its best sold on in supermarkets. See what I mean about the dizziness? But here’s the thing. Well two things actually. Firstly most people would have needed notes, a Powerpoint presentation and about half a day to explain everything he’s run through, straight out of his head, in the last hour. Secondly, you’ll have noticed that much of his amazingly frankly disclosed, strategy is about growth - new products, new markets. But you’ll have noticed too the frequent references to savings. It would be almost logical to expect that the man who is famous as the ‘turn round specialist would now proudly tell me that he is driving those savings straight in to the bottom line. It would impress the owners.

He has a stake in the business himself - so it would help him. But no. ‘Those savings are being reinvested - in people’. Remember the mantra he’d established for himself at Grampian? ‘Get the cost base right. Get the right people. Get the marketing right’. That will be all three boxes ticked then. Drawing breath I ask him about his personal life. ‘I’m buying a house in Saxmundham after living out of suitcases for a while’, he says. ‘It’s been a period of lodging with parents, friends and in hotels’. Does he have outside interests? ‘I love golf, but I’m not playing too much at the moment’. He’s been active in charity work and has served as Chair of FOCUS 12 , a drug and alcohol charity. He was fundraising direc-

tor of Butterfly Ball, raising money for the Princes Trust. He’s done the Three Peaks and The London Marathon - for charity. ‘I also ran with the Olympic Torch. In Ipswich’. I swear to you that the moment of telling me that is the only time I see this demonstrably successful man look pleased with himself! We talk of his children. Ben, who is 21 and reading Economics at Sheffield. Abi is 19 and doing Chemistry at Bristol. Will is 16 and immersed in A Levels. Fabian is just 7. (OK - he does also look proud when he talks of them!) I return to his earlier comments about the pictures and he tells me more of his liking for the work of Banksy. He likes art. He owns a Dali! And - he owns works by Dom Pattinson. He shows me

pictures of them and explains that Pattinson worked with, and studied with, the mysterious phenomenon that is Banksy. At this point you need to indulge me. It occurs to me that I am speaking with someone who knows someone - who knows who Banksy is! I say that out loud and he laughs. Steve Magnall is intensely focussed. Casually dressed and extremely amiable, there is though an intensity about him. He has what can only be called a total grasp. From international strategy to the price of a pump clip he has the facts, the vision, and crucially, the plan of how to get there. ‘I love business. I love developing people. I love getting a business into a positive position’. They are his closing remarks when I ask him what of the future. What next? It’s been an informative, enthralling couple of hours for me. If modern, forward thinking management has a face, it probably looks like Steve Magnall. And one more thing! Steve Magnall has kindly donated some St Peter’s beer for you FINE CITY readers to win. We talked about how you can do that, and here’s what Steve wants you to do. Just answer this question. What will St Peter’s Brewery be celebrating next year? Good luck - and cheers Steve!

2015 December | 19


St Peter’s Brewery Competition! Here’s your chance to win a case of St Peter’s Winter Ale. All you have to do is answer the following question... What will St Peter’s Brewery be celebrating next year? You can send us your answer in 1 of 3 ways: You can send it via post by filling in the form below with your answer, name and contact details and send it to Dispatch Magazine, Queens House, Queens Square, Attleborough, Norfolk, NR17 2AE You can email your answer to, with the subject title “Competition”. Or you can tweet your answer to @Dispatch_Mag with the hashtag #StPetersBrewery All entries must be received by Friday 18th December 2015 and winners will be notified by email, phone or twitter on the same day* *Winners will need to collect their cases from the Dispatch Offices Terms and Conditions apply. Go to for full T’s & C’s.

St Peter’s Brewery Competition! Answer:

Your Name

Your Telephone Number:

Your Email:

20 | December 2015

GENERAL Amie, who is Norfolk-born-andbred, was a frequent visitor to the theatre while growing up and jumped at the chance when she was approached to take on the role of Snow White. A former pupil of Sprowston High School and a former student at the city-based Heather Millan School of Dance, it is the first major lead role for Amie who recently gained her BA (Hons) in Musical Theatre. She has already appeared in a number of productions including Kiss Me Kate, West Side Story, and a production of Cabaret directed by Graeme Henderson who played one of the Ugly Sisters in the Norwich Theatre Royal pantomime Cinderella in 2013-14. Meanwhile Bruce is taking on the role of Igor the Henchman in the show, which runs from December 15 to January 17. His CV features some of the best-known productions in musical theatre and saw him star in a host of hit West End shows including Me and My Girl, Follies, Phantom of the Opera, Cats and Sunset Boulevard. One of his performing specialities is the works of Gilbert and Sullivan. His first professional experience was with the D’oyly Carte and he also appeared in a number of productions for the world-famous Carl Rosa Company including The Gondoliers, The Pirates of Penzance, and The Mikado.

Snow White Dream Comes True For Norfolk’s Amie As Two More Panto Cast Confirmed When Amie Howes sat in the auditorium at Norwich Theatre Royal watching shows, she always had the ambition of taking to the stage for herself. Now her fairy-tale dream is set to become a reality this Christmas

as she takes on the title role in Snow White. She will join the also-just announced West End and touring theatre actor Bruce Graham as the latest additions to the cast for this year’s pantomime.

And it is their music which brought him together with panto writer, director and star Richard Gauntlett as the two had worked together on tours for the Gilbert and Sullivan Company. Bruce has also appeared on film, radio and television, as well as taking to the stage throughout Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand in various productions. Joining Amie and Bruce in the cast is stage and TV favourite Jennifer Ellison who is playing the nasty Queen Evilynne. She

shot to fame thanks to her role as Emily Shadwick in the iconic Channel Four soap opera Brookside. From there, she enjoyed a successful theatrical career in the West End and on tour starring in the like of Chicago and Legally Blonde. Back by public demand will be Norwich panto favourites Richard Gauntlett and Ben Langley who wowed audiences in last year’s production. They will be playing Nurse Dorothy Dumpling and Muddles respectively, and they will once again be adding large dollops of fun and laughter to the show. John Bultitude, of Norwich Theatre Royal, said: “Amie’s path to panto is like a real-life fairy tale. We are so excited to welcome her to the cast and we are delighted she will have the chance to play the title role on home ground. “Add in the strong theatrical pedigree of Bruce, showbiz style and presence of Jennifer Ellison, the return of the ever-popular Richard Gauntlett and Ben Langley comedy double-act, and more cast still to be announced, and Snow White is poised to bring plenty of panto magic to audiences right over Christmas and into the New Year.” Listing: Snow White, Tuesday December 15, 2015-Sunday January 17, 2016. Tickets £7-£21.50. Discounts for Friends, Over-60s and Under18s. Signed performances on Saturday 9 January at 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Audiodescribed performances on Monday 4 January at 1pm, Friday 8 January at 7.30pm and Saturday 16 January at 2.30pm. Captioned performances on Sunday 10 January at 1pm and 5pm. To book, log onto www. or call the box office on 01603 630000.

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hard. I played one of the Kit Kat Girls. We were just panting off stage as it was so gruelling. We were exhausted, but in a good way.” Now her focus is on appearing in the pantomime although she has career ambitions to see her name in lights in London’s theatre-land. “I would obviously love to be in musical in the West End. People ask me what my dream role is and I never know what to say. There are just so many,” said Amie.

Amie Howes SNOW WHITE – DEC 15-JAN 17 It is just like a real-life fairy tale. After watching the Norwich Theatre Royal pantomime for many years, Amie Howes is set to see her dream come true by stepping out on stage in the title role. She is set to play Snow White in this year’s festive spectacular and tells John Bultitude she cannot wait to start rehearsing. For Amie Howes, a festive visit to the Norwich Theatre Royal pantomime is as much a part of Christmas as turkey, tinsel and all the trimmings. But this year will see a very different commitment for Amie as she takes on the role of Snow White. She said: “I am excited and a little bit nervous. This is my first professional job out of drama school, but it is very exciting. “When I got the phone-call to say I had got the job, I couldn’t believe it. It was really surreal. The first place I went after I found out I got it was Thornton’s and I really wanted to say something to the man in the shop. I didn’t though.” And she says her friends and

22 | December 2015

family cannot believe the news. “They think it is amazing. My mum was more excited than I was. She told me she is coming to every performance,” laughed Amie. So this Christmas and New Year will see Amie appear as part of a star cast which includes TV and stage favourite Jennifer Ellison who plays the wicked Queen Evilynne, panto stalwart Richard Gauntlet as Nurse Dorothy Dumpling, and Norfolk-based comedy entertainer Ben Langley as Muddles. And it marks the latest chapter in the life of a 21-year-old who started performing at a very young age. Amie explained: “As a little girl, I did ballet, tap and modern dancing although I gave it up quite early. I went through a phase of wanting to be a vet but then I found out you had to put animals down and thought I don’t want to do that.” So at the age of around 12, she decided to get back into performing again with the help of the team at the Norwich-based Heather Millan School of Dancing

and Performing Arts. “I started off with singing and got into more skills. I ended up dancing or singing four nights a week. Heather is lovely. She taught me lots of things. If I didn’t go there, I wouldn’t have been as involved in the performing arts and the industry. I wouldn’t have done A-Levels in Drama and Performing Studies and gone on to drama school,” said Amie. She also studied drama and dance at Sprowston High School where she appeared in a number of productions, with one of her favourites being the anarchic Return To The Forbidden Planet. “I was about 13 or 14. Those of us who were younger were doing the backing vocals. A friend and I had our own balcony to perform on, so we had the chance to create our own dances and acting pieces. It was fun,” said Amie.

But she is very excited to be part of the Snow White company entertaining people right through the festive season. Amie said: “I have been to see the panto many times. It is a family tradition to see it every time. I think I have been every year since I was little. I love Snow White for obvious reasons and I love Cinderella as well. “All my family are also in Norwich, so it is nice to be at home over Christmas. There are places you go and it is really pretty. You are only 15 minutes from the countryside and you can go to a lovely rural pub. It is just great.” So personally and professionally, Amie is looking forward to her time in panto. In the words of Snow White, Mirror, mirror on the wall, Amie is the happiest of them all!

When she left school, Amie went on to study at the Arden School of Theatre in Manchester where she completed a degree in musical theatre. It also saw her work with Graeme Henderson, who played one of the Ugly Sisters in the 201314 Norwich Theatre Royal pantomime Cinderella opposite Sheila Ferguson. Amie recalled: “Graeme directed one of our shows Cabaret and he is a lovely person to work with. He is very precise and really knows what he is doing. We had to work really


Ben Langley SNOW WHITE – DEC 15-JAN 17 He is back. Norfolk-based comedian Ben Langley is set to entertain panto audiences with his knockabout humour, fantastic comedy timing and empathy for the second year in a row. Ben is set to play Muddles in the festive spectacular Snow White opposite a cast headed by TV and stage favourite Jennifer Ellison. John Bultitude caught up with him to find out more. Nothing phases Ben Langley. He still radiates 100 per cent energy and panto passion while clad in lederhosen topped with a fetching feather-topped Alpine hat. As we chat ahead of a panto photo-call (as his current garments are not his day-to-day garb), the popular performer’s enthusiasm for this year’s show Snow White is infectious. “I am very, very excited and overwhelmed by it all. I am so glad the Theatre Royal are having me back,” he said. He charmed adults and children alike as hapless pirate Starkey in last show’s production Peter Pan opposite panto writer, director and co-star Richard Gauntlett, stage and TV favourite Jennifer Ellison, and Norwich’s own Amie Howes, who takes on the title role. “It just all came together really well for that panto. I had some great moments and some lovely scenes. It is great to work with Richard for another year and carry on our great comic relationship” said Ben. This year, Ben is poised to play the perpetually confused Muddles, son of Richard’s panto Dame, Nurse Nellie, although he is sworn to secrecy about the precise plot of the show. “What I can say is that I will getting into all sorts of muddly situations. As always with the pantomime here in Norwich, the story will be given a bit of a twist. I can tell you it will be fun.”

It is the latest project for Ben, who lives near Diss, who is spending more time in his native Norfolk this year while his dancer wife works on some choreography projects. It also marks a bit of a break after his previous panto appearance and a UK tour of Ha Ha Hood, which he wrote, and also starred in alongside comedy favourites Su Pollard, and Cannon and Ball. “It means I have stepped into looking after my two wonderful children, doing some writing, a few gigs and of course getting ready for this wonderful panto season.” And that is not the only project on the horizon for Ben as he is also going to be a part of this year’s Seaside Special show on Cromer Pier which will see him do an 18week run of shows at the North Norfolk resort. “I will be appearing there with a wonderful comic called Paul Eastwood. I have got to come up with something new for my act so I am going to create an upside-down straitjacket escape over the audience. I will have to be careful what I eat beforehand,” joked Ben. But spending time in the seaside resort over the summer is something he is very excited about. “We have very many happy family memories of time in Cromer on the beach. It is such a wonderful place,” said Ben. Variety plays a big part in Ben’s life. He cut his teeth spending 17 years as a street entertainer performing within the tough environment of the Covent Garden cobblestones. He has also worked extensively in the theatre world in a number of entertainment productions and has starred in well over a dozen pantomimes. His work has taken him all over the country but he is particularly excited that his next two major projects – Seaside Special and Snow White – are close to home. “One tries to work hard at raising

your profile in the places you live and I am so lucky to have pulled off these two wonderful gigs,” said Ben. And the more time he can spend in his local county, the happier he is. Ben said: “I love the Norfolk people. After all I am married to one. I love the county, the coast, the people, Norwich, and of course where we live near Diss. “When the sun shines, there is

nowhere else like it and it is also such a fantastic place to bring up children.” So with business and pleasure all happening in his favourite part of the world, it is no surprise that 2015 is the year of good news for this popular family entertainer.

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The National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company which tours a number of the composers’ works around the country each year. So, as a much-in-demand perfomer, was Bruce always destined to have his name in lights? Absolutely, he said. “It was in the blood. My grandfather and his brother were both professional singers and my mother was a pianist and used to accompany them. Music was always around the house and I fell into singing, acting and performing. When I was about 14, I saw a professional show and really appreciated what went into it and the talent that was on show. I thought yeah, this is for me. This is how I want my life to go.

Bruce Graham SNOW WHITE – DEC 15-JAN 17 From Gilbert and Sullivan comedy operas to glittering West End productions, Bruce Graham has done them all. But he has a special affection for panto and is set to tread the boards this year in the Norwich Theatre Royal’s festive production as Igor the Henchman. He tells John Bultitude about his love for family theatre, his long career and his memories of appearing in Norfolk. With a CV which features almost every genre of performance including musicals for some of the great theatrical impresarios, you would think Bruce Graham may get a little jaded when it comes to a new job. But not a bit of it. He cannot wait

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to tread the boards at Norwich Theatre Royal this Christmas and do the bidding of the evil Queen Evilynne, aka stage and TV favourite Jennifer Ellison, in this year’s glittering family pantomime Snow White. He said: “I am delighted to be in the cast. I have heard a lot about the Norwich pantomime from various people. I am a great mate of Richard Gauntlett who has been a part of it for years as writer, director and performer. A lot of my friends have been in it and have nothing but good things to say.” In fact, Bruce and Richard are no strangers to each other having spent the summer and autumn together performing as part of

“I can trace it back to a wet windy cold November night in Edinburgh. I worked for a little while with Scottish Opera but my first proper job was with the old D’Oyly Carte Opera Company with which I visited Norwich Theatre Royal twice, so I am no stranger to it.” Gilbert and Sullivan has been a major part of his performing career as he has also worked with the world-famous Carl Rosa Company which also showcases their work. Despite having a lot of their work on his CV, he is incredibly versatile having done films, a couple of television projects, grand opera, musicals, and starred in a number of West End shows. And London’s theatre-land holds particular affection with previous performing credits including Cats and Follies for Cameron Mackintosh, and productions for Andrew Lloyd Webber including Phantom of the Opera and Bruce’s personal favourite Sunset Boulevard. “It is a fantastic show. It is so faithful to the Billy Wilder movie. My wife bought me the video of it at the time and my jaw dropped at how faithfully the Adelphi stage recreated the entire Californian landscape you see in the film. I think it is brilliantly staged and designed, and is some of Lloyd Webber’s best work.” He is also looking forward to returning to Norwich both because of his great affection

for the city and because it will bring back lots of memories. Bruce recalled: “The theatre is wonderful. When I first came, Dick Condon was the manager. He was a Gilbert and Sullivan fan. I can remember a man came to the stage door selling cockles and whelks. I look back on my time in Norwich with fondness. “I was born and brought up in Edinburgh and I was rather spoilt with cities. Some cities on tour are a bit of a culture shock. Norwich isn’t, thanks to its beautiful cathedrals, market, wonderful shopping areas, and the theatre of course. It has a wonderful cultural life.” And of course, another great lure is being part of the panto, which also stars popular Norfolk-based entertainer Ben Langley. Bruce is promising people a fantastic funfilled visit to Snow White. “People must come. It is one of the best pantos in the country and one of the last big independently produced pantos. Richard Gauntlett is a very able and witty man. He has written and directed in it and stars in it. You will really enjoy it. You must not stay away,” said Bruce. Praise indeed from a vastly experienced performer set to delight the young and young-atheart this panto season.

GENERAL to find out what they are. Richard would not give too much away but said: “We are setting the story somewhere different and using some exciting methods of recreating the Snow White magic. “We are very lucky that our production manager Will Hill is so excited about pantomime. You will suggest ideas and get a wry smile but you know he will be working out in his mind how to bring them to the stage. Ninety-nine per cent of the time, he succeeds.”

Richard Gauntlett SNOW WHITE – DEC 15-JAN 17 Just when you thought it was safe, he is back. Norwich Theatre Royal’s panto favourite Richard Gauntlett is returning to the cast of this year’s festive spectacular. And the stage sensation is set to resume his role of Dame donning a host of spectacular frocks in this year’s show Peter Pan. He tells John Bultitude about his globetrotting performing life, creating a pantomime from scratch, and why he is looking forward to wearing women’s clothes on stage again. When does he ever stop? Richard Gauntlett is one of those versatile entertainers who is always thinking of the next sidesplitting gag or routine to wow the panto audience. He may be best known as the

cheeky chappy or outrageous Dame in the theatre’s annual pantomime but he is also part of the creative pulse of the festive production. Richard writes and directs the show as well as stars in it, and as we chat in late Spring months before the December 15 opening night, he is already turning ideas over in his mind. He explained: “We have a synopsis and sets are being built so we are starting to know what we need and where we are going to go. It is evolving all the time.” And if you are expecting a carbon copy of other Snow White pantomimes around the country, forget it. This one will have a host of unusual elements, although you will have to come and see it

After the sheer size and spectacle of last year’s production Peter Pan with its flying, incredible effects and stunning costumes, that will take some work but Richard highlights the passion of his fellow members of the production team, along with Suffolk-based Scenic Projects who create the lavish sets. “They are incredible. We have been working with them for a few years now and the sets they have come up with are beautiful. They are brilliant. They are also based locally which is great. We like to work with people in the area if we can.” Panto is one of Richard’s great passions. Snow White will be the fifteenth he has been associated with in Norwich and that is just one arm of his performing CV. From cutting his teeth in the fiercely competitive Covent Garden where he first met panto co-star Ben Langley through lavish West End productions like Barnum to TV appearances in Doctor Who and even writing episodes of The Sooty Show, Richard will turn his hand to anything. And since he was last in Norwich for pantomime, he has been a busy man. One of his main jobs has been sharing his variety show with audiences worldwide. Richard explained: “I enjoy working on the cruise ships. They are very nice and we are treated very well. This year I have been to Australia, New Zealand and Vietnam. They are fantastic audiences and it is also great to work with a nine-piece band which does not happen on land

any more. It is nice to do a whole evening’s entertainment with those musicians and have the whole audience with you.” Although his passport is back in the drawer for the time being (oh yes, it is), pre-panto he is heading off on a three month tour with the National Gilbert and Sullivan Company where he has built a strong reputation with audiences for taking on the comic roles. “I am particularly excited this year because one of the shows we are doing is Patience which is one I have not done before, “said Richard. “Gilbert and Sullivan does not tour as much as it used to. There does seem to be a new audience for it and our last tour must have worked as we are going out on the road again. The comedy is timeless. The directors involved try to keep it traditional but also give it a 21st Century kick at the same time. The operas may be 120 years old but they still work.” Meanwhile his focus is still on panto and ever keen to attract as many people as possible to the show, he has a clear message for people planning to come along and see Snow White. “It is best to book early to make sure you get seats at the performance you want to see. Tickets for the busiest shows go very fast and we would hate the thought anyone missed out on seeing it.” And he confesses after two years of playing male characters Buttons and Smee on the Norwich panto stage, he is looking forward to stepping back into the Dame’s outrageous outfits. “I have missed it really. It is nice to run around in just one costume but I am bringing back some of my favourite Dame costumes for Snow White. There are also a lot that need to be made. It is very exciting.” With that, Richard is off again for a whispered conversation with Ben Langley about a possible comedy routine and then it is off for a chat with wardrobe about some more costume ideas. It does seem that when you are Norwich’s Mr Panto, the list of jobs to think about is never all Behind You, to coin a phrase!

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Jennifer Ellison SNOW WHITE – DEC 15-JAN 17 From Brookside via Chicago and Singin’ In The Rain to this year’s Norwich Theatre Royal pantomime, Jennifer Ellison remains showbiz hot property. She is set to play the sassy but stylish Queen Evilynne in Snow White over the festive period, and tells John Bultitude she cannot wait. This autumn is a busy time for Jennifer Ellison. She has her hit TV show Dancemums back on the small screen, a very busy schedule with her own college and dance school, and of course getting ready to star in this year’s Norwich Theatre Royal pantomime, as well as being a mum to three boys out of the spotlight. Despite this wealth of tasks, Jennifer remains level-headed and calm as she looks forward to being in the city this Christmas and admits she cannot wait to tread the boards. “I am really excited. I have never played Norwich before. I have played the Wicked Queen in panto before and I absolutely love it. The two together will make for a great Christmas,” said Jennifer “I just love playing the evil role. The reaction of children when you come on stage and when Snow White bites the apple is just incredible.” It will also mark her debut on stage at Norwich although she knows the city having rehearsed there for a UK tour of Calendar Girls. But her strong West End and touring theatre pedigree is a world away from her early years. As a child, dancing was her passion and she became a World champion in both ballet and modern dance at a very young age. Her prowess meant she acquired an agent and, at the age of 12, managed to get

26 | December 2015

an audition for the hit Channel Four soap Brookside, which was filmed in her native Merseyside. Jennifer admits being part of the series was an experience never to be forgotten and it helped shape her career. “It was incredible to grow up on screen, be part of a family unit and to have it filmed just around the corner from me in Liverpool. It was an honour. I am where I am today and I have achieved what I have achieved, thanks to Brookside. “I worked with some great actors and actresses. I was extremely lucky. Many of them have gone on to do great things like Ricky Tomlinson, Anna Friel and Sue Johnston.” From there, the acting roles came in thick and fast. At the age of 20, she got the lead role of Roxie Hart in Chicago which she revisited in London’s theatre-land several times as well as reprising the role on a UK tour. Jennifer said: “Roxie was a brilliant role. I loved every minute of it. It was something I really enjoyed doing. To be able to say you have done that role is incredible.” She also got the chance to work with Suffolk’s Ruthie Henshall, who has won critical acclaim and audience love for her interpretation of the Roxie role. Jennifer explained: “Ruthie Henshall is my idol. To go and play the role not long after her was fantastic. On the tenth anniversary, we ran the show with a different actress playing Roxie each time she came on. It was absolutely incredible to share the stage with Ruthie.” In addition, she has taken on lead roles in two other iconic productions Legally Blonde and Singin’ In The Rain as well as appearing in the movie version of Phantom Of The Opera. “I have

been very fortunate. Theatre has been my main love and passion. To have that instant response from the audience is fantastic. I have been very lucky to play leading ladies in four West End shows. I feel very privileged and very grateful,” said Jennifer. Although stage work has been a strong focus for Jennifer, she is no stranger to TV appearing in ITV’s Sunday evening hit Dancing On Ice and also braving kitchen rage in Hell’s Kitchen, which she preferred doing. “I think I enjoyed it more as I am a better cook than I am a skater, although I know I have been so lucky to do so many things,” she

said. But was Jennifer scared about the legendary rages of Hell’s Kitchen host Gordon Ramsay? “Well, when I did ballet when I was young, I was taught by Russian ballet teachers and they were a lot scarier than Gordon, so it was a case of if you did the work and worked hard, he rewarded you. I got my head down and worked hard and I think he saw that. Some others weren’t doing the same and that is why he screamed at them,” she recalled. And that strong grounding as a child has inspired her to equip the next generation of performers with the skills they need to


If all that isn’t enough, she has also got three young sons all under 6 to look after too, but will they follow her into the world of theatre too?

Jennifer says basing them in Merseyside was really important for her. “That’s exactly what happened to me.

But with all this going, plus a forthcoming pantomime, you would think that was enough. The hard work just keeps coming with Jennifer’s reality TV hit Dance Mums which sees young performers show off their skills aided and abetted by their mothers in a programme mixing tiaras, tutus and tantrums running right through the autumn until Christmas.

There are a lot of opportunities for people down South – especially in London – and I wanted to create a college that could rival the London colleges and was up there in standard rather than just a local college that anyone can get in,” she said.

And she also has a primetime ITV series starting in the New Year. At the time of chatting, she was sworn to secrecy about exactly what it will involve but she is promising it is one of the channel’s biggest commissions for 2016.

But the one thing they can all enjoy is the chance to see her starring in this year’s Norwich Theatre Royal pantomime opposite the likes of Richard Gauntlett, back for his 15th year in the city, and locally-based comic favourite Ben Langley.

succeed. She has set up Jelli Studios in her native Liverpool with nine separate spaces to teach young people a host of new skills as well as her recently opened Jelli Studios Theatre Arts College too.

“I think the eldest may follow me onto the stage. He is quite theatrical and dramatic. I think the younger two are more likely to go down the sports route,” she laughed.

“The kids love it. Last time I did it, my middle son was a bit young but my eldest loves it and gets really involved,” said Jennifer. “Being an actress and being in the West End, there are very limited things they can see. With panto, they can all enjoy it and all the family can come.” And that is her message to everyone set to see her in this year’s production of Snow White. Whatever your age, the entertainment of panto is for you. Oh yes, it is!

2015 December | 27


2015 December | 29

ELDERLY The Hearing Care Centre Hearing Aids & Happiness In terms of our health, happiness is a miracle drug. It can help us live longer, be more optimistic — even increase marital satisfaction. We’re all aware that smiling and laughing are physical signs of happiness and joy, yet characteristics of a perpetually happy person depend on how satisfied they are with various aspects of their life. And since finding happiness is a personal journey, here’s a tip to start you on your way: of you have hearing loss, wear hearing aids. Hearing aids improve relationships At home: Research indicates that individuals with hearing loss who wear hearing instruments have better relationships with family members, friends and colleagues than those with untreated hearing loss. A Hear-the-World Foundation survey of more than 4,300 people about hearing aids and relationships revealed: • 69.7% believe hearing aids have improved their relationships. • 81% whose partner has been fitted with a hearing aid say they are glad. • 40% say they receive more attention from their partner. More specifically, married couples say hearing aids make it easier to carry on a conversation and relate to each other on an interpersonal level. They also say hearings aids diminished feelings of frustration, anger, depression, loneliness, stress and anxiety they were experiencing before wearing the instruments. With friends: Studies indicate people are happiest when they are connected to a social group, 30 | December 2015

a characteristic threatened by untreated hearing loss. Amplification reduces the risk of self-imposed isolation, helping you hear the punch line the first time the joke is told or feel more comfortable participating in the conversation at your neighbour’s BBQ. In the workplace: When the Better Hearing Institute conducted a study of hearing loss in the workplace, seven in 10 participants reported improvement in their ability to communicate when they wore hearing aids. That means an increased ability to hear what’s being said in meetings, understanding telephone conversations more clearly — and even more enjoyment interacting with your co-workers in the break room. Hearing aids improve earning potential A 2011 study by the Better Hearing Institute found untreated hearing loss can cost an employee as much as £20,000 in lost income every year. On the flip side, those who wear hearing aids to treat mild hearing loss reduce that loss by as much as 90 to 100 percent. In EuroTrak and JapanTrak surveys conducted in 2012, 60 percent of hearing aid users said they found hearing aids to be of significant use in the workplace.

Neuroscientists say listening to music stimulates dopamine which makes us happy. Music also lowers stress levels, improves our immune system and memory, and inspires us to exercise.

As a result, they reported an increased sense of well-being, more energy, reduced feelings of stress and negativity, fewer sleep disturbances, better job productivity and more happiness. Being outside and experiencing nature reduces stress levels, improves your vitality, improves overall mental wellness and boosts your immunity. In short, it makes you happy.

Although today’s hearing aids are programmed to better understand speech, hearing aid users in a survey conducted by researchers at the University of Cambridge found they were helpful for listening to music, too.

So, if you can’t remember the last time you heard the birds sing or the crickets chirp, it may be time to make an appointment with an audiologist at The Hearing Care Centre and have your hearing checked.

Theatre: There’s no reason to sacrifice the joy you receive from attending the theatre or a night at the cinema because it’s just too hard to hear what’s being said.

Your first step to living happier and healthier may just be a phone call away. Call 01473 230330 to book an appointment.

Music: Whether you like Beethoven, the Beatles or the Beastie Boys, listening to music is a pastime that invokes a lot of emotion.

Today’s hearing aids are becoming more and more adept at separating speech from background noise. And, thanks to UK legislation, many venues have installed hearing loops which literally pipe the dialogue right to your hearing aids.

Karen Finch is the Managing Director and lead audiologist at The Hearing Care Centre. The multi-award winning, familyrun company has 20 centres across Suffolk and Norfolk. For more information visit www. or call 01473 230330.

Nature: In a 2013 study by the David Suzuki Foundation, more than 10,000 people studied spent 30 minutes in nature every day for 30 days.

Hearing aids enhance cultural experiences Hearing aids bolster selfconfidence and give users a better sense of safety and independence. That might just give you the push you need to resume other activities you enjoy, such as attending concerts, the theatre — or even just appreciating the sweet sounds of nature on a winter walk.


2015 December | 31

ELDERLY Able Community Care The Alternative to Moving into a Care Home Getting older sometimes means that a person needs to be cared for twenty four hours a day. Such care can be provided in a care home or in a person’s own home. Given the choice, many people would prefer to stay in their own home and Able Community Care has enabled thousands of people to exercise this choice. Our experience has shown that having a regular rota of experienced carers in your own home is often a much happier alternative than moving into a care home. Able Community Care has been providing an alternative choice to moving into a care home since 1980 by providing Live-in Carer Schemes throughout the UK. Our live-in care staff have enabled thousands of disabled and older

people to remain happily within their own home. The role of our live-in carers is to provide domestic, personal and social care tailored to each individual’s needs and wishes. One of our clients is Kate. Kate was born in 1919 and in 2006 as a result of arthritis and too common falls, Kate and her family had to make a decision as to how Kate wished to be cared for. Her own wish was to remain living in her own bungalow, to keep up her social activities and to maintain her hobbies. Kate and her family decided to try a Live-in Carer Scheme and since 2006 a continuous, regular, rotational system of liked live-in care workers have supported Kate, now aged 95, and who

continues to live happily in her own home. Kate wrote the following comments with reference to the care she received in 2014 on our Customer Satisfaction Form: • “The live-in care workers carry out the tasks that are important to me.” • “I feel comfortable about contacting my Care Manager” (whom she has met). • “I am happy with the service I am receiving.” • “The responsiveness to ‘out of hours’ contact is satisfying and responsive.” Live-in Carers are special people. Whilst living for weekly or fortnightly periods in a client’s home they provide domestic support, personal care and offer companionship. Each of our clients has an individual ‘job description’ and it is the objective of our Care Managers to provide our clients with a regular rota of liked live-in carer workers and also to find for our care workers, clients for whom they have the skills to care for. One of our live-in care workers is Lorna who has been with us since 2011. Before joining Able Community Care, Lorna was a care worker for her County Council where she gained experience and care certification including attaining NVQ Level 3 in Social Care. Lorna is one of Kate’s two regular live-in carers and is a driver and non-smoker. In addition to providing professionally managed live-in care at home on a long term basis, Able Community Care can also provide the following care packages: • Respite care for family carers who need a well-earned break. • A Carer to accompany a person who wants to go on holiday or to visit relatives.

32 | December 2015

• Long term care to a person who wishes to share the care. For example, Able can provide one or two weeks of care, then the family the next period etc. on a flexible, rotational basis. • A “Home From Hospital” care package offering convalescent live-in care at home. Able Community Care currently provides Live-in, Carer Schemes in over 50 counties and our clients range in age from early twenties to over one hundred years of age. Some of our clients have been with us since the 1990’s and their care packages have been continuous. As a result we have a reputation for reliability. A large number of our care workers have been with us for over ten years and some for over fifteen years. Able Community Care’s website provides comprehensive information, including many moving and heartfelt client comments. There is also an option to sign up for our free email Newsflash, written by the MD. Angela Gifford each week, to keep up to date with the latest care information and news which may affect you or your family. Angela Gifford formed Able Community Care in 1980 and as Managing Director she continues to benefit this successful company with her long experience of the care sector. Angela is highly regarded as an expert in the field of home care and also consults at an international level on many aspects of care provision. If you have any questions about our Live-in Care Schemes please contact us on 01603 764567 or email to For a Free Information Pack, please don’t hesitate to contact Able Community Care on 01603 764567 or email ablemg@aol. com. Alternatively you can visit our website for more information at

ELDERLY Kingsley Healthcare Care Homes A pioneering WINGS Program to change the face of care and dementia Inspiring Research According to The Alzheimer’s Society there will be 850,000 in 2015 in the UK which is set to rise to 1 million in 2025. There are 40,000 younger people with dementia in the UK with two thirds of people with dementia being women. It is now more than ever, that the focus to find a cure for the disease is becoming the number one priority. Dementia has now officially overtaken cancer as the UK’s biggest killer. Scientists have had some break trough’s and have many theories for the cause of Alzheimer’s and dementia but there are still not enough case studies that provide enough solid evidence to be a cure for the disability.

Dementia Care A person diagnosed with dementia may find themselves feeling vulnerable and confused. This is very common and absolutely natural to feel all types of emotion in order to come to terms with the disability. Although there is no cure at the moment for dementia there are however ways to slow the process down and allow for that person to live a very fulfilling life for many years after diagnosis. It’s important to see dementia as a disability that people have to adapt their lifestyles around rather than an illness. It is not necessarily the dementia that kills but the other health complications that increasingly arise over the years

with dementia. There are now many ways to help enable people with dementia by educating the community and people on dementia care. Already there are now dementia cafes, easy to use equipment and training, clubs and classes to attend to help stimulate positive feelings and emotions. The WINGS Program Kingsley Healthcare has teamed up with Stirling University in the aim to work together in creating a WINGS program which will set a president for those who care for others and provide the quality standards for carers in all of their homes. WINGS stands for Welcoming, Individual, Nurturing, Guidance and Sensitivity. This program is being put together by Kingsley Healthcare to help carers have a better understanding and support in providing the high standards needed for the resident to have the best experience possible

during their care. This program will be implemented in all Kingsley Healthcare homes. Kingsley Healthcare Kingsley Healthcare is a private care home provider across the UK with the mission to provide the best care by changing the face of the industry with a pioneering WINGS Program. The company was established in 1999 by Daya Thayan and his wife Sumi who purchased their first home in Suffolk and turned the home around to the thriving home it is today. Over the years, the company has grown to 24 homes, including four Learning Disability homes and is now a nationally recognised award winning care home provider with plans of expansion within the next 5 years. To find out more about Kingsley Healthcare and the WINGS Program or to find your nearest home please visit

2015 December | 33




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Diss & Attleborough - December 2015  

The December 2015 edition of Dispatch Magazine for Diss & Attleborough

Diss & Attleborough - December 2015  

The December 2015 edition of Dispatch Magazine for Diss & Attleborough