Panto fans who flocked to see The Lambton Worm at The Customs House have helped to raise more than £12,000 for its chosen charity.
Every year, a bucket collection after each performance raises money for a local good cause and in 2017, the theatre adopted The Charlie Cookson Foundation.
The South Shields-based charity was set up in memory of Charlie Cookson, who battled several health problems in his short life and required 24-hour care before his death in 2013, aged just 30 months.
His parents, Sarah and Chris, have since poured their energy into supporting other parents with desperately ill children, with the aim of relieving the financial burden on families so they can spend precious time together.
Their coffers have been boosted by the proceeds of a record-breaking collection at “The Little Panto with the Big Heart” which is staged every year at the theatre in Mill Dam, South Shields.
This year it raise a grand total of £12,349.30.
Sarah said: “We would like to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts to everyone who attended the show and kindly donated to our foundation. You have all helped to raise an unbelievable amount of money.
“We are truly lost for words at the generosity that has been shown. It’s not just the panto which has a the big heart. It’s audiences do to.”
“The difference this phenomenal amount of money is going to make to our inspirational families is priceless.”
The Lambton Worm proved to be one of the most popular recent pantos at theatre and was seen by more than 26,000 people.
Ray Spencer, executive director of The Customs House said: “Every year we are just astonished by the generosity of our audiences, who always dig deep, but this year they have smashed all previous records. A huge thank you goes to everyone who donated.”
Next year’s panto at The Customs House will be Beauty and the Beast.
Tickets are on sale now, with some performances already selling out. Call the box office on (0191) 454 1234 or book online at www.customshouse.co.uk.