Film star gives North Norfolk youngster his support

A talented young performer who has the backing of film star John Hurt is set to take part in a sponsored charity walk in a bid to make her dreams of stardom come true.

Kirsty Clarke, 14, from East Runton has been chosen to attend the National Youth Theatre Acting course in London, which has nurtured some of the country's brightest stars including Dame Helen Mirren and Sir Derek Jacobi. More than 4,400 young people from across the country auditioned and Kirsty, a member of Sheringham Little Theatre's drama group, was one of only 500 to be selected.

Now Kirsty is busy trying to raise the �995 needed to fund the course, which will be held at the Laban Theatre, Greenwich this August, and pay for accommodation. She has already made a start by selling some of her unwanted items at car boot sales and this Saturday she will be joining with five of her friends for a 20 mile sponsored walk from Mundesley to Holt.

She has a special supporter in the form of actor and film star John Hurt who has agreed to be a sponsor for the walk.

Mr Hurt, who starred in the first Alien film and featured in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and the Harry Potter film series, said: 'My congratulations to Kirsty for achieving something that should not be underestimated. For a relative handful of students, of whom she is one, to be chosen from several thousand is a very considerable achievement and I am delighted to be able to help her on her way. I very much hope that others will join me.'

And she is even including the stage and theatre in the walk. The teenager, who attends Cromer High School and has appeared in many of the schools shows, said: 'I decided that if I did a sponsored walk it should have some link with the theatre, so the route I have chosen starts at the Coronation Hall, home of the Mundesley Festival, goes via two of the best known theatres in North Norfolk, Cromer Pier Pavilion Theatre and Sheringham Little Theatre, and finishes at the Auden Theatre in Holt.'

A National Youth Theatre spokesman said: 'The competition has been extremely tough this year, as we have had the highest number of applicants on record, so to have gained a place on one of our courses is an excellent achievement.'