Theatre Royal 200 for 200 walkers return to Bury St Edmunds
An 87-year-old fund-raiser and Theatre Royal patron raised more than £2,000 by joining the theatre’s 200 for 200 sponsored walk this week.
Gordon Cawthorne, of Bury St Edmunds, walked the final eight-mile leg of the 10-day sponsored challenge, travelling from Ixworth to the Westgate Street theatre and a joyous reception.
The walk, one of a series of events being held to mark the theatre’s 200th anniversary year, saw core fund-raisers Tony Kelly, Dawn Roberts and Margaret Wright walk 232 miles over 10 days.
Starting on April 13, they followed the historic route of the Norwich Company of Comedians, which would once have visited the theatre on its tour.
On Monday, 95 walkers joined together to walk from either Knettishall or Ixworth, returning to the Theatre Royal for a celebratory party.
Gordon described the Theatre Royal as an ‘invaluable local resource' and said 'it must be kept going for all in this lovely old town'.
“For that reason I am happy to do the walk, even at my advanced age,” he said.
As well as celebrity support from Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Derek Jacobi, Sophie Raworth and Griff Rhys-Jones, Theatre Royal pantomime legend Chris Clarkson joined walkers.
Chris, who is better known as Sleeping Beauty's Nanny Fanny, said: "When I first heard about all the events the theatre team was planning for the 200th birthday I jumped at the chance to be involved.
"Honestly, it’s such a wonderful space to play, building to work in, theatre to look at and asset to the community, I’d do anything for it. I’m lucky enough to have appeared on stage there in three pantomimes along with The Love Gala last year and a community project, too, so I feel deeply embedded in its recent history."
The walk has so far raised around £9,000, but it is hoped the final total could exceed £10,000. To donate, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/200-4-200