Hundreds of children enjoy Customs House panto for free thanks to Hays Travel Foundation

The Hays Travel Foundation has once again treated local children to a free showing of the Custom House’s annual pantomime.

By Faye Dixon
Friday, 10th January 2020, 10:00 am
Updated Saturday, 11th January 2020, 3:25 pm
John and Irene Hays joined the cast of Snow White at the Customs House theatre. 
Photo: Hays Travel
John and Irene Hays joined the cast of Snow White at the Customs House theatre. Photo: Hays Travel

On Saturday, January 4 hundreds of children from local organisations got to enjoy the annual Christmas pantomime, Snow White for free.

This year the Customs House pantomime celebrated their 25th anniversary with their showing of Snow White throughout the Christmas period and The Hays Travel Foundation booked out a grand total of 437 seats at the theatre in South Shields.

The tickets were donated to children’s charities and organisations in the local area which the Hays Travel Foundation has worked with throughout the year.

John Hays and the Customs House’s Ray Spencer with Hays Travel Foundation trustees. From left to right, David Gregory, John Hays, Joan Fleetwood, Dave Fleetwood, Ray Spencer as Dame Bella Ballcock, Dorothy Gregory and Mike Dillon. Photo: Hays Travel

For over a decade, Hays Travel has sponsored the Customs House pantomime each year.

This particular showing marks the third year that the company’s Foundation has booked out a performance of the pantomime with free tickets for the youngsters to enjoy the show.

Mandy Sousa, manager of the Hays Travel Foundation, said: “This is our third year hosting the pantomime at the Customs House. It is always an amazing day, and I am so happy to be part of it. Seeing the children’s reactions, laughing and singing with the cast, is really quite emotional.

“It gives me great pride to be working for the Hays Travel Foundation and to have the opportunity to organise this event and to work with these great organisations.”

Pupils at Parkhead Community Primary School were some of many who enjoyed the pantomime.

Carl Black, special educational needs coordinator at the school, said: “I just want to say a huge thank you on behalf of everyone at Parkhead Community Primary School.

“The children were filled with joy from start to finish and all said how much fun they had.

“Some of our children did not have the best Christmas so this really made a difference to them. It was also really lovely and totally unexpected that the children received a selection box. They were thrilled! It truly is amazing that the Foundation provides these opportunities for children.”