Picture galleries: Gas Hill Gasp marks start of Norwich’s Lord Mayor’s Celebrations

The weekend of the Lord Mayor's Celebrations has tonight started in style, with gasping cyclists, a colourful carnival, the Bare Necessities and a spot of Shakespeare.

Anyone still labouring under the misapprehension that Norfolk is flat, should have seen the sheer effort etched on the faces of cyclists taking part in the Gas Hill Gasp.

The revived trial, which has been around since the 1940s but has hardly been organised since the turn of the millennium, helped kick off the weekend of events.

It saw brave cyclists take on Gas Hill, the steepest hill in Norwich, in a real uphill battle.

It might not be very long, but as was clear to the crowds which lined the street and yelled encouragement at the racers, it's an exhausting hill to cycle up.


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And for the most successful riders, it was a real stamina-sapping endurance feat, as they had to climb the hill several times to make it through the heats to reach the final.

Riders came from around the region, an area not renowned for hill climbs, to take part in last night's British Cycling officiated event.

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The contest was divided up into 'hopefuls' and 'stars', drawn from places such as Norwich, North Walsham, Taverham, Reepham, Thorpe St Andrew and further afield such as Ipswich, Cambridge, Stowmarket, Colchester and Welwyn Garden City.

Ken Jolliffe, who organised the event, said: 'It's been good. People seemed to be enjoying themselves and we got a good crowd.

'There were 64 entrants. It was a mix of club riders, average riders and people that just fancied having a go.'

One of the competitors was Ryan Newell, from Norwich. From the finish line close to St Leonard's Road, he said: 'I'm just a beginner and it was really tough, especially the second time I went up.'

Cash prizes were presented by Lord Mayor Jenny Lay, with �100 up for grabs for the winner of the 'stars' section and �40 for the top hopeful.

Rather more sedate than the adrenaline pumping peddle, was a spot of Shakespeare in the shadow of Norwich Castle.

Paston College's Far East Theatre company presented a 1980s style performance of the Bard's tale of starcrossed lovers - A Midsummer Night's Dream.

People who fancied some entertainment with a bit less verse and a few more songs headed to the big screen outside the Chapelfield Shopping Centre.

There they enjoyed the adventures of Mowgli, Bagheera and Baloo in the Disney version of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book and sang along to soundtrack favourites such as The Bare Necessities and I Wanna Be Like You.

The animated classion was chosen by the people of Norwich as the film they wanted to see with an overwhelming 52.9pc of the votes in a Norwich City Council poll earlier this year.

It held off competition from war-time musical The Sound of Music (30.2pc) and Shrek (16.9pc).

The city also got into the carnival spirit when more than 150 young people took inspiration from island cultures from around the world.

The children's 'Carniv-Isle' saw youngsters process through the pedestrianised city centre streets from Tombland to The Forum.

Organised by Spirit of Carnival – the group who put on last year's successful Fridi Gras parade – the Carniv-Isle took inspiration from different island cultures around the world, such as Jamaica, Japan, Trinidad, Hawaii and New Zealand.

A range of children's and young people's groups and performers put on a showcase when they got to The Forum and members of the public joined in with the Conga.

Funded through the BBC's Children In Need, it featured groups from around Norwich, including Mile Cross Primary School, Future Youth Projects, Thorpe Hamlet Sure Start, Colman Junior School and YMCA Norwich.

Spirit of Carnival organiser Linda Blakeway said: 'It went very well and the children had a whale of a time.

'The ages ranged from just over a year old up to people getting towards their twenties and it was really good fun.'

Keep visiting the website over the weekend for more photographs and coverage of the Lord Mayor's Celebrations.

You can also send us your pictures and thoughts on the events by emailing newsdesk@archant.co.uk or by adding them in the comments section below.

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