Comedy seals civic hospital fundraising drive with a smile

PUBLISHED: 14:20 15 June 2019 | UPDATED: 14:33 15 June 2019

Comedy night stars and organisers. Pictures: Richard Batson

Comedy night stars and organisers. Pictures: Richard Batson


Stand-up comedy provided a fun finale to a year-long appeal helping a north Norfolk hospital support group.

Comedy night success. Hal Cruttenden in full flow. Pictures: Richard BatsonComedy night success. Hal Cruttenden in full flow. Pictures: Richard Batson

Top TV comic Hal Cruttenden headlined an evening of laughter that rounded off a civic fundraising drive in aid of the Friends of North Walsham War Memorial Hospital.

The Stand Up for North Walsham night raised £615 for the Friends, who were outgoing mayor Barry Hester's charity of the year.

The event, watched by a 150-strong audience at the Atrium, brought the total generated by the mayor for the Friends during his year of office to around £4200.

During the year other events ranged from shoe sales and market stalls to a trike and bike show and civic dinner.

Nelson Gombakomba during his comedy spot. Pictures: Richard BatsonNelson Gombakomba during his comedy spot. Pictures: Richard Batson

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Mr Hester said: "The comedy night came just after my year as mayor ended but it was a great way to finish the fundraising - with a new event for the town that people supported and enjoyed."

Friends chairman Keith Jarvis added: "We are really grateful for Barry's support during his year as mayor which has raised funds for, and awareness of, what we do."

The Friends use public fundraising and donations to buy "extras" for the town's popular hospital, ranging from a recent £22,000 day room revamp to Christmas presents for patients.

Headliner Hal, a well-known face on television's Mock the Week and Have I Got News for You, combined his wry look at middle-aged life with topical and political "rants".

He was supported by up-and-coming regional comedians Nelson Gombakomba, Josh Ryan, and Alexander Oliver, who also organised the line-up and compered the evening, plus Ross McGrane, who stepped in at the last moment for Phileo Huff, whose wife went into labour just hours before the event.

The next Friends' fundraiser is a Music for a Summer's Evening concert of popular organ classics played by Jon Payne in the parish church on Saturday, July 20 at 7.30pm. Tickets £8 (£5 concessions) on 07540440122 or

To find out more about the Friends, their work, and how to support or join them, visit

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