Brothers support Japan ’quake victims

Two Norfolk brothers with a sister living in Tokyo have harnessed their hobbies to help Japanese earthquake victims.

Saturday saw nearly 40 people 'paddling for Japan' off Cromer beach in an event organised by Adam Frere-Smith, 46, from East Runton, chairman of the North Norfolk Surf Lifesaving Club.

Sponsored participants lay on a body board and paddled their way between two markers set 100m apart while the afternoon saw tug-of-war and other beach games, plus life-saving demonstrations by club members, with donations invited for Oxfam Japan's earthquake and tsunami appeal.

Mr Frere-Smith's sister Louise, who teaches English, has lived in Tokyo for seven years and was there when last month's devastating earthquake struck.

Another brother, Matthew, 49, the chief instructor of Ko Kwan Do in Norwich, is planning to raise money for the cause on Sunday May 1 with Japanese-themed events which will include demonstrations of the mixed martial art and self-defence discipline.

'Initially we were concerned for Louise's safety and welfare but she contacted me quite soon afterwards to say she was OK,' said Matthew, from Norwich.

Ms Frere-Smith's school was closed following the 'quake. She and a friend left the city shortly afterwards to spend a couple of weeks in Hong Kong because of fears about the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant, and because of water, food and power shortages. She is now back at work in Tokyo.

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Among those taking part in the Good Friday paddle was three-year-old Riley Bell, from Ryfield Road, Mulbarton. Riley helped his dad Jermaine paddle a board 600m and the pair have raised at least �300 for the appeal.

* Sunday's Japanese events start at the Hautbois Outdoor Activity Centre, from 11.15am to 4.45pm, with a zip wire, raft building, and archery, and continue from 5.30pm at Lionwood Infant and Nursery School's Space for Sports and the Arts, in Telegraph Lane East, Norwich, with a Taiko drum performance, barbecue, and a 'kimono experience' with the chance for all to try on traditional Japanese dress.

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