Stephen Fry thrilled by Evening News cartoon
They have appeared in the Evening News since 1968 and were even made into a book, but Vic Long's cartoons have now received another accolade – getting hung on the wall in Stephen Fry's home.
After sending the television presenter, author and Norwich City director a recent strip in which he made an appearance, Mr Long got a reply saying it would be framed and put in pride of place.
Lifelong Norwich City fan Mr Long draws the weekly Norfolk Dumplings cartoon, which chronicle the ups and downs of the Canaries.
Mr Fry appeared following his appointment as a director, the day after a goalless draw with Queens Park Rangers.
In it, one of the dumplings says to the other: 'No question about it – it wus even Stephen 'n' that jus' proves we're no small Fry!'
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Prompted by a friend who had seen it in the paper, Mr Long sent the original drawing with a short note to Mr Fry, care of Carrow Road.
To his surprise he got a quick reply from Mr Fry's sister and personal assistant, Jo Crocker.
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'Stephen Fry has asked me to thank you for your kind letter with his profuse apologies that filming on location prevents him from writing personally,' she said. 'He is thrilled with the cartoon and has despatched me to the picture-framers forthwith.'
Mr Fry is currently filming for a sequel to Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes film, in which the 53-year-old will play Sherlock's brother.
Mr Long, 64, was delighted with the letter and said: 'Stephen Fry is one personality I admire; he's brilliant.
'He's so knowledgable, I can't speak too highly of him. It's lovely to think that someone you're so impressed with is so pleased with it.
'It's nice to think that he wanted the thing framed.'
Mr Long, from Hellesdon, has drawn almost 2,000 cartoons for the Evening News and Pink'Un, including 700 Norfolk Dumplings strips, since their first appearance in 1995.
He worked as a salesman for most of his life with the Prudential and Crown Confectionery, but in 1990 he joined Eastern Counties Newspapers in the composing room, which he described as 'the best job I ever had', and where he remained for 16 years.
Now retired, he said that he looks forward to drawing his weekly cartoon.
'It's always him and his missus (in the cartoon),' he said: 'Sometimes she'll have a go and say something back.
'You've got to have two people in a cartoon really to play off each other.'
He added: 'I've never been in trouble. After all these years I've never offended anybody, but I've never given up trying.'
He has been a Norwich City fan all his life, often getting in trouble with masters at Avenue Road School for playing truant to watch games or hear them on the radio.
In 1958, he even got the chance to play in a training match between the first team and the reserves, although sadly he was never asked to make a return appearance.
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To see Vic's latest cartoon, turn to page 61.