Raise a grand? Oh yes we did! Success at Cowbeech panto

Pictures by Sally Wallis. Merrie Harriers panto in Cowbeech
Pictures by Sally Wallis. Merrie Harriers panto in Cowbeech
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Around £1,000 was raised for good causes when Cowbeech residents took to the stage for the annual village pantomime.

The Merrie Harriers Bonfire Society transformed the restaurant at the Merrie Harriers Inn into a theatre for three nights to raise money for good causes.

Les Webb, from the bonfire society, said: “The cast was made up mostly of Merrie Harriers regulars ,who could in no way be described as thespians, but they rehearsed conscientiously for more than two months and became proficient at misremembering their lines and ignoring their cues but in the end they delivered a memorably enjoyable performance.

“The exact extent of financial success has not yet been calculated but it is hoped that at least £1,200 has been added to the Good Causes Funds.

“It is worth noting that the Merrie Harriers Bonfire Society distributed £7,200 in the Year 2012/2013 which gave welcome support to local organisations.”

The panto told the story of how Cowbeech ‘saved Christmas.’ In the 17th century Parliament passed an act banning most celebrations, including Christmas. Twelve Days of Christmas, under the Puritans, became a single day - of fasting.

Mr Webb said: “In 1653 Oliver Cromwell ruled England following a bloodless coup and this reinforced the influence of the Puritans in Church. Parliament passed legislation that effectively banned Public Holidays and celebrations including Christmas and against this background Cowbeech people struggled to maintain their traditional joyous festivities.

“In Cowbeech the puritanical Minister rigidly applied the rules. The action (at the panto) centred on the efforts of the locals and their Bonfire Society to confound the Cleric and hold a traditional Christmastide. As in all pantomimes good triumphed over evil and there was a happy ending.”