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

Dog Otter injures north Norfolk Labrador

Monday 17th April 2017.


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                                                                        Photograph taken by Ian Sanderson CC:2.0.

A Labrador has been left in severe condition after encountering an otter earlier today.

The dog jumped into a drainage ditch while on a walk today in Reepham, north Norfolk when he encountered the otter.

The male otter which are known as a ‘dog o
tter’, viscously attacked the dog. The owner, Charles Austin, reports “Suddenly there was a lot of splashing and whining.

“I thought my dog was going to lose an eye. He was bitten so violently; his entire face was covered in blood”.

The dog was taken to the Emergency vet where he received a dozen stitches and an operation on his eye.

otter 2     Photograph of the drainage ditch in Reepham, north Norfolk, where the incident happened. This is the first siting of an otter in this area. PC: Olivia Frost

Otter population ‘out of control.’

Paul Roberts, a north Norfolk fisherman, commented on the incident: “I am not surprised about the incident.

“Something needs to be done about the otter population in north Norfolk. It is getting out of control”.

Since 2011, the release of otters into the wild by the ‘Otter Trust conservation’ project has resulted in a massive growth in the otter population.

There are now otters in every county in the UK. As a result, otters have been travelling into newly exposed areas looking for food.

Otters ‘dangerous when approached.’

Peter Ham, chair of the ‘North Norfolk Fishermen’s Society’ said “There are a lot of open areas for food.

otter 3                                                     Photograph of the chair of the north Norfolk Fisherman’s    Society – Peter Ham. PC: Olivia Frost                                                                                    

But otters have lost their caution of humans.

Ham expressed a great belief that the population will decrease and the incident with the dog was rare.

“People will bump into them more because of the lack of the caution. They are only dangerous when they are suddenly approached”.

Ham is still wary around the animal despite him saying they’re not dangerous: “I wouldn’t trust my dogs near them, the dog was lucky to get away with just stitches I reckon”.

Otter danger to Norfolk carp
More commonly reported is the danger otters pose for Koi carp. Otters have started to kill peoples karp ponds since the increase in population.

otter 4                                            Otters have become a massive threat to koi carp ponds in  Norfolk.   PC: Bernard Spragg. CC0 1.0.

Couple, Nick and Clare Walters, from Holme-next-to-the-sea in Norfolk, had £10,000 worth of carp killed after by an otter who had taken residence in their garden.

Mrs Walters warned other Norfolk koi owners to protect their koi ponds as otters have started to migrate from the wild to gardens.

For more information on the ‘Otter Trust Conversation’ project and its impact, visit ukwildottertrust.org.

Olivia Frost