Council member Charlotte Gurney, who was returning from the launch of Aylsham Show’s Norfolk Hero Food and Drink Awards 2015 at Blickling Hall on Tuesday, February 10, saw the mute swan and flagged down a passing vet Helen Boast, of Westover Veterinary Centre.

Helen, who was actually en route from Hainford to meet show president Tony Bambridge at Park Farm, Blickling, grabbed a clip board and used it to drive the year-old male swan into a nearby loke.

The swan had reached the town’s thatched Soame Pump and had already waddled by the nearby Black Sheep Shop along the Blickling Road.

At that stage, Michael Pollitt, who is a life vice-president of the Aylsham Agricultural Show Association, had arrived and offered to help. He had also seen the swan and recognised a fellow committee member of Stalham Farmers’ Club.

Once the swan had been safely shepherded off the main road, Helen called a colleague Elliott Simpson, who is a fully-fledged veterinary surgeon with Westover and an avian expert to boot.

Then the three members of Stalham Farmers’ Club managed to herd the swan into a corner of the loke and used a borrowed curtain to catch it.

Ironically, Mr Pollitt, who is the EDP’s former agricultural editor was wearing the club’s unique silk tie. He added: “Funnily enough the club’s emblem is a swan-necked hoe!

An Australian veterinary student, Sarah Hanlon, who was spending the day with Mrs Boast, captured the swan chase on her camera. Later, it was given a thorough vetting by Mr Simpson.

The swan, named Michael by Mrs Boast, was set free by a millpond between Moorgate and Itteringham, and swam off without further incident.


To nominate – food-hero-awards – by May 15.

Anyone can nominate a hero, local pub, shop or those producing outstanding food or drinks.

John Wootten President of Aylsham Show 2017
Aylsham Show President I am very pleased and honoured to be President of the Aylsham Show in 2017. We moved to Aylsham in 1978, but as a ship’s captain, my job took me abroad for several years. In 1982 my wife’s uncle, John Thornton, then local director of Barclays Bank was President of the Show and he persuaded me to get involved. When illness forced me to retire from the sea, I became Assistant Showground Director to Tom Elwes for several years until 1992. After some years building up Eastern Events, in 2010 I took over as Show Director from Jamie Jamieson. My grandfather farmed at Horsham St Faith and I like to think that he may have visited the show in its formative years. My wife Charlotte certainly competed at the Show in the 1960’s, majoring on the gymkhana. Up until the end of last year I was a director of Revival Productions who have staged very successful concerts in Blickling Park for the past 5 years. All of us who work for the Show have special moments. As Show Director I was always on site by 5 am – a magical time with the mist rising and everything just stirring. The stockmen are washing down their cattle, and sheep are calling to one another. But soon it is all go and you look at your watch and discover it is 2 o’clock in the afternoon before you know it. One of the things I will really enjoy as President is actually being able to see the Show and to meet and thank all the people who make it such a success. The Show is a fantastic organisation where people give their time and energy to raise money for local charities and I am very proud to be a part of it and to be President in 2017.
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