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Norwich student calls for election commitment to science

PUBLISHED: 07:20 14 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:41 02 July 2010

Sarah Hall

As political parties use their election war chests in the race for number 10, a student has organised a fundraising event tying in with the general election, but giving a Norwich children's science centre a financial boost.

As political parties use their election war chests in the race for number 10, a student has organised a fundraising event tying in with the general election, but giving a Norwich children's science centre a financial boost.

In a departure from the usual hustings, where politicians try to convince the public why they should vote for them, Andrew Reeve hopes to convince the would-be MPs that science matters.

His Science Needs You event, aimed at the public and local parliamentary candidates, will be a mixture of talk, comedy and music, but will also raise much needed money for Norwich's Inspire Discovery Centre.

Mr Reeve, 32, who is not studying science, but a fine art degree at Norwich University College of the Arts, says the future government must be committed to science and spare research and development from budget cuts.

Last month, the Royal Society published a report warning that Britain's competitive edge in science could be wiped out by inadequate funding.

Mr Reeve said: “The economy is still going through a difficult time and, sadly, many people are still losing jobs. But now is not the time to reduce spending in research and development.

“In 2008, 48pc of manufacturing jobs were dependent on physics as well as employing over a million people. If the budget for this or other valuable areas of scientific research and development are cut, we could see skilled workers and companies departing the UK and taking their business models with them.”

Would be MPs who have already signed up to the Science Needs You event include David Stephen (Liberal Democrat candidate for Norwich North), Chloe Smith (Conservative candidate for Norwich North) and Charles Clarke (Labour candidate for Norwich South), and Mr Reeve wants people to head for the event and demonstrate how important science is.

The event, which runs at Norwich Puppet Theatre in Whitefriars from 6pm until 10.30pm on Sunday, will feature comedians Alex Holland and Louisa Theobold, with music performed by Normal for Norfolk and Dan McKee as compere.

There will also be an art exhibition by students from the Norwich University College of the Arts, with any sales split between the puppet theatre and the Inspire Discovery Centre in Oak Street.

Entry is £3 on the door and all profits will go to Inspire. The Evening News reported in 2008 that the centre was facing a battle for survival. Although the money was found to keep it running, the centre is always looking for more funding.

Mr Reeve said: “We need to look forward and put our money into new technology, new research, and new ideas. Children are the future of this country and science centres, such as Inspire, are often the first contact many children have with the world of science and we need to maintain that connection.”

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