Norwich fund raising gig to boost Nicaraguan city

Ralph Gayton with pictures of his last visit to El Viejo

Ralph Gayton with pictures of his last visit to El Viejo - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers

Norwich's links with its sister cities have provided opportunities for education and fundraising for decades.

But one particular partnership, with El Viejo, Nicaragua, is under pressure as Norwich's Friendship Link is struggling to fund its 240 scholarships.

The link is hosting an event to help raise the profile of the charity and continue to financially support El Viejo.

This valuable money helps children from poor families go to school, providing them with school bags, stationery and uniforms and often their only pair of shoes.

But this year, the registered charity has had to cut its scholarships to 200, and has scaled back extra contributions to schools.

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Ralph Gayton, former Lord Mayor of Norwich and secretary of the Friendship Link, has been involved since 1996.

He first became interested in the Latin American city when he visited in 1987 and is championing the fundraising gig, held next month, to try and boost fundraising efforts.

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He said: 'We desperately need funds, and are hoping this fundraiser will help – it will be a major contribution.'

The evening event at the Norwich Arts Centre on February 15 will feature two generations of musicians, from Norwich band the Ouagadougous, Crumbs for Comfort and Halfcut Heroes, as well as other music and entertainment in the bar area.

All proceeds will help the charity continue its work including the latest project to cultivate school gardens – encouraging youngsters to learn about healthy eating. In the last two years it provided each school with a computer and printer.

They employ one member of staff in El Viejo to control the project locally, but otherwise do not have any other administration costs.

Tickets cost £8 in advance and £10 on the night. Visit

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