A CAST of 70 talented performers and backstage staff took to the stage to perform their rendition of a children’s classic.

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The Castle Hill Amateur Players (Chaps) delighted audiences at Castle Hill Church in Dryden Road when they staged their 26th pantomime last week.

Speaking before the production of Little Red Riding Hood, which was performed on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, an organiser said the group had built on their experiences from years gone by, starting with their first show, Aladdin, in 1988.

Playing to audiences of between 300 and 400 people each year, CHAPS has entertained more than 8,000 people since it was formed.

The slapstick fun of the pantomime came together after several months of preparing and rehearsing.

Church member and firefighter Peter Ham, the current chairman of CHAPS, said: “There are so many gifted people in our church community and in CHAPS.

“They have worked hard, not only in rehearsing but also in creating and making most of the costumes, and in make-up, logistical support and scene preparation.

“Our team includes entire families, not only from within our church but also others who enjoy amateur dramatics. Despite snow and ice on some occasions, they have turned up throughout the winter to ensure that this year’s production is better than ever.”

Each year the panto raises cash for a different charity, with last year’s performance raising money for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, when about £500 was donated.

This year’s charity is the Woolverstone Wish Fund, but he total raised is not yet known.

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