Disney performer returns home from earthquake-hit Japan

A Norfolk performer arrived home from Tokyo yesterday to spend two weeks with her worried family away from the devastation in Japan.

Lara Blake, 21, left Britain at the beginning of the month to dance at the city's Disney Resort for 13 months.

But just a fortnight into her contract, she flew back into Heathrow yesterday after experiencing Japan's biggest-ever earthquake.

Miss Blake, who was a student with Busybodies Stage School in Dereham from the age of four, said she had just finished a meeting when the tremors started.

The building was evacuated and the group spent three hours outside in the rain before moving inside for a further two hours.

Miss Blake, whose family lives near Thetford, said: 'It was my first earthquake since I have been here. I didn't know what to expect and I certainly didn't expect the biggest earthquake in Japan ever.'

It was not until she began an hour-long walk home that she discovered how serious it was. 'There were bricks and mud everywhere. It was horrible to see the beauty of Japan destroyed,' said the performer, a former student at Watton's Wayland Community High School student.

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Although the subsequent tsunami and ongoing nuclear crisis has not affected the Japanese capital as much as elsewhere in the country, Miss Blake said it was still a worry. Fears about radiation are part of the reason Disney has decided to send performers like her home for two weeks.

The 21-year-old, who will return to her mum Teresa and dad Kevin, added: 'The main reason is that a lot of our families are very worried about us. Just to be able to go home so our families know we are safe will be great.'

Miss Blake, who has an 18-year-old sister Amie, said she was looking forward to spending some time in Norfolk where the ground would not be constantly shaking and the toilets would be working.

The Disney Resort had to close following the disaster, with water from the Disney Sea park being taken to the nuclear plant and homes.

The former Norfolk schoolgirl said she would initially be back in Britain for two weeks, but that could increase if the radiation threat got worse.

While here, she is looking forward to heading back to Busybodies today to catch up with the group. She said: 'I've missed them so much already.'