Beccles entertainment couple still going strong with decade-spanning career

Russell and Sylvia Clarke entertain children in Lowestoft's Sparrow's Nest. Picture: David Hannant

Russell and Sylvia Clarke entertain children in Lowestoft's Sparrow's Nest. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant

A married couple who have entertained generations for four decades are still going strong, despite both being in their 70s.

Russell and Sylvia Clarke entertain children in Lowestoft's Sparrow's Nest. Picture: David Hannant

Russell and Sylvia Clarke entertain children in Lowestoft's Sparrow's Nest. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant

Deejay Russell Clarke, 73, and his dance teacher wife Sylvia, 72, have spent the last 44 years putting on discos, classes and events for people of all ages.

Russell and Sylvia Clarke entertain children in Lowestoft's Sparrow's Nest. Picture: David Hannant

Russell and Sylvia Clarke entertain children in Lowestoft's Sparrow's Nest. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant

In particular, for the past 21 years, their free summer holiday events for children held at Lowestoft's Sparrow's Nest have proved increasingly popular.

Russell and Sylvia Clarke entertain children in Lowestoft's Sparrow's Nest. Picture: David Hannant

Russell and Sylvia Clarke entertain children in Lowestoft's Sparrow's Nest. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant

Each Thursday in the school summer break, the Beccles pair host fancy dress discos for youngsters to enjoy, complete with music, party games and more, attracting children and parents alike.

Russell and Sylvia Clarke entertain children in Lowestoft's Sparrow's Nest. Picture: David Hannant

Russell and Sylvia Clarke entertain children in Lowestoft's Sparrow's Nest. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant

They are now finding people who attended their original events, coming back a whole generation later, bringing children of their own along.

Russell and Sylvia Clarke entertain children in Lowestoft's Sparrow's Nest. Picture: David Hannant

Russell and Sylvia Clarke entertain children in Lowestoft's Sparrow's Nest. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant


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Mrs Clarke said: 'The children that come along really do seem to enjoy themselves and the parents put so much effort into getting them dressed up too - it's lovely.

Russell and Sylvia Clarke entertain children in Lowestoft's Sparrow's Nest. Picture: David Hannant

Russell and Sylvia Clarke entertain children in Lowestoft's Sparrow's Nest. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant

'Neither of us are the best deejays in the world, but the children love us. So do the parents, the mums leave such lovely comments for us on social media.'

Russell and Sylvia Clarke entertain children in Lowestoft's Sparrow's Nest. Picture: David Hannant

Russell and Sylvia Clarke entertain children in Lowestoft's Sparrow's Nest. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant

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Throughout their careers, the pair have never believed in advertising, so their success is entirely down to word of mouth, with Mrs Clarke saying they have never left an event without securing a booking for the next one.

Russell and Sylvia Clarke entertain children in Lowestoft's Sparrow's Nest. Picture: David Hannant

Russell and Sylvia Clarke entertain children in Lowestoft's Sparrow's Nest. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant

Mr Clarke added: 'We are fit and well enough to keep doing it and we particularly love the children's events. 'The biggest satisfaction for us is seeing how much the children are enjoying themselves and watching them play, rather than being glued to televisions and phones.'

Russell and Sylvia Clarke entertain children in Lowestoft's Sparrow's Nest. Picture: David Hannant

Russell and Sylvia Clarke entertain children in Lowestoft's Sparrow's Nest. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant

Valerie Franklin, 61 of Pakefield, takes her grandchildren Ethan, eight, and Florence, six, to the events every week, having previously taken her sons - now in their thirties - years ago.

She also hired Mr Clarke to deejay at her wedding.

She said: 'The events are fabulous, and the best part is they are completely free. The children go every week and absolutely love it.

'Russell and Sylvia do such a good job and it is really nice for the parents too, as it gives them a chance to have a relax and catch-up while their children enjoy themselves.'

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