Actors rehearsing for a Christmas panto jumped into action to tackle hedge fire

PUBLISHED: 18:13 25 November 2018 | UPDATED: 20:17 25 November 2018

Donna Lovett at site of Taverham park blaze, with fire extinguisher.

Donna Lovett at site of Taverham park blaze, with fire extinguisher.


Quick-thinking thespians rehearsing for a Christmas pantomime jumped into action when a fire broke out close to the village hall where they were practicing.

The New Taverham Players were treading the boards of Taverham Village Hall on Friday evening but instead of on stage the drama occurred outside, when a nearby hedge in Sandy Lane was set on fire.

Donna Lovett, who is in the chorus of the players’ production of Dick Whittington in December, said: “A couple of boys 
were sitting on the bench and looked across and shouted ‘oh my gosh there’s a fire’.”

One of the members, who was outside at the time, ran in to alert the group.

And Kirk Wills, who is in charge of costumes, and Callum Perry, who is playing Dick Whittington, ran out to tackle the blaze, armed with fire extinguishers from the hall.

Site of Taverham park blazeSite of Taverham park blaze

Mrs Lovett said: “We were expecting it to be one of the bins, that’s happened lots of times. They used three fire extinguishers, and if it were not for them it could have been much worse.”

The fire service were called and tackled what was left of the blaze, which was close to houses and a children’s play area.

Firefighters thought the fire was started deliberately and it is believed the actors prevented the fire spreading further.

One crew from Sprowston used hose reel jets to extinguish the flames.

Firefighters tackle a blaze near Taverham Village Hall. Photo: Donna LovettFirefighters tackle a blaze near Taverham Village Hall. Photo: Donna Lovett

Mrs Lovett added: “I do think it was started on purpose because this time of year you would be very surprised if it could light like it did.”

And she said because of the wet weather she suspected the culprits may have even used a substance such as petrol to get the blaze to catch light.

Concerns have previously been raised by residents about the use of the hedge as a cover for taking and dealing drugs.

And Mrs Lovett said there was an element of anti-social behaviour.

She said: “If it were not for the fact we had been rehearsing in the hall it would’ve been worse.”

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