Norfolk

University of East Anglia's 'gentle giant' Nick Rayns dies

Nick Rayns
Image caption Mr Rayns joined as UEA entertainments manager in 1979

The man who organised concerts and entertainment at the University of East Anglia for over three decades has died.

Nick Rayns, who was 61, had been running entertainment for the Union of UEA Students since June 1979.

During that time the union said the number of events rose from a handful each year to over 60.

Colleagues were said to be "profoundly shocked and saddened" to learn of the sudden death of the entertainments manager.

Di Anderson, central support and marketing manager at the union, said: "Nick was the most well-liked and respected of gentle giants and known throughout the live music industry.

"I have worked with Nick for 22 years and couldn't have wanted to work with someone that was more fun - so long as the job was done, it didn't matter how we got there.

"He would often recall the time that the tour bus for Blondie pulled up and an exuberant Debbie Harry fell straight out of the door into this big man's arms - she was very lucky and I know he counted himself as lucky too."

Mr Rayns was also responsible for organising about 200 concerts at the Norwich Waterfront each year.

In his first year as entertainment manager, the UEA put on concerts by The Cure, the Two Tone Tour (featuring The Specials, Madness and The Selector) and Slade supported by Def Leppard.

Mr Rayns, who died on Monday, leaves his partner Annie and their three children.

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