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Supporters back The Corn Hall in Diss, Banham Zoo and The English Distillery in their droves to seal award wins





Diss Corn Hall has won its “David and Goliath” battle to be crowned Norfolk’s best arts, culture and theatre venue.

The St Nicholas Street site triumphed in the 2024 Muddy Stilettos Awards, with public votes securing the win in the face of stiff competition.

Having been nominated by volunteer Suzanne Kayne, it went up against Norwich Theatre Royal, Gorleston Pavilion Theatre, Cromer Pier Pavilion Theatre and Sheringham Little Theatre.

Staff and volunteers at the Corn Hall celebrate their win in this year’s Muddy Stiletto Awards. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Staff and volunteers at the Corn Hall celebrate their win in this year’s Muddy Stiletto Awards. Picture: Mark Bullimore

Heading into the awards, bosses described the daunting task as a “David and Goliath” battle, but they need not have worried as people backed the attraction in their droves.

Keith Philpot, head of operations at the Corn Hall, told the Diss Express they had been overwhelmed by the level of support in the run-up to the awards.

“We are so grateful to Suzanne and our amazing team of volunteers for nominating us for the award in the first place,” he said.

“With such an amazing arts scene in Norfolk, we always knew that we would be up against some very tough competition, so to be named as a finalist in our category was a huge honour.

“The support from our incredible volunteers and our local community has been nothing short of fantastic and we were absolutely blown away by the number of Corn Hall fans, followers and friends who took the time, not only to vote, but to encourage others to do so, too.

“We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who nominated us, voted for us and got behind us. It means a lot to us. The team are buzzing.”

The Corn Hall first opened as an arts venue in 2010, before undergoing an ambitious renovation programme as part of a major regeneration project to transform the town’s Heritage Triangle.

Debbie Gaze, chairman of the board of trustees, said the award was an honour, not just for the venue, but the town as well.

“Diss is a wonderful place to live in, to work in and to visit and we are so proud to be a part of it,” she said.

“We could not do what we do without the support of the people of Diss and its surrounding area. We really hope that this award helps to put this lovely town on the map.”

They was more good news for the area, with Banham Zoo crowned Best Family Attraction.

Banham Zoo was crowned Best Family Attraction in the Muddy Stilettos awards. Picture submitted
Banham Zoo was crowned Best Family Attraction in the Muddy Stilettos awards. Picture submitted

Joshua Hunter-Harl, head of income generation at the Zoological Society of East Anglia, which runs the site, said: “Winning this prestigious regional award holds great significance to us and is a testament to the hard work of everyone at the zoo.

“Our dedicated team are passionate about what we do and the animals we care for, and receiving recognition from the public for this is incredibly rewarding.

“We want to thank our members, guests and supporters for their unwavering support throughout the year, and for voting for us to win this award.”

In the same week as being featured in The Times for being one of the seven best whisky distilleries in the UK, The English Distillery in Roudham triumphed in the Local Food / Drink Producer category.

Andrew Nelstrop, chief executive of The English Distillery in Roudham, which won the county’s Local Food / Drink Producer category . Picture submitted
Andrew Nelstrop, chief executive of The English Distillery in Roudham, which won the county’s Local Food / Drink Producer category . Picture submitted

Director Katy Nelstrop told the Diss Express: “We are so thankful to all our amazing customers, followers, friends and family for taking the time to vote for us and for their continued support. It means so much to us.”

The Harling Road site has also won Best Single Malt category at the World Whiskies Awards this year for its English Sherry Cask.

The regional winners will now go through to the national finals, which take place in July.



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