Town's 29th panto plays to full houses

Salisbury Journal: Richard McPherson as Mama Macaroni. To see lots more photos from this event click 'Buy this photo'. Buy this photo » Richard McPherson as Mama Macaroni. To see lots more photos from this event click 'Buy this photo'.

VERWOOD’S 29th pantomime has been raising money to enable a very special little boy to walk.

The town’s panto society tackled Pinocchio for the first time last week, and urged theatre-goers to dig deep for the after-show collection.

Society members picked little Olly Reid as their cause this year after decades raising cash for charities, most recently raising £800 for the multi-use games area for the town.

They were moved to help after hearing about the two-year-old’s battles after being born by emergency caesarean and suffering brain damage.

His parents were told to prepare for the worst, but he battled back and, despite having cerebral palsy, reflux, epilepsy and limited movement he is described as a “very determined and loving little boy”.

Now his mum Charlotte is trying to raise enough money for a Kidwalk, a piece of kit that will enable him to take his first steps.

Chairman and co-producer Sue Gardiner said: “Olly’s aunt is our principal girl, Lucy Haynes, who plays Maria.

“I think the Kidwalk will cost more than £2,000, so anything we can raise will go towards that. So far people have been very generous. I think it’s touched people.

“They’re a lovely family.”

The society is promising another magical show for lovers of the traditional panto this year.

The lead even boasts a real growing nose... though don’t ask how they’ve done it.”

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