Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Uplifting Story of How Norman's Fighting Spirit Defied All the Odds

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Uplifting Story of How Norman's Fighting Spirit Defied All the Odds

Article excerpt


HE'S the ever-smiling music man who has raised huge amounts for charity.

But life hasn't been easy for Redcar busking legend Norman Evans MBE - a man whose cheery demeanour belies the obstacles he's faced.

As a young man, Norman had to face up to being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Yet far from letting it dictate his life, Norman, 65, has let it open wonderful new doors.

And now he's opened his heart to tell his fascinating life story.

"We May As Well Dance" tells of Norman's battles with depression and the debilitating condition he has amazingly come to view as a blessing rather than a curse.

Yet, ultimately, it's an uplifting tale of how the human spirit can triumph over adversity.

Sitting at the adapted home in Marske, which he shares with his wife of 43 years, Ethel, Norman told the Gazette: "When the MS symptoms began, I was a young lad who had no idea what was happening to me. I was getting strange feelings in my legs and falling all over the place.

"I used to enjoy going to the Pier Ballroom. When you walk normally you don't think about it but here I was, having to think about putting one leg in front of the other, just like a drunken man."

Norman remembers hitting rock bottom as he tried to walk to work in Warrenby and instead, ended up sitting on a wall, crying his eyes out, unable to comprehend what was happening to him.

A man picked him up, carried him home and doctors soon diagnosed the problem - only no one told Norman.

He eventually found out in harrowing circumstances.

Voice quivering with emotion, he recalls: "My motorbike ran out of petrol one night so I ended up pushing it home. The local bobby caught up with me and said 'You've been drinking Norman'.

"I told him 'I haven't - there's something wrong with me'. But I had to leave my bike and go to the police station, where they made me walk up and down.

"I was up in court next morning, charged with being drunk in charge of a vehicle. …

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