Clubs & Groups Clubs & Groups



The Art Group meets on the third Monday of the month (except Bank Holidays) at 2:00pm at the Colney Lane Pavilion. Refreshments will be provided, but please bring your own painting and drawing materials with you. Brenda Mace has kindly agreed to act as mentor to the group.


The Group will meet on the following dates:


     17 February 2020

16 March 2020
20 April 2020
18 May 2020
15 June 2020
20 July 2020






Informal meetings, lasting about one and a half hours, are normally held in the Colney Pavilion at 2pm on the second Monday of the month.


However, please note : Meetings are currently being held at 40 Brettingham Avenue Cringleford at 2pm while the Pavilion car park is closed.


Books to be discussed are listed below and all titles are available in paperback and from the library, some as downloads.


10 February 2020


'Clock Dance' by Anne Tyler

9 March 2020


'The Stranger Diaries' by Elly Griffiths

6 April 2020

'The Spy and the Traitor' by Ben MacIntyre

(Note change of date because of Easter)


11 May 2020


'The Alice Network' by Kate Quinn

8 June 2020



13 July 2020

'Machines Like Me' by Ian MacEwan


Anyone is welcome to come along and join us and to suggest titles for future sessions. There is no charge and tea, coffee and biscuits are served. For more information please contact Janet Havers ( or tel: 01603 759644).

Janet Havers






This small, lively group meets once a month, on a Monday, at Cinema City. Whenever possible we go for a late morning/early afternoon screening to allow time afterwards for refreshments and to discuss the film before going our separate ways. New members are most welcome.


For more information please tel: 01603 743464 or email:

Evelyn Mould






Games afternoons are held on the third Tuesday of the month starting at 2.00pm at the Pavilion. We have regular tables for Cribbage, Dominoes and either Rummikub, Whist or Scrabble. Additional board games and cards are available at each session with the opportunity to learn something new.

The emphasis at games afternoons is on enjoying playing games rather than skill and you are welcome to bring your own games for other members to try. Refreshments are provided.


Future dates are:

18 February 2020 *** CANCELLED ***

17 March 2020

21 April 2020

19 May 2020

16 June 2020

21 July 2020 (Croquet)


Contact Details: Denis Brown Tel. 01603 409905 Email:


Croquet Session on 21st July 2020


This event which is organised by Jeremy Kitchener will be held at Eaton Park starting at 2.00pm and finishing at 4.00pm. Balls and mallets will be provided and the only requirement is that flat shoes or trainers are needed. The green is located near the boating pond and there will be a charge of £5.00 (which includes refreshments).

There is ample parking and a room for storing coats as well as a loo facility. Numbers are limited so it will be on a first come first served basis.

If you want to come or require further information please contact Jeremy on 01603 610708 (or e mail him at to book your place.

Denis Brown







Recent events:


Monday, 30 September 2020:   Talk - “My 46+ years at Blickling – a gardener’s tale, by Stephen Hagon



About to leave school, aged 15, Stephen walked into Aylsham Town Hall for a meeting with a careers adviser, who asked him what work would interest him. Stephen mentioned he really enjoyed gardening, and by chance there was a vacancy for a trainee gardener at Blickling Hall which was to be his place of work for the next 46 years during which he progressed to the position of Assistant Head Gardener. He well remembers his first pay packet - £8.10p, from which he gave his mother £2 towards his keep. There were nine full time gardeners but no volunteers, so work was long and hard.

Until the thirties the parterre consisted of many small beds but in 1933 the owner of the Hall, Lord Lothian, commissioned garden designer Norah Lindsey to redesign the gardens. Thus the four large beds seen today came into being, edged with smaller beds of roses and cat mint. She also redesigned the dry moat and Temple Walk, the latter being planted with azaleas and rhododendrons – a delightful picture in spring..

The great storm of 1987 brought down 265 trees, some over 200 years old. Stephen showed us some photographs he’d taken – fallen trees, paths and grass churned up into mud by the vehicles brought in to move the debris. The garden was closed for almost a year to be restored, while many new trees were planted, the paths rebuilt and grass areas restored and under planted with thousands of bulbs. When Paul Underwood came from Houghton Hall as Head Gardener, he designed the double borders, and developed the rose garden, the Dell garden and the Winter garden, later Stephen established the philadelphus garden.

The restoration of the walled garden was another challenge, the glasshouses had to be repaired, paths laid, many fruit trees planted together with soft fruits and vegetables – much of this produce is used in the restaurants on site or sold to visitors. All this was achieved in a little over three years.

Over the years the Blickling Estate has seen a lot of filming, and Stephen has met royal and other famous visitors. The actress Kim Cattrell was so taken with her visit that she joined the National Trust immediately.

Stephen was too modest to mention the prestigious RHS Bronze Award which he received five years ago, and the long service award with which he was presented at this year’s Royal Show. He retired in July, and now has time to enjoy his many interests, of which football and Status Quo are top of the list!

Val Weaver






Tuesday, 26 November 2019: Talk at the Costessey Centre – ‘Holly Wreath Making’ by Simon White



In June 2019 the Garden Group had a visit to Peter Beales Roses at Attleborough when we were shown round by Simon White, so we knew that we would have an enjoyable time when he came to give us a talk and demonstration on Holly Wreath Making. In a very relaxed and informal setting Simon showed us how to make a Holly Wreath and a Cross. He made it look very simple and at different stages in making the wreath and cross, they were passed round the audience for inspection. Simon had brought with him Holly Wreaths and bare root roses and being the excellent salesman he is, quite a few were sold!

This was an interesting and entertaining afternoon.

Julie Lane


Future dates:


Monday, 2 March 2020: Talk at Bawburgh Village Hall – ‘Companion Planting for a Balanced Garden’ by Dr Ian Bedford


Our speaker Dr Ian Bedford heads the Entomology Facility at the John Innes Centre, where he has worked for over 40 years. He is making a return visit to the Garden Group, previously visiting us in 2014 to talk about Garden Bugs (remember the Spanish slugs!).

The talk explains the concepts of Companion Planting and whether we can expect to see results when it’s used. Besides using plants to help other plants, many plants are also reported to have properties that can either attract or repel bugs. The talk details some of them and how they can be used in our gardens to create a natural balance system for attracting nature and keeping the pests under control.


The talk will start at 2pm at Bawburgh Village Hall, Stocks Hill, Bawburgh, NR9 3LL (Bawburgh is a turning off the B1108 Watton Road). Parking is available at the Village Hall; please note that we have been asked to avoid parking on the grass. The change in venue from the UEA Colney Lane Pavilion is due to a possible continuation of work on the Pavilion car park.


Please do bring along any surplus plants you may have, donations to help Garden Group funds.



Tuesday 28 April 2020: Talk at the Costessey Centre – ‘What was so special about Humphry Repton?’ by Professor Tom Williamson


In 2018, ‘Repton 200’ celebrated 200 years since the great landscape designer Humphry Repton died and there were many events to mark the bicentenary. Repton is said to have carried out some of his finest work in Norfolk, including Sheringham Park and Catton Park.


Tom Williamson is Professor of Landscape History at UEA and is co-editor of a book ‘Humphry Repton in Norfolk’, published in 2018. He previously gave a talk to the Retirement Association in March 2015 on ‘Ancient trees in the Norfolk landscape’, reviewed as a very lively and interesting talk.


This will be a joint talk at the Costessey Centre, Longwater Lane, Costessey, starting 2.15pm.



Thursday 11 June 2020: Visit to Hoveton Hall House and Gardens, Hoveton, Norwich NR12 8RJ


A private group tour of Hoveton Hall House and Gardens has been booked for the afternoon of Thursday 11 June, starting at 2.00pm and finishing around 5.00pm. The tour comprises a guided tour of the Hall by the owner, a self-guided tour of the gardens, tea/coffee and homemade cakes. The price is £17 per person.


The Regency hall has been owned by the Buxton family since 1946 and in 2013 passed on to Harry and Rachel Buxton. The Hall was built between 1809 - 1812 and the design is attributed to Humphry Repton and his son (and so a timely visit after our April talk on Humphry Repton!).


The Hall is well-known for its gardens, including the walled ‘Spider Garden’ (named after the wrought-iron spider’s web design gate) with its collection of rare and unusual plants. Hoveton Hall Gardens is a mix of formal and informal planting, over 15-acres of gardens and woodlands. Our visit in June should hopefully catch the last of the displays of azaleas and rhododendrons. The gardens are home to an early 19th century glass house, one of only three of its type in the country.


Further information about Hoveton Hall House and Gardens is available on their website (


If you would like to go on this visit, please complete the booking slip at the end of this newsletter and return to Julie Lane by Thursday 28 May. Hoveton Hall have asked that final numbers and full payment be sent at least one week prior to the visit so we will not be able to take any further bookings (or cancellations) after the closing date. There is a maximum number that can be accommodated of 40 people.


Hoveton Hall can be found 8 miles north of Norwich and 1 mile north of Wroxham Bridge. Parking arrangements and meeting place will be provided to those booking on the visit.



Wednesday 15 July 2020: Visit to Dale Farm, Sandy Lane, Dereham NR19 2EA


Dale Farm is a delightful 2-acre plant lover’s garden with a large spring-fed pond, owned by Graham and Sally Watts. There are over 1000 plant varieties in exuberantly planted borders and a collection of 130 hydrangea. There is a kitchen garden, orchard, naturalistic planting areas, gravel garden and sculptures. A wide choice of plants will be available for sale.


A private group visit has been arranged for Wednesday 15 July, starting at 2.00 pm. The cost of the visit is £7.50 a person, including tea and cakes. This is a return visit for the Garden Group, the previous visit being in June 2015. The description of the garden at the time noted that there were over 800 plant varieties, there are now over 1000 and so plenty to see! Graham is an Assistant County Organiser for the National Garden Scheme. Dale Farm has featured in ‘The English Garden’ and ‘EDP Norfolk’ magazines. Information about Dale Farm, including directions, is available on the NGS website (


If you would like to go on this garden visit, please complete the booking slip at the end of this newsletter and return to Pam Janacek by Monday 6 July. Parking arrangements and any further information will be provided to those booking on the visit.



Overnight Garden Group outing 2020


An overnight outing for summer 2020 is under consideration and any information will be sent out via the email circulation list referred to below. If you would be interested in joining the outing but do not have email access, please contact John Johnson (on 01603 456465).


I circulate occasional emails about Garden Group events and gardening activities. If you would like to be included in this circulation, or for general enquiries about the Garden Group, please contact Pam Janacek (

Pam Janacek






Recent events:


Friday, 29 November 2019: Tour of Norwich Cathedral


The Norman Cathedral, once the tallest building in Norfolk, has stood for over 900 years. Suffering lightning strikes, fires, riots in 1272, the Dissolution of the Priory, the English Civil War and the ravages of the Baedeker Raids during WWII, the building still dominates the City of Norwich with the spire proudly piercing our big East Anglian skies.

A chilly but sunny afternoon saw 15 UEA Retirement Association members gather in the New Hostry for a guided tour. By request our brilliant Blue Badge Guide, Jan King, led us through the Norman archway to the Cloisters. This area, part of the Benedictine Priory originally supporting the Cathedral, is a large open-sided quadrangle adjoining the Nave. The Dorter, Refectory, Chapter House, Warming Room, the original Hostry and Library all led to this area designed for meditation, exercise and recreation in the monks rigid lives.

Fire demolished the original Norman Cloister with rebuilding taking over 100 years from 1297 to 1430, the effects of the Black Death hindering completion. As we walked around, Jan pointed out the different types of Gothic tracery, illustrating the developing architectural styles of the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries.

We all developed cricks in our necks as we were introduced to some of the 1000 roof bosses clamped to the intersections of the vaulted ceilings. These painted circular carvings, said to be the best of their kind in Europe, depict biblical scenes from the Old and New Testaments. Illustrations of Fire and Brimstone from the Book of Revelations and scenes from the Apocalypse must have reminded the brethren of what awaited them if they slipped off the spiritual path laid down by St. Benedict. The carving of the blue-painted, seven-headed Beast of the Abomination with fierce jaws filled with evil sharp teeth, oversaw the hand washing (the water trough is extant) and barbering area where we were told the monks' tonsures were shaved every Saturday, before they entered the Chapter House.

Relaxation was had by the monks in the western corner of the Cloister where the now empty book cupboards survive and the board game, Nine Men's Morris can be seen carved into a stone table top. This end of the building was enhanced with foliate bosses with several green men peering through exotic gold-embellished greenery. We were shown heraldic wall paintings and stained glass in the area where Elizabeth I held a municipal banquet in 1578. Perhaps one of the most poignant reminders of the monks' occupation was the worn, indented door step leading from the Dorter to the Cloister. We could almost hear the slap and swish of their sandals and robes.

Continuing our tour in the Close we saw the remains of the Infirmary, the medieval Brewery and Bakehouse. Edith Cavell's grave gave us food for thought before we sought more tangible warmth and refreshments in the modern Refectory. Over a hot drink there was time to wonder at the skill of the nameless masons, builders and artists who strove to interpret their world so that we in turn were able to reflect on ancient and contemporary ideas.

Our thanks to our guide, Jan King, and Evelyn Mould who organised this History Group event.

Jane Towers


Future events:


Tuesday, 25 February 2020: The Strangers – Helen Hoyte & Jean Smith


In order to fill the labour shortage following the plague, we accepted the Dutch Strangers and Walloons, albeit with a few strict rules, to ply their trade in our fine City via Strangers Hall in the 16th Century. We hear how the Bishop of Norwich had to give up his home during the visit by Queen Elizabeth 1st and how Parson Woodforde had the City gates literally shut in his face.


This will be a joint talk at the Costessey Centre, Longwater Lane, Costessey, starting 2.15pm.


Suzanne Cunningham



Wednesday, 13 May 2020: Visit to the John Innes Historical Library Collections


Wednesday 13 May 2020 commencing at 11.00am. An opportunity to see this fascinating collection of books and botanical illustrations dating back 400 years which is not normally open to the public. The collection is kept in a cool, air-conditioned environment so it is suggested that visitors have some warm clothing available plus it will be necessary to climb a flight of stairs. Car parking is available at the John Innes Centre, Colney Lane – if you are parking there a note of your car registration number will need to be handed into Reception. This tour will take approximately 1 -1.1/2 hours and will have a maximum number of 20 people.


To book a place please email: Suzanne Cunningham at by Monday, 4 May 2020.


Suzanne Cunningham



Thursday, 11 June 2020: Visit to Hoveton Hall House and Gardens, Hoveton, Norwich

To let you know that the Garden Group have arranged a private group tour of Hoveton Hall House and Gardens for the afternoon of Thursday 11 June. As the visit includes a guided tour of the Regency hall whose design is attributed to Humphry Repton and his son, this visit may be of interest to the History Group. Full details and booking arrangements may be found under the Garden Group.

Pam Janacek







We are a small group who appreciate the company, friendship and fellowship of meeting with like-minded people. We have people knitting a variety of pieces from garments and baby items through to novelty items and toys; tapestry making; felting; fresh lavender bags; Christmas decoration construction and beading/jewellery making. It is interesting to see what other people are doing and to help each other with our projects. Some of our group have been knitting items for charity which are delivered via the Norfolk Knitters and Stitchers to whom we are affiliated.


If anyone is interested in coming along (you don’t have to commit to every month) we meet at the Colney Pavilion, 2-4pm on the third Monday of the month.


The Group will meet on the following dates:


     17 February 2020

16 March 2020
20 April 2020
18 May 2020
15 June 2020

     20 July 2020


If anyone would like further info., please contact me


Mandy Holland






Thursday, 12 March 2020: The Eagle, Newmarket Road , Norwich


Please meet at noon for 12.30 pm. The restaurant offers a main menu and also Ciabatta sandwiches and wraps. Depending on numbers, we may have to order in advance. Many Firstbus and Konectbus routes stop very near the pub.

If you wish to attend, please email or phone 01603 456465 by Friday, 28 February as I will be away at the beginning of March.

John Johnson


Thursday, 2 April 2020: Rushcutters Arms at Thorpe Green, Yarmouth Road


Please meet at noon for 12.30 pm. The Rushcutter’s has a car park and is by Thorpe Green, Yarmouth Road (NR7 0HE), and is well served by bus. They offer light lunches and a large varied main menu. Since lunch will need pre-ordering I will send out an up-to-date menu beforehand.


If you would like to attend, please email or phone 01603 610708 by Saturday, 28 March.

Sue Kitchener


Thursday, 7 May 2020: Kings Head, Bawburgh


Please meet at 12:00 for 12:30. We will have to pre-order so I will circulate the menu in April (the menu is changed every 6 weeks).


If you wish to attend, please email Pat Gyte at or phone 01603 458099 by Friday, 24 April or earlier if possible.

Pat Gyte



Thursday, 4th June 2020: Red Lion, Drayton


Please arrive before noon as the carvery opens at noon. The restaurant offers a traditional carvery for £6.95 or two pub classics from £11.99. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free menus are available. Firstbus routes 28, 29 and X29 stop just across the road from the pub. There is a bus every 15 minutes from St Stephen’s and Castle Meadow and the journey time is about 20 minutes.


If you wish to attend, please email or phone 01603 456465 by Wednesday, 27 May.


John Johnson


If you would like to be added to the email list of regular diners, please email






In addition to planned events, information about musical activities in Norwich is circulated from time to time to members who have shown interest. If you would like to be included in this circulation or wish to publicise any concert or musical event, please email Verity Lyall at or phone 01603 613698


Forthcoming events:


Saturday, 29 February: Keswick Hall Choir


United Reformed Church, Princes Street, 19.30


Sermon on the Mount


Cecilia McDowall: Ash Wednesday
Alissa Firsova: Stabat Mater
Arvo Pärt: The Beatitudes
Carl Rütti: Sermon on the Mount
Organ solos by Leoš Janáček and Petr Eben


Two settings of The Beatitudes are juxtaposed with two beautiful works for Lent and Holy Week and David Dunnett will explore the tonal range of the Willis organ in works by two Czech masters.

Organ: David Dunnett
Director: Chris Duarte

If you would like to join a Retirement Association group to hear this well-loved local choir in a most interesting programme linked to the season, tickets are £14pp unreserved. Please send cheques payable to UEA Retirement Association to Verity Lyall to arrive no later than 14th February. The group will meet before the concert for refreshments in Cinema City bar.


Two free events:


Wednesday, 4 March 2020: Ben Johnson (tenor) & Tom Primrose (piano)


Strode Concert Room, UEA Music Centre, 13.10 (doors open 13.05)


Many of us have enjoyed these lunchtime concerts and here is another to look forward to. No need to worry about tickets, just get to the Strode Room in good time to get a seat.



Sunday, 8 March 2020: UEA Chamber Choir Spring Concert


St Georges Tombland, 18.30


Under the direction of UEA Choirmaster Tom Primrose, chamber choir will perform a selection of Motets by Bach, including Singet dem Herrn and Komm Jesu Komm. William Falconer will present some of the composer's best loved organ music. Do get there in plenty of time as St Georges is a small church and there will be a queue. Doors open at 18.00 and seats fill up quickly. I've recommended the Chamber Choir on several occasions and have no hesitation in doing so again.



Saturday, 21 March 2020: Norwich Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus


St Andrew's Hall, 19.30


Beethoven: Missa Solemnis


Nina Bennet - soprano

Jessica Gillingwater - mezzo soprano

Daniel Bartlette - tenor

Robert Rice - bass

If you would like to join a Retirement Association group seated in the West Gallery to hear this exciting and seldom performed work, tickets are £18 pp. Please send cheques payable to UEA Retirement Association to Dr A Coddington by 28th February.


The group will meet before the concert for refreshments in Cinema City bar.



Saturday, 25 April 2020: Keswick Hall Choir with The Fishergate Viols


St Peter Mancroft, 19.30




Nicholas Barton Semper Dowland (First performance)
William Byrd Ave verum corpus
Bob Chilcott Silver swan
John Dowland Flow my tears & Can she excuse
Orlando Gibbons The silver swan
Henry Purcell arr. Gavin Bryars Dido’s lament
John Sheppard Libera nos I & II
John Tavener Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis ‘Collegium Regale’
Roderick Williams Ave verum corpus re-imagined
Music for Viol Consort


Please join us to hear an unusual programme explores reworkings, elaborations and re-imaginings. New pieces out of old (Barton, Chilcott & Williams), John Sheppard’s reworking of his own music and John Tavener’s iconic setting of the evening canticles are set alongside works for viol consort.


Tickets are £12 pp in advance. Please send cheques payable to UEA Retirement Association to Verity Lyall to arrive no later than 27th March.


The group will meet before the concert for refreshments, venue to be decided.



Looking forward to the summer:


Saturday, 20 June 2020: Academy of St Thomas


Salle Church 19.30pm


Music for a Summer Evening


Elgar Serenade for Strings
Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn & Strings
Holst Brook Green Suite
Mendelssohn String Symphony No.9

Joshua Ellicott – Tenor
Anna Douglass – Horn
Matthew Andrews – Conductor


Don't miss our annual visit to the summer concert in beautiful Salle church. Tickets are £16 pp and once again Alan Coddington has kindly volunteered his help. If you would like to join us, please send cheques payable to UEA Retirement Association to Dr A Coddington by 31st March.


Don't forget to bring a picnic to enjoy in these glorious surroundings.


Verity Lyall