Is this beginning of the end for our local churches?

Friday 28th April 2017.

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PC: Olivia Frost

The resignation of Rector Margaret Dean and Associate priest Reverent Tim Dean comes two months after the announcement of the upcoming alignment of church parishes. Rector Dean has been leading rector of four churches for the past ten years; St. Mary’s in Reepham, St. Andrew’s in Wood Dalling, St. Peter and Paul in Salle and St. Andrew’s in Thurning.  Since the Church of England’s recognition that churches have a high upkeep with a national lack of funding, cuts have been made, including in north Norfolk. This has made rector Dean responsible for 11 churches instead of the original four she was rector of. After the busy schedule and stress resulted in the Dean family retiring, it begs the question is this the end for our local churches? Are these cuts going to make other reverends quit and maybe even, small churches closing for good?

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The cuts involve a significant reduction in the funding given to churches and the hiring of reverends and priests. St. Peter and Paul’s church in Salle had to cancel all their services in January earlier this year. Salle is not the only village feeling the effects of the lack of funding from the Church of England. Churchwarden of St, Andrew’s in Wood Dalling, Aider Fisher, has expressed her concerns about the survival of St. Andrews since the cuts. During an interview earlier this week, Aider said: “our church services are going to be drastically cut. We can’t run Sunday service at the moment as theirs a hole in the church’s roof. There is no spare money left from the central funding scheme because of the cost cut. We’re trying to collect money locally, but at this rate, it looks like we might have to close for a significant amount of time”.

Aider has been churchwarden for over 20 years, and her life has been invested in her work for the church. If the church can’t find enough money, the effects will mean a drastic life change for Aider and other elder members of the village of Wood Dalling. Aider added to her previous comments saying: “I know we only have a congregation of four but we do have a good turnout for our events in the summer. They didn’t have to make our vicar unemployed. No wonder Margaret has resigned, it’s a lot of work leading 11 services. That’s at least six services she’d had to run in one day!”.

Even though the tradition of going to church every Sunday has declined drastically over the years in thousands of families across the UK, the church is still a key part of small villages such as Salle and Wood Dalling. If more reactors are made redundant or retire, local churches might call for volunteers which may result in the final closing of these churches if permeant roles can’t be filled.

Olivia Frost

Man falls of church tower

Norfolk cows strike again

Thursday 20th April 2017.

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                                                                              PC: Olivia Frost

Norfolk is known by many as a place for farming. With this, comes the expectation that a lot of farm animals will be able to be spotted and encountered across the county. However, this picturesque image has started to be tainted since 2009. Cows in Norfolk have started to become dangerous. Yes, they are starting to become ‘killer cows’. This raises the question that if their reputation in Norfolk, and arguably across the UK, is starting to become increasingly negative, then why are the public still putting themselves in danger by walking amongst them on walks and nature treks? This is answered simply by cow attacks are as simple as that. They are attacks. They are unexpected, and unfortunately, sometimes they cannot be avoided.

This month has already seen two reported incidents in Norfolk. Yesterday, David Gammons, a resident of Aylmerton for over 20 years, was chased by a bullock, a young bull, whilst doing the walk he has been doing for years in Roman Camp, north Norfolk. The dog walker said: “I have walked across these fields for years and the cows have always been fine, even friendly. But the other day it was different. It was a completely new herd”. Roman Camp is a public footpath and can be found in nearly all ‘Norfolk walks’ books. This is the first cow related incident to be recorded on the grounds, but because of the heard being new, it creates the question that similar events might unfold soon.

Away from Roman Camp, the village of Hethel in south Norfolk, saw one of its female residents rushed to hospital after a new herd had been placed in the village. Earlier this week, the resident was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital following a head injury, after a Bullock knocked a gate over onto the woman. The woman was stood with her dog on the road while looking at the field of cows when the bullock backed up on to gate causing it to fall onto the woman and continued to run up the road into a neighbouring field.

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                                                                               PC: Olivia Frost

In 2015, it was reported that since 2000 there have been 74 reports of people being killed in the UK. Many of those killed by cows were farmers. In 2013, a farmer was sadly killed by one of his bulls, after being attacked while working on the farm. As the number of incidents has started to increase, so has the number of self-help guides on how to avoid, and handle, encounters with cows; especially during the summer months. However, as this month alone suggests, people are still being traumatised by cows, especially when mistaken for normal herds that are used to human traffic. Therefore, I suggest that farmers should start putting up signs on popular public footpaths if the cow herd has been changed. This would hopefully remind those who have gotten accustomed to old herds, to be aware and cautious with the new residents a-come-upon during their regular walks.

Olivia Frost