Girls help fight coastal erosion

Most schoolgirls spend their time worrying about make-up, music and boys.

But these two 12-year-olds are more concerned about coastal erosion.

In fact, Megan Elkin and Hayley Phenix are so worried about their clifftop village being swallowed by the sea that they washed cars and did odd jobs for months to raise cash for a campaign group.

Now the two, of Whimpwell Street, Happisburgh, have handed over more than £100 to boost the Coastal Concern Action Group funds.

Hayley said: "We don't need anything so there was no point us keeping the money. We wanted it to go to a good cause and to people that really need it."

Malcolm Kerby, co-ordinator of CCAG, said: "It's so rewarding to see two young girls caring about such an important issue. It must have taken them a lot of time and effort to raise this money. Hopefully this will inspire other members of the community to get involved too. Together we can help prevent the disappearance of our homes."

CCAG was set up by Happisburgh residents to campaign for sea defences in a bid to try to save their village. It has subsequently spawned a separate charity which will look at the possibility of self-funded defences.

It recently had a breakthrough when North Norfolk District Council agreed to do any defence work for the village - as long as the charity paid for it.

Happisburgh has seen more than 25 homes topple into the sea in the last 15 years, and was recently featured on BBC television's Restoration Village programme - but as a "lost cause".

Mr Kerby said: "The government is now operating a policy of not funding defences to prevent coastal erosion, and as a result it's up to us to do something. In the next couple of years there will be more and more towns and villages following our lead and setting up their own action groups as the sea encroaches on them."

A car boot sale will be held on the field next to the Happisburgh lifeboat shed on August 20 from 10am to 3pm.

Pitches are £5 and the cash raised at the event will go to the CCAG fundraising effort. Call 01692 650553 for more information.

A sponsored tandem parachute jump at New Buckenham by former Happisburgh resident Stuart Simmons raised more than £200.

The money will be split between the Happisburgh efforts and a child cancer charity.