Panto stars’ charity boost

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A BRIDLINGTON fundraiser has Snow White and the seven dwarfs to thank for helping him to climb one of the world’s most famous mountains.

During the three-week run of this year’s pantomime at The Spa featuring singing star Denise Nolan as the Wicked Queen, the audiences donated a staggering £2,500 to Yorkshire Cancer Research.

Paul Russell, 54, who works as a technician at The Spa, is now well on the way to raising more than £5,000 for the charity by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro this summer.

He said: “After every show Denise Nolan, who headed the bill as the Wicked Queen, made an announcement to the audience about my Kilimanjaro challenge and that it was for Yorkshire Cancer Research.

“The cash came clanking into the collection buckets – it was amazing!

“It has given my fundraising a fantastic boost.

“I would like to thank everyone who came to the panto and gave their hard-earned cash. One of the ushers told me a lady had enjoyed the panto so much and the cause had touched her so deeply she put in £90. I was gob-smacked.”

Paul will head to Africa in June to climb the world’s highest free-standing mountain.

He is now busy training for the challenge and has been given free access to gym facilities at Bridlington Links Golf Club and hopes to visit the North Yorkshire Moors and Edale Valley in Derbyshire to improve his hill-walking.

All of the money he makes will go to Yorkshire Cancer Research as he is funding his own expenses.

Paul, married with three grown up sons, of Airedale Drive, Bridlington, is no stranger to undertaking challenging events for charity, having walked from Land’s End to John O’Groats in 2006 and the Great Wall of China in 2003.

He decided to take on Kilimanjaro in memory of his close friend Carole Clayton who passed away after suffering from cancer, but the venture took on even more significance when his father, Ken, and work colleague Elaine Saunders Brown were both diagnosed with the disease last year.

Paul added: “Following surgery and the removal of my father’s cancers, I am pleased to say he is now on the road to a full recovery. My colleague and good friend is also recovering following chemotherapy.

‘‘It makes me feel quite emotional when I think how things could have turned out if it wasn’t for the good work all cancer research does.”

To sponsor Paul, please visit www.justgiving.com/paulskilimanjaro2011.