Picture gallery: Hundreds of fans queue to meet Rolf Harris in Norwich

Hundreds of people queued outside a Norwich art gallery on Saturday to get the chance to meet legendary artist Rolf Harris.

Whether it's for his wobble board playing, his impressive works of art, or his catchy songs such as Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport, Rolf Harris must be one of Australia's most loved personalities.

And at the weekend, hundreds of people in Norwich got the chance to meet the larger-than-life character when he visited the Artique Gallery, in the Royal Arcade.

Dressed in a quirky combination of a suit, colourful tie and Ugg-style boots, Rolf spent Saturday afternoon enthusiastically meeting delighted fans in the gallery.

From evocative images of animals in Africa to bold cityscapes, the whole gallery was filled with Rolf's original oil paintings and signed prints. And, as he stepped into the space for the first time, Rolf enjoyed a quick look around at some of his paintings, passionately pointing out some of his favourites, before turning his attention to the crowds that had gathered to meet him.

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About 700 people had registered for tickets for the event and the lengthy queue stretched back from the Royal Arcade to past the The Mall entrance at the Back of the Inns.

Rolf said that he thought the gallery looked great and that it was amazing to see so many people there.

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Arriving fashionably late, he joked to the crowds: 'Thank goodness you have all arrived; I have been waiting for hours!'

Ellen Futter, from Norwich, was the first person to meet Rolf and he greeted her with a kiss on the hand and sang to her.

Afterwards she said: 'He was very, very nice, an absolutely fantastic man, and very much a gentleman.'

Peter and Erica Woodhouse, 81 and 67, from Old Catton, and who used to live in Kenya, came to meet Rolf after buying one of his oil paintings – Tsavo Orphans After Mud Wallow.

The couple used to live in the Tsavo area with their four boys, and Mrs Woodhouse said they wanted the painting because they had fond memories of their sons riding elephants like those in the painting.

Mrs Woodhouse said: 'It was wonderful to meet Rolf, an absolutely fantastic experience. He was absolutely charming.

'He has been to Tsavo and you can see he has really got the feel for the place in his painting.'

Jayne Eglen, 38, from Dereham, took her daughter, Georgia, aged five, to meet Rolf. 'Rolf serenaded Georgia and asked her if she was a ballerina because of the way she skipped over to him,' she said. 'When I was a child I used see Rolf on TV and watch Rolf's Cartoon Club. It is fantastic to have actually met him.'

Rolf had been due to be at the gallery until 3pm, but actually stayed until past 6pm so that he was able to spend time with everyone who had queued to see him.

Maria Crutchley, gallery manager, said: 'We had an overwhelming response to the event and Rolf was absolutely brilliant. He was just so good with his fans and wanted to spend some time with each of them. He was singing and giving us a little dance. He is just so full of joy. It was a really successful day.'


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