500 children were given a magical start to the Christmas season by the Freemasons of Berkshire with a visit to the Theatre Royal Windsor on Tuesday 6th December to watch Jack and The Beanstalk. Coach loads of excited children arrived with parents and carers, to be greeted by Father Christmas in the lobby and handed a ‘goody bag’ filled with fun items, the glow sticks being a particular success.
Martin Peters, the head of the Berkshire Freemasons, met the guests of honour from Daisy’s Dream, Windsor Family Friends, The Dash Charity, Variety at Work and the Sebastian’s Action Trust together with children from Pathway Special Needs, Addington School, Bourne End Academy and Stony Dean School, Amersham. They all had a great time assisted by the less than elfin ‘Elves’ and willing helpers made up from Freemasons across Berkshire who were directing the children to their seats and dishing out goodies.
The cast of Anthea Turner as the Fairy, Timmy Mallet as the King, Jason Gardiner as the Giant’s Henchman were joined by Stephen Blakely as Dame Trot and Kevin Cruise as Simple Simon with Luke Harley and Anna Campkin as Jack and Jill. The children provided a great audience, putting as much into the performance as the cast and the noise they made was wondrous to hear! Ice cream for all added to the festive fun and as usual the end of show singing and malarkey was a big hit!
Michael Brown, the organiser of the Panto Project said: “The Berkshire Freemasons Panto Project is enjoying its 12th consecutive year. The aim is to give a magical day out for children who are terminally ill, disabled, under privileged, or with educational difficulties. We buy all 600 seats in the theatre and distribute the tickets to the various organisations. The project is funded through the Berkshire Masonic Charity, with help from The Maidenhead Advertiser Louis Baylis Trust, and individual Masonic Lodges and Freemasons from across Berkshire. Mike continued…“We do all the preparation so that all the organisations have to do is get the children here and we all ensure that they have a great time”.