Seven-year-old travels hundreds of miles to visit City College Norwich

Seven-year-old Charlie Austin from Aylesford in Kent, who has had a passion for lighting since he wa

Seven-year-old Charlie Austin from Aylesford in Kent, who has had a passion for lighting since he was a toddler, had a day to remember when he got his hands on some of City College Norwichs industry-standard equipment and a one-to-one lesson with professional lighting designer Graham Grum Leesmith. - Credit: Archant

A seven-year-old boy travelled hundreds of miles to get his hands on City College Norwich's lighting equipment.

Charlie Austin, from Aylesford, in Kent, has a passion for lighting.

In a bid to enable the youngster to learn more, his mother, Heather Worall, asked people on social media for tips and advice. She was inundated with offers of lighting, lessons and demonstrations.

Ms Worrall said: 'I've been humbled by the amount of support and love for this little chap and what he wants to do. Charlie has been interested in lighting since he was three, he was more into the lights aisle at B&Q than all of the toys in Toys'R'Us. He just loves lighting - even his rug in his bedroom lights up.'

One offer she could not resist came from Graham Leesmith, a lighting designer from Norwich, and Rich Hill, a production arts course leader at City College Norwich - 135 miles from the family's home.

The pair promised to give Charlie a one-to-one lesson and to let him experience all of the professional-standard lighting equipment available at the college on Ipswich Road.

So the family embarked on the 270-mile round trip.

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A spokesperson from City College Norwich said: 'Some 10 years earlier than most production arts typically get their hands on professional lighting equipment, Charlie spent several hours getting to grips with the sorts of lights and controls that are used in live music venues and theatres.'

Charlie rigged some of the lights in the college's specialist training room, made sure they were compatible with control equipment and raised and lowered bars.

He then operated the controls for moving lights.

Charlie said: 'It was amazing and awesome. Learning with Grum was epic - I liked programming the washes and spotlights the best.'

Heather Worrall added: 'It is hard to find something to challenge him and I was thrilled when they kindly offered to train him up. You could see Charlie just soaking it all up.'

Graham Leesmith said: 'It was great to finally meet Charlie and I was amazed by how quickly Charlie picked up the basics of programming and have no doubt that in a few years he'll be competing with me for jobs.'

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