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Review of 2011

In 2012 Hethersett became renowned throughout the county for being a go-ahead village with groups and organisations to suit every taste encompassing sport, the arts, the environment and groups for every age range from babies and toddlers to the retired.

Hethersett on the Web tried to reflect what was going on in the village throughout the year through stories and photographs. Of course it is impossible to cover everything and there was still the feeling that we were merely scratching the surface of all the good things that have taken place in our village.

So with apologies to everything that has been omitted, here is our review of the year 2011.

Peter Steward - Web site owner and editor.


One of the highlights of the village year is the annual post Christmas pantomime. January saw the pantomime group's 42nd production with Snow White playing to sell out audiences over a week that also saw over 2,000 raised for charity.

On the political front there was a county council by-election in the Humbleyard constituency, which includes Hethersett, brought about by the resignation of serving member Daniel Cox. Tory candidate Judith Virgo won the seat with 1,015 votes with Jackie Sutton of the Liberal Democrats coming second and labour's Marion Chapman third. Perhaps the most significant figure was the fact that less than one in four turned out to vote.

The Norfolk Coalition against Government cuts were out campaigning in the village.

Elsewhere it was announced that a new sports association for Hethersett and the Meltons would be launched at the end of February and a campaign was launched to improve internet Broadband speeds, although the village failed to gain enough votes to become a BT supercharged village!


The Yvonne School of Dancing won 1,000 after performing in a competition outside Norwich Forum with the public picking them as the best act through voting on the internet.

Hethersett Library marked World Book Day with a celebration evening where local people discussed their favourite books. Hethersett Players drama group announced a change in their forthcoming production from Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit to Curtain Up on Murder by Bettine Manktelow.

World renowned operatic soprano Elizabeth Watts, who comes from Hethersett, recorded two new CDs featuring works by Bach and Thomas Arne.

The inaugural meeting of Hethersett and the Meltons Sports Association was held at Park Farm Hotel on the last day of the month.


Three Hethersett groups received significant grants from South Norfolk Council to support their work with young people. Hethersett Hawks Cycle Speedway Club received 2,000 for new bikes, Hethersett Scout Group were awarded a similar sum to enhance the security of their site in Queen's Road and Hethersett Jubilee Youth Club received 1,406 for improvements to the club in Back Lane.

Three pupils from Hethersett High School raised over 700 for Comic Relief by travelling the nine miles from Wymondham to Norwich on pogo sticks.

The Hethersett Environmental Action Team (HEAT) was awarded a grant of 20,000 from the South Norfolk District Council's Greenest Community scheme to upgrade the insulation standards of households in the village.

Hethersett Athletic Football Club's men's Saturday team reached their fourth Crown Fire South and Central Norfolk cup final when they beat West End in the semi-finals of the Primary League Cup.

Hethersett Parish Council expressed its concern about fly posting and dog fouling in the village. Both seem to be regular problem areas. The council agreed to adopt a new car park in Great Melton Road close to the Tesco's Supermarket.

The Rockinghorse Nursery in Great Melton Road was celebrating after being praised by government inspectors.


Hethersett Junior School celebrated the Royal wedding with a right royal tea party.

There were plenty of successes elsewhere with Crusaders Rugby Club, who play between Hethersett and Little Melton, winning the Norfolk Junior Cup and Hethersett Hawks Cycle Speedway Club kicking off its season after celebrating 45 years in existence.

There was a glowing OFSTED (Office for Standards in Education) report for Hethersett Old Hall School and an MBE for local woman Doris Langford to mark 47 years of fund-raising for the Royal National Lifeboat Institute.

In politics it was announced that there would be the first contested parish council election for many years with 16 candidates declared for the 13 seats. This followed a campaign in the village to get more people to put their names forward. Current chairman Fred Watkins announced that he would step down as chair after the election but would still stand for the council. Four candidates put their names forward for the two seats representing Hethersett on South Norfolk Council.


Hethersett began to mount a serious campaign to have a visit from the Olympic Games torch on its way to next year's London games. The village's Olympic Committee continued to meet to organise the village's 2011 Olympic weekend celebrations in July.

A number of roads around the village were closed during the month as the National Grid refurbished electricity lines and Hethersett High School announced plans to launch an Alumni Association for former pupils.

After weeks of warm and sunny weather, a come and try sports event in the grounds of Hethersett High School was a virtual wash out on a cold and extremely wet evening.

Conservative candidates David Bills and Leslie Dale were re-elected to South Norfolk Council with Mr Bills topping the poll with 1,092 and Mr Dale polling 983 votes. Jackie Sutton of the Lib Dems came third with 781 votes and Laura Green of Labour fourth with 555 votes. The parish council returned 13 of the standing 16 candidates with Jackie Sutton topping the poll.

Hethersett Singers held their golden jubilee concert in St Remigius Parish Church with a programme that included Brahms' German Requiem and Faure's Cantique for Jean Racine.

It was announced that Hethersett would be included in the annual heritage events organised by English Heritage in September and village archivist Bill Reekie began to plan a heritage walk round the village.

In what has to be the most surreal event of the year, the Rev Ian Paisley preached to about 20 people in Hethersett Baptist Church in what could only be described as a massively low key visit that went virtually unnoticed. A few years ago such an appearance would have brought huge opposition, not to mention bodyguards galore and demonstrations. Oh how the world changes!

Police highlighted Hethersett as an area of low crime with under 100 criminal offences recorded for the year from 1st April 2010 to 31st March 2011.

Hethersett Hawks Cycle Speedway's David Chambers took part in the world championships in the USA and came ninth in the veterans' section.

The sun shone for the annual Junior School Spring Fair which proved another great success.


Tragic news early in the month with the death of two people in an accident on the B1172 Norwich Road close to the junction with Station Lane.

A new Memorial Playing Field Trust was set-up at the village's annual parish meeting and the new group held its first meeting towards the end of the month.

Meanwhile Hethersett Athletic Under-11s football team were the toast of Norfolk youth football after beating off the challenge of 181 other sides to be named Norfolk Youth Combination Sporting Team of the Season. They were presented with a special trophy at the club's hugely successful youth team funday which was held at Hethersett Junior School in bright sunshine.

Year Seven pupils at Hethersett High School joined youngsters throughout the country in a campaign to encourage countries throughout the world to send young girls to school. South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon was at the Hethersett school to support the campaign.

Heavy rain failed to dampen the spirits at Woodside Infants and Nursery School's appropriately named Rainbow Fete as the sun eventually made an appearance.

Hethersett won the South Norfolk Sports Village competition at Framingham Earl and Hethersett's Open Gardens scheme saw 17 gardens open to the public with funds being raised for the Norfolk Wildlife Trust and the United Norwich Kidney Patients Association.

After 15 years of collecting Christmas boxes for under-privileged children in Serbia, Hethersett's John and Shirley Adams called it a day.


Highlight of the month was undoubtedly the second annual Olympic weekend which ran over three days. Events kicked off with pupils swimming 2012 lengths of the Junior School pool. This was followed by a packed evening of entertainment for the Hethersett's Got Talent competition which was won by David Wyatt who was appearing on stage in public for the first time with his adult themed novelty songs. Sport in the Park gave local people the chance to try over 20 different sports - all free of charge.

A Sunday morning inter-denominational service was followed by over 250 people taking part in a two mile village funrun. This was followed by a ladies five-a-side football tournament on the Memorial Field and the weekend was rounded off with a Last Night of the Proms concert in the parish church. Earlier in the month the 1948 London Olympic torch was brought to the village and toured all four schools.

There was news of a new green energy development in Hethersett with 30 large solar panels being erected on scrubland in Little Melton Road.

The library saw its hours slightly cut as part of the Government's cutbacks, but readers were relieved to hear that Norfolk County Council would continue to make a commitment towards local libraries.

Hethersett Players and Hethersett Pantomime Group combined for a colourful sale of old costumes that included dinosaur heads.

Hethersett in Bloom winners were announced and members of the Hethersett Churches Together group planned to mark the Year of the Bible by handwriting their own special edition.

Hethersett Athletic Football Club held a community ball in the grounds of Hethersett Old Hall School.


Torrential rain, which saw the track having to be pumped out, failed to dampen spirits for the British Women's and Under-10s Cycle Speedway Championships which were held on Hethersett Memorial Playing Field. A weekend of competition also saw semi-finals of the Under-16s and Open Men's Event.

A cheque was presented to the Hethersett Memorial Playing Field Trust by residents of Woodcote Sheltered Housing complex following their open day which was part of the village Olympic 2011 celebrations.

Sadly we reported the death of popular Hethersett Junior School teaching assistant Lorraine Hedges.


St Remigius Church hosted an unusual and thought provoking art display as part of its rootfinder festival, nine days of celebration to help people focus on family roots and their route through life.

People turned out in their hundreds for a public exhibition to study plans for the future development of the village which includes the possibility of up to 1,196 new homes. There was considerable opposition to the proposals throughout the year with several houses sporting "Hands off Hethersett" posters and a number of meetings being held.

A new green spaces' group was set up under the auspices of Hethersett Parish Council to look into the best use of green areas in the village.

Hethersett High School pupils returned after the summer break with new school uniforms and Hethersett came runners-up in the Norfolk Games section for large villages/market towns where we were just pipped to the title by Downham Market.

Village archivist Bill Reekie and local historian Chris Barringer conducted a tour of St Remigius Church and notable village buildings and Hethersett and District Horticultural Society held its annual show.


Hethersett soprano Elizabeth Watts sang at a special concert in Norwich Cathedral whilst Hethersett High School pupils were praised for helping Norfolk Schools to cut their energy costs.

There were sad announcements with the deaths of former dentist and well known Hethersett figure Alan Capleton and Roz Killington. Roz had been bookings secretary for Hethersett Village Hall for many years.

Hethersett and Tas Valley Cricket Club were awarded the coveted national Clubmark status in recognition of their contribution to Norfolk cricket and there was dancing in the aisles of St Remigius at an Abba evening. There was consternation, however, at the theft of lead from the church roof and local people were urged to sign a national petition urging a change in the law to make it more difficult to sell stolen metal.


Hethersett was named the Norfolk Sporting Champion of Champions in the competition organised jointly by the Eastern Daily Press and Active Norfolk. Hethersett was also named Norfolk Sports Village of the Year - a tremendous achievement for the village and all involved in promoting sport, fitness, well being and the environment.

Hethersett Queen's Head raised 1,100 from a charity breakfast with the money going to the Break charity

Hethersett Athletic Football Club's community fireworks display once again proved a great success. The big news of the month, however, was an announcement that the Olympic torch will visit the village on its way to next year's London Olympic Games. The torch will make an off route visit to Hethersett next July in recognition of the village's efforts to support the games through our Olympic weekends.

Towards the end of the month Hethersett Woodside Infants and Nursery School, Hethersett Junior School and Hethersett High School and Science College were all closed for a day in support of the public service industrial action against pension cuts.

Brand new play equipment for young children was erected on the Memorial Playing Field as the first part of transforming the field and making it a focal point of the village. Towards the end of the year additional tree planting also took place.

Plans were announced for a major cycling event next July which will start and finish in Hethersett and be held over both 30 or 60 miles. Hethersett High School pupils mounted a science in a box art exhibition in Hethersett Library and the annual Remembrance Sunday parade and service took place.

Over 50 people attended the first Open Spaces group meeting which focused on the future use of the Memorial Playing Field and there were some surprises for members of the Hethersett Environmental Action Team (HEAT) when they cleaned out a pond in the Ullswater area of Steepletower. They found goal posts, old bikes, wheelbarrows, road signs and beer cans amongst the items that had been thrown in.


And so we came to the end of another year .... There were carol concerts and Christmas events galore and once again Tony and Margaret Dunton lit up their home in Firs Road to bring some festive cheer and raise money for the local doctors' surgery and the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

 It was announced that two new groups will be set-up early in the New Year to further enhance the green spaces in the village. These will be a Friend of the Memorial Field Group and a Green Spaces Working Group.

Woodcote Sheltered Housing scheme celebrated its 25th anniversary and the annual village Christmas market enjoyed its biggest success to date - not bad for an event that was originally scheduled to be held in the summer. It was announced that over 2,500 was raised in Hethersett and the Meltons from this year's Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.

Hundreds of people attended a parish council drop in day to view detailed plans of proposed future development for the village. The day was designed to give local residents further opportunity to comment and also help Hethersett Parish Council formulate its response to the district council.

2012 promises to be even bigger and brighter in Hethersett proving what a thriving community we have. There will be some outstanding events and Hethersett on the Web will be at as many as possible to bring you news, views and photographs.

Details of all these events and more can be read by visiting our archive news section by clicking here