Panto will go on after £3k grant

Wales Methodist Panto Players director Nick Challenger and business manager Jayne Lemm appeal for help to replace and repair  costumes damaged when the roof of the hall collapsed
Wales Methodist Panto Players director Nick Challenger and business manager Jayne Lemm appeal for help to replace and repair costumes damaged when the roof of the hall collapsed

A generous grant means the famous Wales pantomime will go on this year, despite costumes being destroyed in a roof collapse accident.

Wales Methodist Pantomime Players suffered a blow to what will be their 69th production, Mother Goose, when the ceiling fell in on their costume store.

The room at Wales Methodist Church caved in last month, covering the clothes and props in dust and debris.

“The group are devastated. The dust lies thick and acrid over our heavy vintage costumes and sadly these will not survive washing, the same applies to the rail of dame dresses trimmed with feathers,” said business manager Jayne Lemm.

“Even our pantomime camel Cleo looks like she has traversed the mighty Sahara and lost an eye in the process.”

So the Players appealed to the community for donations and offers of practical help. A whopping £1,000 was also raised by their summer fair.

They estimated the cost to repair the roof damage and the ruined costumes will be around £5,000.

Straight away, Wales Parish Council agreed to stump up £3,000 in community grants funding.

Councillors considered an appeal letter from the group at their last meeting, deciding unanimously that they deserved a helping hand.

“There has been a lot more done in this village through the Wales Panto Players than anywhere else, and we need to ensure it still continues,” said Coun David Carswell.

The theatre group has been treading the boards for 68 years.

Since humble beginnings at Wales Chapel in 1944, the original pantomime experience started by Roy Staniforth MBE has grown to boast a cast and crew of around 125 local people, often spanning three generations of one family.

Said Jayne: “It’s absolutely amazing to get this amount from the council. We didn’t know how much might be available, but this goes beyond what we had hoped for.”

Producer and director Nick Challenger thanked everyone for their support so far and appealed for anyone who could help in practical terms - builders, carpenters or handymen, to get in touch. Call Jayne on 01909 809757.