South Shields ‘little panto with the big heart’ raises cash for charity

Nihad Cehic from the NSPCC with Customs House panto fairy Eleanor Chaganis
Nihad Cehic from the NSPCC with Customs House panto fairy Eleanor Chaganis
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Panto fans in South Tyneside have raised more than £4,000 for a children’s charity.

The Customs House in South Shields is supporting the NSPCC by holding bucket collections at the end of every panto show this year.

The cast of Jack and the Beanstalk at the Customs House.

The cast of Jack and the Beanstalk at the Customs House.

More than 25,000 people have already seen or booked tickets to see this year’s festive offering, Jack and the Beanstalk.

The show runs until January 7 and it’s not just the audiences who at pouring in.

With 11 days still left of the run, more than £4,000 in loose change has been dropped into buckets.

The cash will support the NSPCC, which runs Childline.

Childline marks its 30 anniversary this year and in that time has helped more than four million children.

This Christmas a child will call the helpline every 25 seconds.

Customs House executive director Ray Spencer MBE, who also writes, directs and stars in the annual pantomime, said: “Every year we are just astonished by people’s generosity.

“Our audience always dig deep to raise an impressive amount.

“We always like to support a children’s charity and we hope the money raised at Jack and the Beanstalk means there is always someone at the other end of the phone to help those who call Childline.”

Every year The Customs House - which is itself a charitable trust - raises funds for a chosen cause.

Nihad Ćehić, The NSPCC’s community fundraising manager for the North East, said: “We’re thrilled The Customs House have chosen to raise funds for The NSPCC.

“It’s a great show and people are being extremely generous.

“We can’t that The Customs House and all the theatre-goers enough for their support, especially in our milestone year.”

The traditional “little panto with the giant heart” stars Ray and panto regulars Luke Maddison as Jack and Steven Lee Hamilton as baddie Fleshcreep. Also back as part of the Customs House panto family are Natasha Haws, as principal girl, and Gareth Hunter as her dad the Mayor.

More than 25,000 people wenmt to see Alice in Wonderland at the Customs House last year and Jack and the Beanstalk is well on the way to being another major success.

Jack and the Beanstalk, sponsored by Hays Travel, is on until January 7, 2017.

Tickets start from £9.75 and are available from the box office on 0191 454 1234 or by visiting www.customshouse.co.uk.