Soap star voices support for fund

LORNA MARSH Coronation Street star Richard Fleeshman as well as his actor parents are all dropping their busy schedules to come to the county - all in the name of one Norfolk mother.

LORNA MARSH

He is the man of the moment - the favourite to win the latest celebrity talent show and a household name with a glittering soap career ahead of him.

Yet Coronation Street star Richard Fleeshman as well as his actor parents are all dropping their busy schedules to come to the county - all in the name of one Norfolk mother.

Mr Fleeshman, who plays Craig Nelson in the Street, has offered to sing at a summer ball at the Norfolk Showground, near Norwich, to raise thousands for the Louise Willgrass Tsunami Fund.

Mrs Willgrass, 43, died in the tidal wave disaster on Boxing Day 2004 leaving her husband Nigel and their four children devastated.

Since then Mr Willgrass of Colney near Norwich has been raising money to build a school in his wife's name for the village that harboured his family in the bleak days following the tragedy.

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His painful story and his wife's legacy have already moved countless stars to get involved in the campaign.

Architect Lord Foster has agreed to design the school building and a fundraising event last year at the exclusive Brisingamen's Nightclub in Cheshire was organised by, and starred, Premiership footballers and their wives, pop singers and a host of Coronation Street actors.

And Mr Fleeshman performed at a fundraising 'night of the stars' at the Palace Theatre in Manchester last year, helping to bring the total raised by the fund to more than £½m.

It was this event that led to him offering to sing at the charity ball due to take place on July 1 in the wake of his popular performances on TV talent show Soapstar Superstar.

His parents, former Brookside favourite Sue Jenkins and fellow actor David Fleeshman, will also be making appearances.

Organiser Keith Watts said: "It is incredible really, he's fantastic and we really get on well with him. Nigel and the children are over the moon.

"They've met him and have photos of themselves with him and are now all really looking forward to it.

"I think it will be a huge draw for people especially as he is so popular right now."

The fund is to build an orphanage combining a medical centre and school near Phuket, near where the mother of four was killed, for children who lost their parents in the disaster.

To donate visit the website at www.louisewillgrass.co.uk

Tickets for the summer ball, which will be black tie with Thai-themed food, cost £50 each. For information and to book places with a £5 per head deposit call Keith Watts on 07803 173911.

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