Town's annual Live Aid fundraiser goes out with a bang

Barry Holden, left, and Billy Batchelor performing on stage at the 2022 North Walsham Live Aid. 

Barry Holden, left, and Billy Batchelor performing on stage at the 2022 North Walsham Live Aid. - Credit: John Newstead Photography

The floor shook to the sound of drums and electric guitars rang out with abandon at the final North Walsham Live Aid after 17 annual gigs. 

Scores of people flocked to North Walsham Community Centre on Saturday for the charity concert - the last one to be organised by Barry Holden. 

The gig raised more than £10,000, which will be split between the Teenage Cancer Trust and East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).

The show started with a set of glam rock classics by the duo Glam X, followed by a rock set from the band Headway. After this came Raw Edge, fronted by Billy Batchelor - this band have played at every Live Aid since the event started. 

An auction of rock memorabilia followed, controlled by Charles Horner-Glister. 

Among the top items sold were a 'rock legends' tribute guitar signed by Mike Rutherford, Nick Mason, Roger Taylor and Live Aid patron Steve Hackett, which sold for £720.

A cymbal signed by Nick Mason sold for £400, and the final lot - a piece of Chris Holden's Victoria sponge cake on a plate, signed by Mr Holden, sold for £12.

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Next up taking the stage were the rock and blues masters of the Buster James Band.

Mr Holden said: "What a great set to close the show - brilliant as usual."

A raffle was then drawn before a 'surprise' set by a band including Mr Holden himself on bass, his brother Paul on lead guitar and his son Sean on drums. They were joined by Billy Batchelor, and the group thrilled the crowd with a rendition of the classic Smoke on the Water followed by classic rock numbers. 

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.

Mr Holden said: "Thanks to the community centre staff, Titch Hagon for the sounds and lights, Chris Holden, Julie and Tony in the kitchen, Tim Alexander backstage, Kerry and Tony for the raffle, David and Pam for auction security, Rob Scamell and Michelle for the payment systems. 

"Thank you to 'Shannon Chrome Lazy Eye' for the changeover music which was excellent, plus all the bands performing free of charge, and the support from local shops. 

"Thank you all for coming and supporting these shows over the years - it would not have happened without you. It has been a blast."