Eric Clapton pops up in N. Walsham pub

YOU are standing at a bar in your home town of North Walsham when in walk three of the greatest living rock legends: guitarist Eric Clapton, Genesis' Mike Rutherford, and Procul Harum's Gary Brooker - the voice on rock classic A Whiter Shade of Pale.

YOU are standing at a bar in your home town of North Walsham when in walk three of the greatest living rock legends: guitarist Eric Clapton, Genesis' Mike Rutherford, and Procul Harum's Gary Brooker - the voice on rock classic A Whiter Shade of Pale.

That was the dream-come-true moment for lifelong rock-music fan Barry Holden, who has the stars' signatures to prove it.

The celebrity trio were staying at the town's Beechwood Hotel where Barry met them and asked them to sign a wealth of memorabilia which will be up for auction at Barry's charity gig in North Walsham next week.

That night to remember followed an earlier encounter at the Beechwood when Barry also met and gained signatures from Roger Taylor, drummer with Queen, and Top Gear star Jeremy Clarkson.


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All the men were in town to take part in private social and sporting events nearby and Barry was tipped off about their presence by a friend and supporter of his past four Live Aid gigs which have raised about �15,000 to help children.

The centrepiece of this year's auction, which takes place during the gig at North Walsham Community Centre on Saturday March 28, will be a black and white Fender Stratocaster-style guitar donated by Jonnie Starling of White Star guitars. It is similar to Clapton's own famous 'Blackie' and has been signed by Clapton, Rutherford and Brooker.

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Barry, who runs Zelley Jewellery in North Walsham, has been a major player on the Norfolk rock scene for decades, as both a musician and event organiser.

He said: 'These people are my heroes. Eric Clapton is the most famous living rock guitarist in the world.

'After I got the call telling me he would be at the Beechwood I nearly dropped the phone and fainted!'

Local bands Beyond Duplication, Raw Edge, Circus, Ultra Ego and Pinto are giving their services for free to perform at the gig, which starts at 8pm.

Tickets cost �8 and are available from Zelley, in the St Nicholas Court precinct, 01692 402123, or via 01692 403883 and 07903 902731. Proceeds from the evening will go to Children with Leukaemia.

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