Freemasons Save Christmas Panto – Oh Yes They Do!

14th December 2020

A grant of £3000 from Northumberland Freemasons has enabled a community pantomime to go ahead and reach children in socially disadvantaged areas bringing a strong social message to help vulnerable people.

Blowin’ A Hooley Theatre is a non-profit company based in North Tyneside who are committed to delivering theatre and arts projects to young people and audiences in communities that struggle to access the arts.

Set up in 2016, they have worked with some of the most deprived North East communities, including Meadow Well, North Shields and Byker. As part of their social impact work, they deliver Stop Loan Sharks projects and have created a ‘loan shark panto’ which raises awareness of the dangers of illegal lending through an engaging and entertaining pantomime for schools and families in vulnerable areas.

Partial funding from the Illegal Money Lending Team was given to provide a small number of performances of ‘Cinderella’s Dilemma’, a panto with a twist… where Cinders needs help from local children to avoid being conned by a loan shark Fairy Godmother.

The £3000 from Northumberland Freemasons allows the theatre group to take additional COVID-safe performances to more Tyneside communities, allowing them to raise awareness of support for loan shark victims in vulnerable areas, whilst bringing much-needed festive cheer to those who will otherwise miss out this Christmas.

The £3000 is the latest in a series of donations given in 2020 totalling more than £160,000 as Norman West representing Northumberland Freemasons explained.

“The Provincial Grand Lodge of Northumberland through the Richard Henry Holmes Masonic Benevolent Fund donates around £80,000 twice each year to local charities to boost worthwhile and deserving projects throughout Northumberland, Newcastle and North Tyneside.

“`We are pleased to help Blowin’ a Hooley deliver their important Christmas message which will help families deal with the problems associated with illegal money lenders.”

Harriet Ghost from Blowin’ a Hooley was delighted with the £3,000 pledge from the Freemasons:

“We’re extremely grateful to Northumberland Freemasons and the Trustees for this generous offer of support. It will enable us to reach many more young people in the community.”

Other charities and good causes benefiting from donations included the St Michaels clock tower appeal in Alnwick, the Newcastle United Foundation and the Voices of Hope Choir.

Freemasons buildings in the Province of Northumberland can be found in:

Alnwick, Amble, Ashington, Bedlington, Bellingham, Berwick, Blyth, Byker, Cramlington, Haltwhistle, Hexham, Mickley, Morpeth, Newbiggin, Jesmond, Newcastle, North Shields,  Seahouses, Seaton Delaval, Shiremoor, Throckley, Wallsend, Whitley Bay and Wylam.