Ipswich youngsters support top boy band

GETTING to see their favourite popstars in concert is in itself a dream come true for many kids but one group of youngsters have been given a once in a lifetime opportunity to perform on the same bill as theirs.

By Jo Macdonald

GETTING to see their favourite popstars in concert is in itself a dream come true for many kids but one group of youngsters have been given a once in a lifetime opportunity to perform on the same bill as theirs.

More than 100 students from Ipswich Theatretrain will take to the stage at Reach Out 2002, at the Norfolk Showground, on September 8 where a line-up of top pop acts has been put together.

Headlining the bill at the star-studded event, which is being held in aid of East Anglia's Children's Hospices, are Britain's biggest boy band Blue.

And band member Antony Costa is likely to be familiar with the national theatre school of which the Suffolk youngsters are part, having once been a member of the Theatretrain school in Barnet.

The chance to perform on stage as the last amateur act before the professional line-up, which also includes chart-toppers Liberty X, 3SL, allSTARS , Rik Waller, Claire Sweeney, Fragama and Aurora, has thrilled everyone at the Ipswich school and their friends at Colchester Theatretrain who will also be taking part.

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Linda Lomas, manager of the two schools, said: "I saw an advert for the event in the Evening Star and emailed for tickets but also asked if there was anything we could do, thinking it would be too late.

"The organiser, Alan Hammond, got back to me saying he was very interested because it is for the hospices and children should be very involved in the show.

"I told him I had about 160 children from the two schools thinking he would only want a few but he wanted them all to take part."

"I couldn't believe it when he said he wanted us all," she continued. "It's fantastic, incredible.

"They really wanted our Theatretrain kids on board because they are children and the event is all about them and getting as much money as we can for others."

Mrs Lomas broke the news to the children at the two Theatretrain schools and said the reaction was amazing.

"They went absolutely mad," she said. "I couldn't do anything with them during their class on Saturday after that.

"It's not until September but it's all they can talk about."

Everyone is thrilled to be involved, not only because they get to appear on the same stage and share the same backstage area as some of their favourite popstars, but also because it is a worthy event.

"The reason we wanted to be involved is because it's a family event," Mrs Lomas explained.

"It's the biggest single fundraising event in East Anglia's history and they're hoping to raise a minimum of £100,000 for the hospices in Ipswich, Cambridge and Quidenham, in Norfolk.

"All the children from the hospices will also be there with their families. They have got their own specially built area from which to watch the show."

While Theatretrain's classes end for the summer in July the children are getting ready to put in lots of extra work, drawing on pieces from previous shows, to ensure they give their best ever performance come September 8.

n Reach Out 2002, in aid of East Anglia's Children's Hospices and featuring Blue, Liberty X, 3SL, allSTARS, Clare Sweeney, Rick Waller and Theatretrain, is being held at Norfolk Showground on September 8.

The entertainment kicks off at 10am and ends with a fireworks display at 9pm.

Tickets are on sale now priced £22 and are available by calling 0871 871 6979.

Weblink: www.reachout2002.co.uk



The Ipswich Children's Hospice is looking for somebody to sponsor them or provide a coach, with wheelchair access, for 50 people to allow the children and their families to travel to the event. If you can help contact Anne Bunyan at Ipswich Hospice on 01473 622860.

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