Shoreline serende for Cliff Aid

RICHARD BATSON A showbiz family is singing for its shoreline - in a bid to save an historic village from crumbling into the sea.Overstrand, near Cromer, is festooned with fine buildings from its former era as a fashionable retreat for the well-heeled.

RICHARD BATSON

A showbiz family is singing for its shoreline - in a bid to save an historic village from crumbling into the sea.

Overstrand, near Cromer, is festooned with fine buildings from its former era as a fashionable retreat for the well-heeled.

It is also a popular modern day magnet for locals and trippers enjoying its cliffs, sands, cafes and caravan parks.

But villagers are battling to fend off a threat from an emerging new shoreline management plan (SMP) which earmarks

the area for “managed retreat”.

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It means its sea defences, built in its Victorian heyday, would be left to rot, leaving the soft cliffs, plus the homes and businesses at the top of them, at the mercy of the waves.

A fighting fund to enable campaigners to highlight the issue, attend important coastal defence conferences and lobby politicians is seeking more money.

And one local family, which runs a holiday park near the clifftops, has rallied to the call by using its entertainment talents to stage a Cliff Aid outdoor event later this month.

Will Reynolds dusts off his keyboards to make a comeback as Velvet Will, his stage name as a semi-professional pub and club singer.

His daughter Claire, a former professional cabaret and musical theatre singer who has toured Europe, and has also starred as the leading lady in many an am-dram show at Cromer Pier, also returns to action after a two-year break, to perform a mix of show and modern songs.

They are joined by young holiday site warden Danny Lee, with his indie pop rock band the Rapid Dakotas, and top local covers band the Hucklebucks, featuring local man Micky Starling who used to own a van on the site and still maintains its airstrip.

All the acts will share an outdoor stage at the family's Ivy Farm Holiday Park on Sunday, August 19.

Mr Reynolds said 20 to 30 yards of cliffs had disappeared opposite the park since his grandfather started the business in the 1930s.

They family were keen to stop Overstrand, which was a major benefit to the local economy and employment scene, being lost to erosion.

Mr Reynolds, a keen microlight pilot, is also offering to give people flights over the scenic north Norfolk countryside in return for a donation to the fighting fund.

Simon Davies, chairman of the Overstrand shoreline management committee, said they were very grateful for the extra cash being raised by the Save Overstrand's Shoreline appeal run by the residents' association.

“We get £1,000 a year from the parish council, but we need more if we want to attend major coastal conferences, from Cardiff to the Hague, put questions to engineers in London and do a publicity newsletter for holidaymakers and residents.

“This is the first big event in the village, and we hope other people will follow the Reynoldses' lead and do more. It also helps bring the community together.”

Mr Davies said they were trying to lobby politicians to drop the SMP's plans for long-standing holiday villages.

“We don't expect them to defend the whole of the coastline, but they cannot abandon established defences and communities.”

The show runs from 6pm to 10.30pm on August 19.

People can bring picnics and chairs but there will be refreshments available, along with a raffle supported by local businesses. Tickets are £6 for adults, £3 children, from the hotline on 01263 579239 or by dropping into Ivy Farm's reception.

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