Stephen Fry supports Norwich charity

Sheriff of Norwich Derek James reports on Stephen Fry's visit to this year's civic charity - Rotary House for the Deaf.

National treasure Stephen Fry is supporting our civic charity Rotary House for the Deaf in Norwich which needs to expand to meet demand... and has described it as a magical place.

Rotary House is the only home of its kind in the land and since being chosen by Lord Mayor Tom Dylan and I as the civic charity its profile has been sky-high.

It received nationwide coverage when the BBC spent a day filming at the King Street complex for a feature on the See Hear show.

And you, the people of Norwich, have also taken the appeal to your hearts by raising thousands of pounds for this unique supported housing development which offers deaf people the best of both worlds.

Stephen, one of our most popular celebrities with Norwich and Norfolk stamped across his heart, took time from his busy life to visit Rotary House to discover what the place is all about, and feature in a DVD campaign.

He spent some time at the home, which nestles in the shadow of one of his most favourite parts of the world, Carrow Road.

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He then starred in the film which will be sent to Rotary Clubs nationwide in a bid to get them all aboard to help pay for the expansion programme.

And with Stephen's backing, Norwich Rotary Club hopes the DVD will capture the imagination of members all over the country.

'The people here are very happy... and it's getting the balance completely right,' said Stephen.

'On the one hand there is the community and the connection – on the other hand they are completely independent.

'It's not like a home where they are being scolded by some matron or Nurse Ratchet figure,' he added. 'That to me is the ideal solution – they are very close to the city centre, there's lots they can do and they're in a very beautiful part of a very beautiful city, so it's a magical thing that's being made here and I really hope they get behind it.'

Norwich Rotary Club is sending the video appeal to the 1,850 clubs across the UK in the hope of encouraging them all to make a donation to this unique project for the deaf.

Stephen described the fund raising plans as wonderful and urged all Rotarians to support the Norwich project which could become a role model for others.

Chairman Richard Hey said: 'We do a lot of work locally and internationally to help people and I think self help in the deaf community is something we can be very proud of and it's something we can encourage our fellow Rotarians to help us with.'