Norwich comedian takes over reins of prestigious Grand Order of Water Rats society for showbiz stars

Ian Richards, born Richard Mayhew, who will take over as King Rat of the Order of the Water Rats, an

Ian Richards, born Richard Mayhew, who will take over as King Rat of the Order of the Water Rats, an exclusive fraternity for long-standing members of the entertainment industry. Picture: Submitted - Credit: Archant

It is an exclusive society with a star-studded list of former members that includes the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Peter Sellers.

Comedian Ian Richards (pictured) will join former England rugby international and British Lion Garet

Comedian Ian Richards (pictured) will join former England rugby international and British Lion Gareth Chilcott as a sporting dinner is held in Lowestoft during the Rugby World Cup. Picture: SUPPLIED. - Credit: Archant

But a Norwich comedian has taken over the reins of the London-based Grand Order of Water Rats, a fraternity for showbiz stalwarts - and now holds the prestigious title of King Rat.

Following in the footsteps of fellow Norfolk man and former King Rat Rick Wakeman, after-dinner speaker Mr Richards hopes to promote the group's charity work and recruit new members during his tenure. The 54-year-old, a father-of-two, said: 'I was delighted to be chosen and it is a great honour. I think there comes a lot more responsibility with the role and a lot of representing the order at events.

'Also, we have always been a very charitable organisation but we are often quiet about our giving, and unfortunately to attract big donors to charities you often need to promote it, so that is something I will be doing.'

His appointment completes a trifecta of Norfolk leaders, before musician Mr Wakeman's turn, Wroxham man - and The Bill actor - Graham Cole was in charge.

Ian Richards with Neil Morrissey.

Ian Richards with Neil Morrissey. - Credit: Archant

Mr Richards, who was born in Diss and now lives near the Queen's Hills estate in Costessey, also organises a comedy charity night at the Royal Norwich Golf Club.

His Water Rats membership has also enabled him to support the complex needs Parkside School on College Road, which he described as 'the most inspirational place'.

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'Members also try and do something in our local community as well as in the main fund which our trustees distribute to various charities,' he added.

In the past, the Water Rats' charity has benefited the likes of Macmillan Cancer Fund, the Order of St John, Guy's Hospital and International Spinal Research.

Do you have a story about an unusual group in Norfolk? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk