Burgess Hill Theatre Club donates £389 to St Peter and St James Hospice

Actors remembered their social distancing lines when they presented a cheque to St Peter and St James Hospice.
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They used a little Burgess Hill Theatre Club pantomime magic to safely hand the donation of £389.

Club vice-chairman Rosalind Wood, with a sprinkling of help of local fairy godmother Julia Peckham, handed over the 2019 pantomime raffle cheque to the hospice’s Wendy Agate, appropriately socially distanced.

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The club made the donation despite having to call off its annual Christmas pantomime this year because of the current pandemic.

From left: Wendy Agate, Rosalind Wood and Julia PeckhamFrom left: Wendy Agate, Rosalind Wood and Julia Peckham
From left: Wendy Agate, Rosalind Wood and Julia Peckham

This is the first year in six decades that Burgess Hill will not have its annual treat.

The club said all members were waiting for the day when they could say that the pandemic is ‘Behind You!’.

It is still keen to support local charities that do so much for its local community.

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The hospice, based near Wivelsfield Green, offers a range of expert support for adults living with terminal illness, as well as their families, in Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill, Lewes, Uckfield and the surrounding towns and villages.

The charity receives limited government funding, which means it relies heavily on the local community to cover more than 80 per cent of its running costs.

Like many charities across the country, the hospice’s income has been significantly reduced by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has seen the closure of its charity shops during lockdown, the cancellation of many fundraising events, the expansion of services to offer remote and telephone support where possible, and the continuing rigorous infection prevention measures at the hospice.

Earlier this year, nurse Claire Birnage, who works on the Inpatient Ward, described it as the ‘biggest challenge in hospice history’ and asked the public to support the charity and give generously to ‘futureproof’ its vital services.

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Hannah Wilson, the theatre club’s treasurer, said: “We are only too pleased to make this donation, despite the disappointment of not being able to perform a pantomime this year, and would encourage people to support the hospice’s essential work.”

The club is waiting for the time when it can safely start up the play that was in rehearsal in March.

Meanwhile, members are looking to produce a radio play with Zoom rehearsals.

Hannah said: “If anyone has any expertise in this field the club would be glad to hear from them.

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“We always welcome new members, and although the current time is a strange one for us all, we would welcome hearing from anyone who would like to take part in future productions or help us in practical ways; such as creating props and costumes or even helping to maintain our little theatre premises.”

Anyone wishing to make donations to the hospice can do so by visiting https://stpjhospice.org.

Anyone wishing to become involved with the theatre club should contact its membership secretary Rachel Shuck on 01444 244214 or email [email protected].

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