Norwich drummers raise cash for Japanese disaster appeal

Drums resounded a call for cash in Norwich yesterday as a music group took to the streets to raise money for earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan.

The Norwich Taiko Centre invited people to make a �5 donation and try their hand at playing a traditional Japanese taiko drum at their headquarters in Beckham Place, Norwich.

Meanwhile, experienced musicians took their drums into Anglia Square where they collected cash and entertained shoppers during a sunny Saturday morning.

Collectors saw single donations of �30, whilst one elderly woman brought her grandchildren to the event because they were desperate to give their pocket money to the cause.

Alice Kemp-Welch, of Constitution Hill, near Sprowston, runs the Norwich Taiko Centre where they build the drums and teach people how to play.

She said: 'We need to raise awareness of what is happening in Japan and this provided a chance for local people to talk to someone who is Japanese and engage with what is happening across the world.

'I think there was confusion for some people when the tsunami hit because they saw Japan as a rich country, but these people do need help.'

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All the funds collected by the centre will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross and other charities working directly with people in disaster stricken regions.

Yukiko Taylor, of Drayton, has been working with the Japanese community in Norwich for more than 15 years and helped set up a Japanese playgroup at the University of East Anglia.

She said: 'We were so grateful to see some very high donations because money is exactly what the victims of the tsunami need right now.'

Norwich Taiko Centre began in 2005 as a community carpentry project, which gave school-excluded teenagers and refugees a space to make taiko drums and practise playing.

Elsewhere in the city, the Shiki Japanese restaurant in Tombland is holding a traditional Japanese feast to raise money for the help people affected by the disaster.

The hanami is being organised by head chef Shun Tomii and is usually held to celebrate the flowering of the cherry blossom tree.

The event is taking place outside the Shiki restaurant on Sunday April 3 at midday.

If you want to donate money to the victims in Japan visit http://www.redcross.org.uk and follow the links to the Japan Tsunami Appeal.

Are you raising money to help people in Japan? Contact reporter Ben Woods on 01603 772439 or email ben.woods@archant.co.uk