Award-winning screenwriter opens fair

FILM director and screenwriter Richard Curtis provided a star turn at a medieval fair at Southwold at the weekend.The award-winning comedy writer, who has a home in nearby Walberswick, was the guest of honour at St Bartholomew's Fair on Saturday.

By David Lennard

FILM director and screenwriter Richard Curtis provided a star turn at a medieval fair at Southwold at the weekend.

The award-winning comedy writer, who has a home in nearby Walberswick, was the guest of honour at St Bartholomew's Fair on Saturday.

Mr Curtis was welcomed on to the stage to open proceedings by the theme tune to hit BBC television comedy Blackadder, which he co-wrote with Ben Elton, and took the opportunity to reminisce about the early days of the show.

"I remember when the first series went out it was not very well received. I used to wander around the streets peering into people's homes to see if they were watching the programme but, sadly, most of them were not," he said.

He told visitors to the fair, on Bartholomew Green next to the parish church, that he knew more about being middle-aged than the Middle Ages, but compared the ups and downs of living in medieval times to the present day.

Most Read

"We do not have the Black Death," said Mr Curtis. "But they never had Big Brother."

Mr Curtis and his family joined hundreds of other visitors at the fair, which enjoyed fine weather and a variety of attractions.

Organised by members of St Edmund's Church, the fair was held to help raise funds in aid of the Niger Famine Relief.

There were also stalls collecting on behalf of a range of local charities, including hospitals and other good causes.

John Bennett, one of the organisers, who like many of the stallholders was dressed in medieval costume, said: "There used to be a fair held annually on the green here at Southwold until 1815 when it suddenly stopped.

"But in recent years we have revived the fair and supported a number of charities both here and abroad."

Mr Curtis was not the only well-known face to attend the fair as actor Donald Gee, better known as the shopkeeper in the BBC drama series Born and Bred, gave a performance from Shakespeare's Henry V.

"It is great to have the support of such talented people and we hope everyone has an enjoyable day and that all the charities do extremely well," said Mr Bennett.

Last year, apart from the monies raised by the charity stalls, the event raised £1,421.21 that was sent to the Sudan Appeal, and organisers are hoping for similar success in 2005.

It was an eventful day for Mr Curtis and his family, who were also supporting the annual village fete across the River Blyth in Walberswick.

The fete is held on the village green to raise funds for the church and village hall.

It attracted a large crowd and was opened by Royal Academy artist William Bowyer, who first began painting in the Suffolk village 50 years ago.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter