Wensum, by Jim Harding, May 24

crammer house
crammer house

A so-called stakeholders meeting at the racecourse recently behind closed doors hardly filled the rest of us with optimism.

Talking to people around the town I’ve hardly been enlightened. What does seem to be on the front agenda is a decision by health chiefs to economise the way care is provided by closing down beds at the home on Norwich Road. The idea is to replace the current system of patients being cared for on site on a 24 hour basis with community care teams who will be tasked with visiting people in their own homes.

This is sensitive territory. Such is the high reputation of Cranmer in its respite care for local residents just released from hospital or recovering from injury or illness that the alternative hardly appeals. I’ve visited many friends and acquaintances at the home and they have been unanimous in their praise for the nurses and staff who have looked after them. They also commend the quality of the meals. It’s such a friendly environment that no-one should also deny the importance of the social dimension. Home visits would not be anything like as positive an experience for those recuperating.

Fakenham mayor Adrian Vertigan knows a great deal about the onus of caring for close family members and he made his feelings known at the May town council meeting when he said that the general public out there was very angry indeed over the issue.

What this means, I think, is the possibility of the home closing down, a possibility that has already been invoked by the presence of numerous ‘Save Cranmer House’ petitions in town centre shops and offices.

Over the years we have lost so many key locally-based services on ‘economic’ grounds that it’s hardly surprising that people might fear the worst. Should there be a diminution of everyday care, as seems likely, the impact on employees is also bound to be significant. Job losses, inevitably.

A sentence delivered by former GP George Acheson, our deputy mayor, at this month’s council meeting, had a very hollow ring about it. I wrote it down at the time and have just looked at my notes again. After a reference to the possible withdrawal of social services beds at Cranmer he added: “It’s likely that the whole thing will go.” Before the rumours become too negative it would be good to know from those in the know what the future really does hold.

n When it comes to musicals I admit to being rather ‘old school’. I may not sing along with the popular tunes, many of which I seem to have grown up with, but have been known to burst forth on the way home from performances. And subsequently with the likes of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. So how was I to manage with the most recent production by our local operatic society, Fadlos? I’d hardly heard of the American hit Legally Blonde, let alone any numbers from its score. Would I get the message? In the event, the answer was resoundingly positive. What I loved right from the start up there on the community centre stage was the sheer energy of it all. The principally young cast sang and danced almost non-stop, thoroughly enjoyed themselves and transmitted their enthusiasm to the audience. On the night of my attendance, this was close to 200 which must have been heart-warming for the society. The only sad note announced before the start was that one of the performers, Hayley Penney, had fallen and broken her leg just days prior to curtain up. In true ‘the show must go on’ style, her place as Serena was seamlessly taken on by Katy Ferris. I can’t say I’ve been humming the hits from Legally Blonde in its aftermath but if you ask if I’d go and see it again, yes, I certainly would. Congratulations to everyone involved.