A magic show which saves young lives

Derek James meets entertainer Olly Day who has clocked up a remarkable 800 performances of his Road Safety Magic Show in Norfolk schools.

Behind the laughs and cheers, children in schools across Norwich and all over Norfolk are loving every minute of this fun show – one which is helping to save lives.

And the figures speak for themselves.

Back in 1999, the government set a number of challenging casualty reduction targets, one of which was to reduce the number of child casualties by 40pc by the end of 2010.

During this period, Norfolk County Council agreed even more challenging targets to reduce the number of children killed or injured on our roads – and this is a campaign which really has been a big success.

Norfolk's excellent record of reducing death and injury is down to a lot of hard work by a lot of people.

And at the forefront of the campaign is the Norwich-born entertainer Olly Day, with his unique and much-loved Road Safety Magic Show.

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'Of all the different things I do in the entertainment world, this show is the thing I am most proud of,' said the father-of-two who lives at Thorpe St Andrew.

'After visiting 800 Norfolk schools and making lots of friends over the 18 years it has been running, it still thrills me to see a hall full of children laughing and enjoying the show,' said Olly.

'It really is a great way of getting a serious message across to young people,' he added.

'I was at a school near Dereham the other week and one of the teachers came up to me and said: 'I remember you visiting my school when I was a girl.' Children are like a sponge, they soak up all the road safety information and are full of enthusiasm after the show,' said Olly.

His warm and entertaining style has been seen in hundreds of primary, junior and middle schools throughout Norfolk by more than 120,000 children. The shows are on the road across the county between January and Easter and he tries to visit each school every five years, which means most children in Norfolk have seen the shows over the years.

Earlier this year Olly took his show, full of tricks and characters such as Freddie the Ferret, to Larkman Primary School in Norwich and afterwards, head Alison Clarke said: 'The children loved every minute of the show. I just think it is a great way of doing road safety rather than having a dry lesson.'

Ian Temperton, Norfolk County Council's Team Manager for Casualty Reduction, said: 'We are immensely proud of our achievements over the past ten years, but we are also aware that every casualty on the road is a tragedy that can be avoided.

'We will continue to deliver the most effective road safety education that we can, working with local volunteers we are expecting to deliver 5,000 cyclist training and 7,000 pedestrian training sessions this year,' he added.

'Hopefully we will also be able to utilise the talents of Olly Day to continue with the Road Safety Magic Show. We know it works. We know it has helped to keep thousands of Norfolk children safe over the years,' said Mr Temperton.