A special tea party with a sprinkling of pantomime magic helped to put smiles on the faces of some Norfolk youngsters coping with bereavement.

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The cast of Norwich Theatre Royal’s festive production Cinderella joined young people supported by the Nelson’s Journey charity for the event yesterday, which took place just before the evening show at the city venue.

Matt Milburn and Ruth Betteridge, who play Prince Charming and Cinderella, were among the cast members to join in the fun, and Nelson’s Journey’s mascot also took part.

Matt said: “It was lovely meeting all the children. I think Nelson’s Journey is a fantastic organisation that obviously helps to bring a good few smiles to many children, and anything like that gets my full backing.

“It’s lovely to do events like this just before the show, it really makes you want to put on a cracker.”

Sophie Berry, funding officer for Nelson’s Journey, said the party and trip to the pantomime was a treat.

“They are all going through a tough time, and so for them to be able to come here with children of a similar age and have lots of fun is a really good opportunity,” she said.

“We’d like to say a huge thanks to Rogers and Norton because without them we would not have been able to do this.”

Jessica Borges, from Scarning, lost her husband Robert Borges in a car crash in South Africa, and she said Nelson’s Journey had really helped her and her children Jayden, nine, Reilly, four, and Bella-Mae, three.

She said events like the Nelson’s Journey pantomime tea party were a good idea.

“I think what is good is that all the children can be together.

“They have all been through 
difficult times, and it’s good for the children to mix, and if they want they can share stories,” she said.

The Nelson’s Journey pantomime visit was made possible by Norfolk legal practice Rogers and Norton which has a long-term fundraising link with the charity which helps under-18s across Norfolk who have experienced the death of a significant person in their lives like a parent, brother or sister.

Rogers and Norton has raised more than £11,000 for the charity in the last 18 months.

Graham Knights, Rogers and Norton practice manager, said: “We are delighted to be able to hopefully bring a little light into their world for a brief period at a very sad time in their young lives by taking them to the panto.

“We are also grateful to The Leeds Building Society staff in Norwich for their help by providing goodie bags.”

For more on Nelson’s Journey visit www.nelsonsjourney.org.uk

Cinderella is at Norwich Theatre Royal until Sunday, January 19. For more information call the theatre’s box office on 01603 630000 or visit www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

Do you have a story about the arts in Norwich? Email arts correspondent Emma Knights at emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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