Ex-England batsman Mark Butcher heading to Blakeney to play music

Former England cricketer Mark Butcher is heading to Norfolk to play - but with a guitar rather than a bat in his hand.

The Surrey man's sporting career highlights include an unbeaten 173 as England beat Australia in a test at Headingley in 2001 before a knee injury forced his retirement two years ago.

But it has seen a revival of his passion in playing music which stem back to his student days.

Butcher, 38, picked up a guitar as a child, when music and taking part in school productions was part of his life - and became a big rhythm and blues fan after discovering Eric Clapton's Blues Breakers album.

When cricket took, over after his first class debut in 1992 music, took a back seat through Mark took his guitar on tour to entertain himself between matches.

In 2002 he penned a song which he sang at the funeral of England team mate Ben Hollioake who died in a car crash, then recorded it for a hospice charity.

Butcher was encouraged to record an album, Songs From The Sun House, and is doing occasional gigs with his band, including Blakeney Harbour Rooms on Friday April 15.

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It will be a mix of covers of songs from artists such as Robert Cray, Freddie King and Little Feet, alongside Butcher's own.

Butcher said he had neither played cricket nor music in Norfolk before and was looking forward to the gig.

Asked if audiences came to see him as a musician or a well-known former sportsman he said: 'I hope people come for the music. The cricket is in the past, but if people come along out of curiosity that's fine.'

There were similarities between cricket and music touring 'with a lot of travelling and waiting around' but he added 'you are encouraged to stay up a bit later at night with the music.'

Tickets for the 8.30pm concert on Friday April 15 are �10.

Other acts coming soon at the Harbour rooms are the Danny Bryant Redeye Band, supported by Bo-Nidle, on April 22 (�10), a free entry folk night on Sunday April 24 at 8pm, and the Clare Free Band on Friday April 29, with Tony Edwards as support, (�10).

More details on 01263 741666 or at www.blakeneyharbourroom.co.uk

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