Special panto rounds off busy year for Lions

FOR the second year running, Adur East Lions Club has sponsored a special pantomime performance for children with learning difficulties.

Wednesday, 8th January 2014, 11:00 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 5:58 am
S53204H13 Jasper the lion with cast members Peter Willoughby, Michael Heywood and Jessica Hathaway, Lions vice-president Gillian Anderson and Lion Jim Pummell, and the schoolchildren

Aladdin, produced by LP Creatives at the Ropetackle Arts Centre in Shoreham, was put on during the afternoon of Saturday, December 28, specially for the children and parents of Herons Dale School.

The school, in Hawkins Crescent, Shoreham, caters for children with a wide range of learning difficulties and associated needs, including speech and language delay, autism, dyspraxia, specific learning difficulties, medical conditions and physical needs.

Artistic director Tom Beard, who appeared as Abanazar, ensured special lighting and sound were provided to make the show more accessible for Herons Dale’s pupils.

Richard Behling, from Adur East Lions, said: “This exclusive performance also meant that those pupils who need the freedom to move around and call out had the opportunity to do so.

“It is these needs that make it difficult and challenging for parents to take them to a ‘normal’ live performance.”

Lions mascot Jasper was there before the start, helping to welcome the children, and he was joined by club vice-president Gillian Anderson and Lion Jim Pummell.

The tale of adventure, comedy and romance featured Peter Whilloughby as Aladdin, Jessica Hathaway as Princess Jasmine and Michael Heywood as Widow Twankey.

Chloe Ellman-Baker, 13, and Spencer Owen, 10, appeared as the Genie.

Jonathon Hopkin, chairman of the Friends of Herons Dale, thanked Adur East Lions for their panto sponsorship.

Mr Behling said the Lions had held a series of fundraising activities throughout the year, including the donkey derby and classic vehicle rally, Santa’s Christmas grotto at Mayberry Garden Centre in Portslade, Santa street collections, cake sales at Southlands Hospital in Shoreham, a car boot sale, book stalls and Easter egg raffles.

Donations made by Adur East Lions in 2013 included Buckingham Park Primary School’s new sensory garden, Adur Special Needs Project, Kindle readers for Swiss Gardens Primary School, local hospices, National Coastwatch, outdoor equipment at Herons Dale School, kitchen equipment for Glebelands Day Centre, the Philippines Typhoon Haiyan Appeal, 40 help kits for the visually impaired and money towards a special bike for a Shoreham boy.

Social events include quizzes, murder-mystery evenings and teas for senior citizens.

Adur East Lions Club meets on the fourth Tuesday in the month, at the Royal George, Upper Shoreham Road, Shoreham, off the Holmbush roundabout. Contact 0845 8337356 for more information.