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Frederick Forsyth backs Norwich city of culture bid

PUBLISHED: 07:59 28 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:51 01 July 2010

Frederick Forsyth

Frederick Forsyth

Peter Walsh

Best-selling author Frederick Forsyth has given Norwich's chances of being named the first ever UK City of Culture in 2013 a boost by wishing the city "all the luck in the world".

Best-selling author Frederick Forsyth has given Norwich's chances of being named the first ever UK City of Culture in 2013 a boost by wishing the city “all the luck in the world”.

Mr Forsyth, who wrote such classics as The Day of the Jackal and The Odessa File, has sold more than 60 million books world-wide throughout a distinguished writing career.

Mr Forsyth, who was born in Kent and became one of the youngest pilots in the Royal Air Force at the age of 19, attributes his writing skill to his days as a cub reporter on Evening News sister paper The EDP in Norwich and King's Lynn.

He was 19, had just qualified as a jet pilot during National Service in the RAF and it was his first job. As previously reported Mr Forsyth said the training he got during three happy years in Norfolk proved “indispensable” to him throughout his working life.

And Mr Forsyth has today told how he hopes Norwich, a city he knows from his time in Norfolk, was successful in landing the title of UK City of Culture.

He said: “I wish it luck. I have fond memories of King's Lynn and Norwich and indeed of Norfolk. I wish Norwich all the luck in the world.”

During his time in Norfolk Mr Forsyth spent a year living on the River Nar in West Norfolk in an old steel lifeboat on which he built a cabin to house a tiny bedsitter and a kitchenette.

It caught fire, was completely burnt out and he moved to a bedsitter above a pet shop where his spare time was spent on shooting, wild fowling in the marshes, beers in country pubs, girls and his open MG sports car.

But Mr Forsyth was nearly killed following a crash in the car. Speaking in 1997 he said: “There weren't the regulations about drinking and driving there are today. “I came round one of those corners in the Fens too fast one night in 1960 and rolled the car over. The car survived but I nearly didn't. I lost most of my front teeth, crushed my left hand and took chunks out of my head.

“I was in that wonderful King's Lynn Hospital for about three weeks.”

In 2000 Mr Forsyth became the first high-profile British writer to agree to publish a book, Quintet, exclusively on the internet.

Mr Forsyth's good luck message for the Norwich comes just days after the city had to submit its final bid alongside other shortlisted cities- Birmingham, Sheffield, and Derry/Londonderry.

Other stars to have so far backed Norwich's bid include Stephen Fry, Delia Smith, Simon Callow, Christopher Biggins, Marco Pierre White, Cathy Dennis, and Arthur Smith.

To find out more about the City of Culture bid, or how to get involved, log onto www.en24.co.uk/culture

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