World’s best pool players set to pair with north Norfolk beginners at Sutton Staithe Hotel

The world's top 16 pool players are heading for rural north Norfolk to pair up for a charity match with an assorted crowd which includes a schoolgirl and a hairdresser.

Current world champion Mick Hill and Gareth Potts, who has won a record three World 8 Ball Pool titles, will be among the sport's stars gathering at the Sutton Staithe Hotel on September 8,9 and 10.

They will be vying against each other for �6,500 worth of prize money in the first-ever Broads Classic tournament which will be held at the hotel, near Stalham.

But the event will start with a charity match in which each champ will take on a double's partner from the local community in a bid to raise at least �10,000 for Against Breast Cancer.

Their would-be partners, many of whom have never played pool before, are busy earning the right to take part by raising a minimum of �500 for the cause, according to hotel owner Damion Millward.

They include 13-year-old Stalham High pupil Sasha Borisova, a chef, hairdresser, taxi business co-owner and an accountant.

'We've got a real diversity of people from very different social circles,' said Mr Millward who is himself a keen pool player and a friend of Mick Hill.

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The charity match was inspired by the inclusion of pool champion Carl Morris among the tournament contestants.

Mr Morris, from Stoke on Trent, who held the world title in 1998, survived meningitis aged three but was left profoundly deaf.

He joined Mr Hill and Mr Potts at a launch night for the event in the hotel on Friday and told those gathered that it was only because of the help his parents had received from charities that they were able to give him the support he needed, and he wanted to give something in return by helping good causes.

He has raised over �160,000 for a number of charities and hopes the Sutton tournament will result in a record sum raised at a single event during his charitable career.

Mr Millward said those listening had been so enthusiastic about supporting the cause that a separate group of 32 people were now planning a fund-raising 24-hour pool marathon to take place during the tournament weekend.

The tournament itself would put Norfolk on the international map for pool, he said. But he was delighted that the charity match was gaining such momentum.

'It has really snowballed which I'm very pleased about,' he said. 'It's slightly bizarre to have 16 top players in the wilderness of north Norfolk, playing with local people some of whom don't know the first thing about pool!'

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