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Norwich Chilean families back quake appeal

PUBLISHED: 07:01 31 March 2010 | UPDATED: 09:16 02 July 2010

Musicians from Norwich's thriving Spanish-speaking community are coming together to raise money for victims of the Chilean earthquake, which touched many families now living in the city.

Musicians from Norwich's thriving Spanish-speaking community are coming together to raise money for victims of the Chilean earthquake, which touched many families now living in the city.

Norwich dentist Mario Gomez moved to Norwich with his wife and two children seven years ago and will play a range of traditional Chilean songs at a musical event tomorrow.

Mr Gomez, whose practice is in Recreation Road, said: “I have family still out in Chile, and one of my uncles is in desperate need of help. His house was demolished.

“These people need our help.”

Mr Gomez is one of many people backing the bid for Norwich to become City of Culture.

“Norwich has everything. There is a great diversity of cultures from all over. Norwich is very multicultural,” he said. “It's a very dynamic city with lots of cultural events.”

Andy Palmer, 31, of Sprowston, will be adding some local flavour to the event with his comedy musical act Normal for Norfolk.

He said: “I don't normally do charity events but I think this is a really worthy cause.

“Until I was approached to take part in this I wasn't aware there was such a community of Chilean people in the area.”

A strong Chilean community has been present in Norwich since the 1970s after many families fled General Augusto Pinochet's regime, under which more than 30,000 people died. Several families relocated to the city to raise their children, and many felt so at home that they never left.

The earthquake, which hit on Saturday 27 February this year, was one of the strongest ever recorded, measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale. The appeal aims to raise funds to help rebuild accommodation after millions of people were left homeless.

The event at Keir Hardie Hall, Norwich Working Men's Club - featuring traditional Chilean music as well as Afro-Cuban salsa music from Norwich-based band Guateque - will take place at 7.30pm this Thursday to raise funds for the Red Cross.

Chilean cuisine will be served at Thursday's event along with a raffle and games including 'pin the Chilean town on the map'.

Entry is £6, or you can buy a raffle ticket at the Bicycle Shop bar, St Benedict Street, to be in with a chance of winning a spa day for two at Dunston Hall.

For more information contact Johanna Labbé on 07954407259.

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