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Royal Marines panto Bonjur Bonjur donates money to community groups including the Royal Marines Charity

By Beth Robson

Forty two good causes have benefitted from cash gifts from a pantomime held by former Royal Marines.

The cast and helpers of the 2019 Sgts Mess Pantomime Bonjur Bonjur raised more than £27,100 from the run of 12 shows this month and the awards were handed out at a presentation evening on Saturday.

The majority of them received a cash boost of £300, and others were granted £500. The Royal Marines Association, which has a club on The Strand where Marines are supported and rehearsals take place, was given £1,000.

The Deal Memorial Bandstand Trust, built in memory of the 11 bandsmen murdered by the IRA's bomb in 1989, received £2,500 towards its free summer events including the annual Marines on the Green concert. It will also help with maintenance when required.

Among those at the awards evening at the RMA Club were representatives from Royal Marines Heritage Trails, Dover and Deal Citizens Advice, Deal and Betteshanger Rugby Club, Deal Music and Arts (The Deal Festival), the Deal Centre, Martha Trust, and representatives from local Scouts and Guides groups.

The pantomime was a take off of the 1980s hit show 'Allo 'Allo. It was staged at the Astor Theatre, Deal between Tuesday, January 5 and Saturday, January 19.

After the final performance pantomime committee chairman Paul Richardson presented a cheque of £10,000 to The Principal Director of Music Lt Col Jon Ridley and the CEO of the Royal Marines Charity Jonathan Ball.

Two cheques for £300 were donated to guiding. Pictured here is Jaime Cooper receiving one for 1st Walmer Guides and a second one for Jade Hamilton for South Goodwin Division as a whole
Two cheques for £300 were donated to guiding. Pictured here is Jaime Cooper receiving one for 1st Walmer Guides and a second one for Jade Hamilton for South Goodwin Division as a whole

Written and directed by Brian Short, the yearly traditions were revived by him in 2012 when he penned The Wizard Who's Odd, which was staged at the Astor in January 2013.

The last had been in 1995, the year before the Royal Marines School of Music left the Deal Barracks at Walmer for Portsmouth.

Since then they have raised more than £100,000 for good causes and racked up an archive of seven pantomime productions including The Wizard Who's Odd, Skinderella, Pirates of the Curried Bean, The Sound of Museli, Dad's Barmy, and Wonky Willy.

If you missed the panto, you can watch it on DVD. Pre-orders can be made via Mrs J Hughes, 14 John Tapping Close, Walmer, Deal CT14 7QY. Telephone 01304 369401 or email p42hughes@ btinternet.com.

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