7 feel-good stories from 2021 that will make you smile

Maisie Furze, is giving 50 presents to a food bank for children to enjoy this Christmas. Pictures:

Maisie, 9, gave 50 presents to a food bank for children to enjoy this Christmas. - Credit: Archant

Another year filled with Covid lockdowns and disruption has been challenging for many.

However, 2021 has not been without its feel-good stories, particularly in light of the uplifting Christmas miracle of search dog Juno being found after a week missing in Fritton Woods.

Here are seven other positive stories that happened this year to make you smile.

1. Smashed car windscreen

The rock narrowly missed Becky Cunningham and her two children as she was driving towards Lowestoft from Beccles.

The rock narrowly missed Becky Cunningham and her two children as she was driving towards Lowestoft from Beccles. - Credit: Kirk Bardsley

Car technician Kirk Bardsley decided to step in and help mum-of-two Becky Cunningham after her car windscreen was destroyed by a rogue rock on the Barnby Bends on the A146.

The rock narrowly missed Ms Cunningham and her two children, a three-year-old and a nine-month-old, but shattered the glass windscreen.

Mr Bardsley heard Ms Cunningham's story and wanted to do the work for free as a gesture of goodwill.

"With Covid and Christmas, a lot of people don't have spare money," said Mr Bardsley.

"We need more kindness in the world at the moment and I wanted to make a small contribution."

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2. Stolen wreath

Bertie Anderson-Haggart and her family.

Gavin Haggart, Poppy Anderson-Haggart, Bertie Anderson-Haggart and Alfred Anderson-Haggart (L-R) are all delighted with the wreath gifted by a stranger. - Credit: Evie Anderson

A kind stranger gave a family a wreath after theirs was stolen from their door in Cabbell Road, Cromer, during the night.

Bertie Anderson-Haggart and her family had moved into the house four days before Christmas in 2020 and had not had time to decorate, so wanted to make it extra special this year.

Mrs Anderson-Haggart posted about it on the Love Cromer Facebook page to warn others and see if it had turned up on someone else's door. 

But the family's sadness was short-lived as by the afternoon a kind stranger had left a handmade wreath with a handwritten letter on their front porch, signed at the end with 'M x'. 

It said: “I saw on Facebook someone took your wreath.

"I’m so sorry, but I wanted to make you a replacement in case it didn’t come back.

“I’m not great at making wreaths but I hope this is an ok replacement and brings a little joy and faith in the kindness of strangers.

“Wishing you a very happy Christmas and a healthy new year."

3. A homemade winter wonderland

Hayden Moon celebrating his huge American Christmas light show at his home in Newton Flotman. Pictur

Hayden Moon celebrating his huge American Christmas light show at his home in Newton Flotman. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Hayden Moon, 49, spent 2021 turning his house in Grove Way, Newton Flotman, into a winder wonderland with 10,000 lights.

He was inspired after watching videos on YouTube of Christmas light sequences at homes in America and he also loves films like 1989 festive classic Christmas Vacation. 

He has now created his own show and it lasts for 30 minutes and runs four times a night between 5pm and 7pm each day until Sunday, January 2.

It features lots of interactive elements and is set to Christmas and popular songs, including from The Polar Express and The Greatest Showman, with background music from 4pm too. 

4. Norwich girl gives presents to Food Bank

Maisie Furze, is giving 50 presents to a food bank for children to enjoy this Christmas. Pictures:

Maisie, 9, gave 50 presents to a food bank for children to enjoy this Christmas. - Credit: Archant

Nine-year-old Maisie Furze saved up all year to give presents to a food bank for children to enjoy this Christmas.

Maisie and her mum Laura took 50 presents to Silver Road Community Food Bank in Norwich with gifts such as Lego and makeup kits.

Maisie's mother, Laura, said: "She tries to do something every year. She knows how lucky she is and wants to help others. She'll normally give away her old toys but now she's getting a bit older she doesn't really play with toys anymore.

"Maisie's always been really sweet and caring. I'm really proud of her."

5. Norfolk brewery wins award for its first ever lager

Dave and wife Mandy Cornell after winning the award.

Dave and wife Mandy Cornell after winning the award. - Credit: Poppyland Brewery

Cromer's Poppyland Brewery was awarded a bronze medal in the 2021 International Beer Challenge against competition from hundreds of brewers from 15 different countries across the world, including Germany, the United States and Japan.

The brewery, which was founded in 2012, had never brewed a lager until this year, when owner Dave Cornell brewed a Vienna lager under the name Empress.

Mr Cornell said: "I'm delighted that our very first attempt at making a lager at Poppyland has been so successful.

"It was a one-off, as are most of our beers, but we will almost certainly be brewing it again next year after this win."

6. Hethersett Academy Student wins place at prestigious music school

Singer Rhiannon Roberts, a student at Hethersett Academy, has been offered a place at the prestigious Chetham's School of...

Singer Rhiannon Roberts, a student at Hethersett Academy, was offered a place at the prestigious Chetham's School of Music in Manchester. - Credit: Inspiration Trust

Earlier this year, Hethersett Academy student Rhiannon Roberts was offered an unconditional place at one of the UK's most prestigious music schools.

After completing a series of tough video auditions, year 11 student Ms Roberts was given a guaranteed spot at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester.

She said: "I was handed the confirmation letter while out for a meal with the family on Christmas Eve, and was in total shock that Chetham’s had accepted me.

"Having gone through three auditions which involved aural tests, having to send four videos singing different genres and being asked lots of questions, they gave no indication if they were going to accept me.

"I am really looking forward to joining the vocal department and doing my music, drama and theatre A-levels at such a prestigious music school."

7. First Norfolk school to win a teaching award

Wymondham College has become the first school in Norfolk to ever win an award at the National Teaching Awards.

Wymondham College has become the first school in Norfolk to ever win an award at the National Teaching Awards. - Credit: Supplied

Wymondham College became the first school in Norfolk to ever win an award at the National Teaching Awards.

The school was recognised at the National Teaching Awards for 'Making A Difference' and was voted 'Secondary School of the Year'.

Nadhim Zahawi, the secretary of state for education, said: “I would like to congratulate Wymondham College for this recognition of their amazing work and dedication to their students.

"Winning one of these awards is a terrific achievement and is testament to their skill, commitment, and passion for teaching.”