North Walsham 'Live Aid' legend calls it a day after 17 years

North Walsham Live Aid organiser Barry Holden (left) with Queen member Roger Taylor.

North Walsham Live Aid organiser Barry Holden (left) with Queen member Roger Taylor in 2011. - Credit: Archant

After organising 17 concerts and raising more than £100,000 for local charities, the man behind an annual North Walsham benefit event has decided to 'call it a day'.

Barry Holden has been running North Walsham Live Aid since its first show back in 1985.

The festival, initially supposed to be a one-off, was later revived after the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami and then took place every year until the pandemic hit in 2020.

North Walsham Live Aid: Pictures: John Newstead

North Walsham Live Aid in 2017. Pictures: John Newstead - Credit: John Newstead

Mr Holden, who is now 77-years-old, said: "I kept saying I was going to retire when I'm 70, then that passed, and then I was going to retire after we'd raised £100,000."

So far the event has raised more than that target.

"It's time to call it a day," Mr Holden said. "If I was a bit younger I would probably keep it going. It's a lot of work for one person to take on.

"I'm a bit sad in one way because it's been great.

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"But I thought we'll bring it back for one more go."

The final concert takes place on Saturday, May 28, at North Walsham Community Centre.

Local bands including Glam X, Headway, Raw Edge and the Buster James Band will entertain concertgoers.

Another highlight will be the rock memorabilia auction including a guitar signed by legends Steve Hackett, Mick Rutherford, Roger Taylor and Nick Mason.

North Walsham Live Aid: Pictures: John Newstead

North Walsham Live Aid in 2017. Pictures: John Newstead - Credit: John Newstead

Proceeds will be split between Addenbrooke's Teenagers Cancer Trust and East Anglia Children's Hospice (EACH).

"It promises to be a hell of a night," Mr Holden said.

The first event was in 1985 after Mr Holden was impressed by the spectacle of Live Aid at Wembley and he thought something similar could be organised in North Walsham.

A letter from Sir Bob Geldof to Barry Holden, from North Walsham.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

A letter from Sir Bob Geldof to Barry Holden, from North Walsham.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

That concert raised enough money to send two trucks of supplies and essentials sent to famine-hit Eritrea.

Twenty years later in the wake of the Boxing Day Tsunami Mr Holden reformed North Walsham Live Aid.

Organising the annual event has given Mr Holden the chance to meet rock legends including Bill Wyman and Eric Clapton.

In 2013 he appeared on 'Surprise, Surprise' where he met one of his heroes, Rod Stewart.

Mr Holden said: "I've had a great time. I've met some fantastic people. It's been an interesting ride."

For more information visit www.northwalshamliveaid.co.uk