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Caston Head on National TV

by michael - 16:12 on 10 November 2006
You may have seen a BBC Look East programme a day or two ago featuring the headmaster and some of the most delightful children at Redcastle Furze School in Thetford and have thought it had little to do with Caston.  Well, how wrong you would be because that headteacher, Dr Andy Sheppard, happens to live right here in Caston.  I wondered how it happened that he and his school would feature on television, not just locally but nationally as well so I contacted him and asked how it came about.  The following is his account of what happened.
After a visit from the EDP to my school in Thetford in September to cover the sad story of one of the children from the school who had died in a house fire over the summer holiday, one of the reporters noticed that I had lost some weight since he had last seen me. With the school meals debate moving into a higher gear with legislation forcing changes to school dinners from September, they were interested in covering the story for the paper.
Initially, it began as a newspaper story for the EDP pointing out that I had made the change to a healthy eating diet following a rather frightening visit to the doctor at the end of January and realising for the first time that my weight had increased to in excesses of twenty stone. It moved to television coverage on local BBC and ITV, News 24 and GMTV going national, which was rather more than we had anticipated when the EDP arrived to take a photo the day before.
Putting on weight just seemed to creep up on me and since returning to the UK to live, I just hadn’t realised that it was getting so out of control, having assumed myself to be around the sixteen stone mark and more “pleasingly plump” than in the at risk category of over weight. Working with the Head Cook at work, I decided to look at healthy eating as an alternative to the chips and processed food that picture by courtesy of eastern daily presshad become my diet. Until January of this year, we tended to buy pre-prepared food that took a minimum amount of cooking in the microwave with virtually no fresh fruit or vegetables ever appearing on my plate.
At the end of January, we made the switch. Out went processed food; in came salads, fresh fruit, fresh vegetable and lots of fresh fish and off came the weight. The reduction was noticeable almost immediately and by the end of the first month I had lost a stone. By sticking with the diet, I lost eight stone in eight months, which obviously had major implications for my clothes. I dropped from buying 44 inch waist trousers to 32 inch trousers and from a 52 inch jacket to a 42 inch jacket. Losing the weight has given me lots more energy and I can honestly say that I eat well, I am never hungry, never feel I need to snack between meals and we enjoy the food so much that we have no plans to return to our old ways.

Quite a few people have asked for copies of the diet, which I am very happy to provide in exchange for a contribution to funds at my school of £1. If anyone wants the secret, send £1 to Redcastle Furze School in Thetford and we’ll send you a copy.
(Picture by courtesy of Eastern Daily Press)

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