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Inside Out: Surprising Stories, Familiar Places

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   Coming Up : Inside Out - East: Monday January 30, 2006

Endangered horns

Trombone players
Diss-located bones are promoting the trombone

We're all aware of the worries about endangered wildlife, but there are now fears some musical instruments could die out - because so few people are taking them up.

Among those at risk are the double bass, oboe and French horn.

And in East Anglia the fight is on to save one of our most distinctive sounds… the trombone.

The situation is so serious it has been listed as one of six endangered instruments at risk of disappearing altogether.

Years ago the trombone really was the King of Cool with big stars like Glenn Miller causing a sensation.

Bands like the Norfolk based Diss-located Bones are doing what they can to promote the instruments.

And events are being held by The British Trombone Society to encourage players young and old.

Inside Out went to listen to one at Oundle School in Peterborough.

They'd gathered as many of the remaining trombone players together as possible.

Taking action

Youth Music is a UK wide charity set which receives £10 million a year funding from the National Lottery through the Arts Council.

Its Endangered and Protected Species programme tackles the problems of falling numbers of young people taking up and continuing to play six instruments - the bassoon, double bass, French horn, oboe, trombone and tuba.

Youth Music is hoping that its programme will encourage more youngsters to take up horns including the trombone.

In the meantime numbers of horn players are still worryingly low, and it will take time for new initiatives to develop a new generation of horn players.

So enjoy the trombone while you can.

Unless more youngsters join their ranks the trombone will soon slide towards extinction.

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Animal hoarding

RSPCA raid
RSPCA raid on animal hoarders

Forty reptiles including crocodiles and turtles, living in appalling conditions, a terrible stench and the bodies of another 80 animals.

This was the disturbing scene that met RSPCA inspectors when they visited a house near Wisbech.

The animals' owners Eric and Janice Dowers appeared in court in 2004 and pleaded guilty to cruelty.

They were sent to prison for 35 days and banned from keeping animals for the rest of their lives.

Cases like this are not uncommon.

Now new research from America suggests in many cases offenders can't help what they're doing and could be suffering from an obsessive disorder.

They feel compelled to collect animals and get to a point where they just can't cope.

Compulsive behaviour

Research is now trying to understand why cases like this happen in the first place.

Gary Petrone
Psychologist Gary Petrone

Psychologist Gary Petrone believes that the problem can often be traced back to childhood trauma.

He also believes that prosecuting owners rarely solves the underlying problem and questions whether taking people's animals away is the whole answer:

"There's a strong compulsive element. Until you find out what is driving the behaviour you cant help that person.

We now recognised that with drinking etc - you can't just stop that person - if you just get rid of the animals, it wont solve the problem. The animals are the symptom not the problem." Gary Petrone.

Of course not everyone who keeps lots of animals lets them suffer.

ANIMAL HOARDING

Common characteristics of animal hoarding include:

* More than the typical number of companion animals.

* An inability to provide minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation, shelter, and veterinary care.

* Animal neglect can result in starvation, illness, and death to the animal.

* Denial of the inability to provide this minimum care and the impact of that failure on the animals.

Source: The Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium

Elizabeth Clayton from Norwich started collecting rats 20 years ago, after her daughter brought two home.

They bred and soon found themselves with dozens more.

They were then joined by others, rescued from people who couldn't look after their animals.

The RSPCA regularly visit and are happy with the condition of the rats.

Although the rats are very well looked after, Elizabeth has been advised it's probably not a good idea to take any more.

Despite having so many animals she doesn't think she's suffering from any kind of compulsive disorder.

Animal lovers

Gary Petrone agrees that not everyone who has large numbers of animals has a problem:

"Where it becomes a problem is when one fails to see that behaviour is harming you or the animals."

While research continues, the sad reality is that some animals will continue to suffer.

Prosecuting their owners is at the moment the only weapon law enforcement agencies have.

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Knitting

Two men knitting
Purly kings and queens - the new generation of knitters

Over the last couple of decades, knitting's popularity has plummeted.

And it was left to a few to keep the needles clicking at home.

But now it is all different.

Forget all your knitting pre-conceptions.

Knitting is so cool it's up there with snowboarding!

New generation of knitters

Knitting has suddenly become a pastime to partake in with pride.

And this new generation of knitters is getting out and doing it in public.

They call this Stitch and Bitch. Groups are starting up in many of our towns.

In Norwich knitters exchange ideas and get advice with their latest project over a drink or two.

Even ace snowboarders are at it.

James Thorne is a champion boarder from Norfolk, and he loves getting the needles out.

He can often be seen knocking up the odd hat on the slopes.

Craft tradition

Women getting together to knit is not new.

Once it happened in most of our communities, a tradition being continued today by Pam Herron, at her home in Stilton, Cambridgeshire.

Pam Herron knitting
Pam Herron is one of the old school of knitters

It's a place to talk knitting and lament their children's lack of enthusiasm for the craft.

The modern knitter is out there on the streets and hungry for more of the old tricks.

So we introduced our young trendies to Pam and her gang.

Together they took to the streets of Peterborough, for a blatant show of knitting pride.

It wasn't long before other curious youngsters began to gather round.

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