09:00AM, Saturday 11 January 2020
More than 500 children got to enjoy a pantomime this Christmas with the help of a grant from the Advertiser’s owner.
The Louis Baylis Trust donated £2,000 to the Berkshire Freemasons in 2019, and for the 15th year in a row it took disadvantaged, terminally ill and disabled children to the panto.
Berkshire Freemasons booked the entire Theatre Royal Windsor, more than 560 seats, on December 3 so that the children and their families and carers could all see the panto together.
This season’s show was Aladdin, starring Joe Thompson-Oubari as Aladdin and former Just Good Friends actor Paul Nicholas as the villainous Abanazar.
The tickets were given out to charities and organisations operating in Berkshire, including Bourne End Academy, Daisy’s Dream and Family Friends Windsor and Maidenhead.
Many of the children also got to go backstage after the show to meet and take photographs with some of the show’s stars, like Kevin Cruise, Basil Brush and Steven Blakely.
Each child also received a ‘goodie bag’ full of Christmas gifts and a glow stick to light up the theatre.
Ian Johnson, chairman of the Berkshire Masonic Charity (BMC), said: “The BMC, working with a number of charities in Berkshire and the surrounding counties, are thrilled to support this special day for children and their helpers. We are also indebted to the generous donation from The Louis Baylis Trust, who have supported us in making this day happen for so many children.
“To see the joy it brings to them is heartwarming.”
Anthony Howlett-Bolton, leader of Berkshire Freemasons, added: “It is always a pleasure to watch the children have so much fun at the panto.
“It was a delight to see their faces light up as the characters entertained and interacted with them so well.
“I want to thank Theatre Royal staff and the very talented cast for the magical time they gave the children.”
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