The time leading up to Christmas is special for many children; opening advent calendars, writing to Father Christmas and getting involved in festive fun at school. For many families it is a time to catch up and spend time together. For many of those with a parent serving in the British Armed Forces Christmas can be tinged with sadness if their Mum or Dad is deployed away from home over the festive season.
Little Troopers, as the charity that provides support to children of our British Armed Forces through the separation, runs a Christmas smiles project every year throughout December. 2017 has seen more venues then ever sign up to the initiative and donating tickets for us to allocate to families who have someone serving overseas this Christmas time. Reading, Colchester, Chatham, Leicester, Stoke and Oxford are just some of the theatres signed up and Newcastle was the venue to kick off the project last week by welcoming eight families to their pantomime Peter Pan last week .
In addition to seasonal pantomimes we have partnered with Disney to send over 100 people to Disney on Ice shows in Sheffield, Glasgow, Birmingham, Leeds and finally London just before Christmas. Hetty Feather was also enjoyed last week by a group of families in Southampton.
One family said “Thank you so much for the Disney on Ice tickets. My daughter is usually such a happy and funny little girl but the last couple of weeks she’s lost some of her sparkle while her daddy has been away. Tonight, she was giddy happy, singing and dancing non stop and she’d forgotten about any sadness or worries she’s been having. As soon as we came out she said she wanted to go again when daddy gets back”
Louise from Little Troopers said this week as the project got going “just one evening of festive joy can mean so much to a child who has someone serving away from home at this time of year. Christmas really is never the same when you have an empty chair at the table but if we can sprinkle some smiles and memories for these children it means the world to us. A huge thank you to all the venues who have got involved this year and donated tickets for Little Troopers”
The charity will be running the scheme again next year and welcomes contact from any theatre or company willing to donate pantomime or other festive tickets to British Armed Forces families; If you can help please email firstname.lastname@example.org