Colin Grainger

Fantastic night of comedy as the stars come out for charity Ambition, Aspire, Achieve

Absolutely blinding! The stars came out with an amazing night of comedy for Newham charity Ambition, Aspire, Achieve last night.

And rarely have I heard so many people on their way out saying: “My face is aching with the amount of laughing I have done.”

Everyone of the acts who travelled from far and wide made it a night to remember and the event raised more than £5,000 for the Canning Town charity that makes a big difference  to the lives of disadvantaged and disabled young people. It was staged  at the Backyard Comedy Club, Bethnal Green.

The man behind it was comedian, actor and writer Ricky Grover. Two years ago Ricky became a patron of Ambition, Aspire, Achieve, (AAA), whose mission is to provide activities and experiences for young people that build confidence and expand minds. He was born just around the corner and the charity is close to his heart.

He told the audience: “I am honoured to be a patron and really believe this charity is making a difference.”

Angela Barnes, David Ward, Tim Vine, Ninia Benjamin, Tom Allen and Tom Stade joined Ricky on stage. Club owner Lee Hurst offered the venue for free.

David, who also compered the night, struck up an immediate rapport with the audience, before introducing Angela Barnes, who had the crowd crying with laughter with a high-quality routine. It was such a feel good evening.

  • David Ward

  • Angela Barnes

Ricky’s appearance with a bucket on his head set the tone for the night in the current coranavirus climate with a string of jokes designed to help us forget the fear. He then provided the night’s first raffle prize – a nine pack of toilet paper to end his routine.

  • Rick Grover – with and without bucket amd with bog rolls

Tim Vine was next into the fray, with a string of one-liners that we all just managed to keep up with!

From the moment he came on stage there was such joy on the faces in the audience. His finale, the pen-behind-the-ear routine brought the sell-out full house down.

  • Tim Vine… with wig and nailing the pen behind the ear!

Ninia Benjamin, a firm favourite with Backyard regulars,  was on top form with her political insight and self-analysis, a joy to behold. The laughs just kept on coming.

  • Ninia Benjamin

Tom Allen’s act was top notch as he switched from fast-paced long and meaningful moments to quickfire humour in an instant. It was brilliant stuff.

  • Tom Allen

And so it fell to ‘Canadian turned Scot’ Tom Stade to take the final slot in this most exceptional of comedy nights.  Tom tackled cross generational issues with a sense of mischief, and a touch of help from the audience, living up to his self-billing as the Messiah of Mirth.

  • Tom Stade

Ricky said after: “I am so grateful to and proud of my fellow comics who done me proud. It was a blinding night and the audience were brilliant as well. We’ve raised a nice few quid for this marvellous charity.”

  • Tom and pals in the ‘green room’

Ricky has known AAA founder Kevin Jenkins and Paula Blake, who manages the Arc, for some years. “I trust them completely and know that every penny that is raised will go to the young people, the people who need it most. They have great reputations and what they are doing with their teams is something special. We are just so happy to help.”


  • A full house at Backyard



Picture by Colin Grainger

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This article was written on 09 Mar 2020, and is filed under AAA, Ambition Aspire Achieve, Backyard Comedy Club, Ricky Grover.

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