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Thanks Cheggers! Whitchurch panto is all down to late star

By Lucy Todman | Whitchurch | North Shropshire entertainment | Published:

A number of household names will star at a panto in north Shropshire this month – all thanks to the late television presenter Keith Chegwin.

The 60-year-old TV star died last December, just a few months after he had relocated to his new home in the Shropshire countryside.

It emerged today that he had arranged for Men Behaving Badly star Leslie Ash, Britain's Got Talent winners Ashleigh and Sully and children's TV presenter Dave Benson-Philips to bring their production of Alice in Wonderland to Whitchurch Civic Society on March 31.

Leslie Ash

Mayor of Whitchurch, Councillor Tony Neville, said whole event was possible because of Cheggers after he opened the annual Food and Drink Festival last summer.

He said: "It all came about when he visited the town's food and drink festival and asked me if we ever had a pantomime.

"I said we didn't and he said to leave it with him. We didn't hear anything and then he was ill and I felt we could not get in touch. But about a month ago, the pantomime company got in touch and came and had a look at the centre. They said it was because of Keith Chegwin.

'It's all down to Keith'

"They said they would like to stage the panto at the centre and it is all down to Keith."

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Before the Multi Coloured Swap Shop presenter died, he had been in touch with Anton Benson Productions Ltd, which is touring the show across 16 UK venues in March and April.

Councillor Neville said: "He was a lovely man. He said he had never lived anywhere as friendly as Whitchurch. You would often see him around town and he would just stop for a chat.

"We will dedicate the shows to him. It was such a surprise for us when the producers got in touch."

Ashleigh and Sully

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Now Councillor Neville hopes Whitchurch will do the town proud and make the show a sell-out.

“It’s something we have been trying to do to get some major events at the Civic Centre because at one time it was a big venue, it even hosted The Beatles," said Councillor Neville.

“Events like this can only be good for the town.”

Alice in Wonderland will see Ashleigh and Sully take the lead roles, Leslie Ash as the Queen of Hearts and Dave Benson-Phillips, as the Mad Hatter.

There are two performances, one at 2pm and another at 6pm and tickets are available from ticketsource.co.uk

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman
@shroptod

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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