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Eighties entertainer Richard Digance avoids disqualification due to ‘exceptional hardship’ after speeding on Orwell Bridge

PUBLISHED: 18:06 01 September 2017 | UPDATED: 18:07 01 September 2017

Richard Digance. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Richard Digance. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

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Comedian and folk singer Richard Digance has avoided a driving ban - after speeding on the Orwell Bridge - due to the hardship it could cause a Suffolk singer he is touring with.

Folk singer and comedian Digance, who could have been banned after totting up 12 points, is about to embark on a year-long 50th anniversary tour supported by Suffolk duo The Broadside Boys.

The duo’s Mat Bayfield has an inoperable brain tumour and has raised thousands for the Brain Tumour Charity over the past few years.

Ipswich Magistrates’ Court heard on Friday that Digance was heading home from a charity concert with The Broadside Boys in Leiston when he was caught going 68mph in the 60mph A14 Orwell Bridge zone in December last year.

Digance’s solicitor, Hugh Rowland, handed to the court two letters, one from Digance’s partner Charlotte, who is partially sighted and relies on the singer to care for her, and one from Mr Bayfield.

He told the bench Digance being banned could lead to the tour being cancelled, which would have had a significant impact on Mr Bayfield, who has lived with a tumour for more than four years.

He also explained how Digance, who lives in rural Salisbury, Wiltshire, cares for his partner.

Dignace said: “This is a very bizarre situation. It is not a hardship for me in any way, it is that it has created a hardship for two completely innocent third parties. I am very upset that this has happened to these people as this is my fault.”

Digance was driving a Dacia Duster on the A14 westbound when he was caught by a speed camera.

Mr Rowland said his client had not realised the speed limit had been reduced from 70mph since he last passed over the bridge.

All of Digance’s endorsements on his licence were for speeding offences, with three other three point penalties incurred since July 2014. The last offence before December 2016 was in October 2015.

Mr Rowland said: “He considers himself to be a safe and sensible driver – he does up to 35,000 miles a year.”

Chairman of the magistrates’ bench Jo Cotton ordered Digance to pay £411, adding: “We are going to find exceptional hardship...for the affect on your partner who you care for and on those who are joining you on tour.”

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