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Chelmsford panto raises £3.7k for mayor’s charity YMCA

Jack and the Beanstalk cast with The Mayor of Chelmsford

Chelmsford Theatre’s 2023 panto, Jack and the Beanstalk, raised a staggering £3,734 for The Mayor of Chelmsford’s charity, YMCA Essex.

Supporting “Bright Futures” for young people

The Mayor of Chelmsford, Councillor Linda Mascot, chose YMCA Essex as her charity for the mayoral year 2023–24. The charity reflects the choice of theme for the mayoral year – “Bright Futures”, which focuses on supporting young people to become confident, successful, and happy adults.

YMCA Essex supports children, young people, and families across the county, helping them grow, develop, and achieve their ambitions. Their services include childcare support, holiday clubs, youth groups and providing housing for vulnerable and homeless young people.

Panto audiences’ generous donations

The theatre’s critically acclaimed panto ran from 1 December 2023 to 7 January 2024 and chose to support the mayor’s charity, YMCA Essex, for its annual collection. The show was packed with topical jokes, colourful costumes, and catchy music – including The Village People’s classic anthem YMCA, which audiences danced along to night after night!

Chelmsford Theatre panto 2023 Silly Billy
Silly Billy in Jack and the Beanstalk at Chelmsford Theatre.

During each show, Jack’s brother, the hopeless but lovable Silly Billy, highlighted the brilliant work carried out by YMCA Essex. He asked theatregoers to consider supporting their work with a small donation. Theatre staff manned charity points at the end of each performance, and audiences were incredibly generous – donating a grand total of £3,734 over five weeks.

The Mayor of Chelmsford thanked those who donated, as well as the cast and theatre staff for their help in raising this brilliant sum:

“A big thanks to the panto cast and theatre staff for their support in promoting YMCA Essex’s incredible work over the panto run. I’m so thrilled that Chelmsford Theatre can give back to the community in this way, and I’m extremely grateful to all those who helped raise this whopping figure for a very worthy charity close to my heart.

“With many more fundraising events planned for the remainder of my mayoral year, I hope to have a great final figure raised for YMCA Essex.”

The Mayor of Chelmsford, Councillor Linda Mascot

Christmas events raised significant funds for charity

Several other events and activities over the festive season raised further funds for YMCA Essex. Participants in the annual Yuletide Stride, hosted by Anglia Ruskin University and the city council’s Community Sport and Wellbeing team on 7 December, raised £276.10 while enjoying an evening tour of Chelmsford’s stunning Christmas lights.

Hylands’ Open Estate Day Christmas market on 17 December raised £220.20, and an Audio Advent Calendar run by Chelmsford Community Radio throughout December raised £675.


Andy Drake, CEO of YMCA Essex says the funds will help them continue their crucial work with young people, children, and families:

“At YMCA Essex we are extremely grateful to be the mayor’s charity for the year and have the spotlight shone on the needs of young people, children, and families in our community. The sad reality is that more than we might think have a hard day every day, through no fault of their own, and right on our doorstep. YMCA is here to help them and with these charitable funds we will be able to do so long into the future. Thank you.”

Andy Drake, CEO, YMCA Essex

Further mayoral charity events in 2024

Further charitable events planned for Mayor Mascot’s term of office include a YMCA Quiz Night this Saturday 27 January; a variety show of singing, dancing and comedy at Chelmsford Theatre on Saturday 10 February; and a Caprice Wind Orchestra concert at Chelmsford Cathedral on Saturday 9 March.

Mayor's Charity Concert 2024

The mayor also celebrates Mother’s Day with an afternoon tea event on Sunday 10 March and will host a charity ball on Saturday 11 May.

To keep up to date with the mayor’s engagements and upcoming events, follow them on Facebook.

For more panto and theatre news, follow Chelmsford Theatre on Facebook and Instagram, and sign up to their mailing list. Tickets for their 2024 panto, Snow White, are available to book now.

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Cherelle Nightingill
Cherelle Nightingill

Cherelle writes about Chelmsford Theatre, Hylands Estate, Chelmsford Museum, the Mayor of Chelmsford and culture and events in the city.