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West Ilsley marks year on from floods with comical Portaloo panto

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More than 50 local residents were involved in creating the pantomime, which was written by Mick Channon, son of the horse trainer of the same name whose stables are in the village, and produced by Marnie Moyle.
The show featured a cast of local residents from tiny tots to the over-80s.
It was performed twice at West Ilsley Village Hall on Saturday, and told the tale of the village’s mission to awaken the beautiful Princess Buttercup, whose parents, the King and Queen, lived in a boggy kingdom with their other daughters, Princesses Cauliflower and Turnip.
The plot saw the parish council chairman having an argument with Michael Fish about his infamous hurricane forecast, as well as a white rabbit, gamekeepers and a wicked witch – with added portaloos – and, of course, that all-important true love’’ kiss to awaken the sleeping princess.
The cast and almost all of the audience wore wellies for the event, to mark the true meaning behind the comical pantomime and to commemorate the impact of the severe weather conditions one year ago.
During the floods, around 20 portable toilets had to be set up in the village due to residents being left without water in their homes.
Both the matinee and evening performances sold out, with tickets sold at £5 each, raising a substantial amount for the local Evergreens club and for village hall improvements.
Cast member Ian Fewtrell-Smith, who played the King, said: “It was brilliant. There’s lots of talk of the panto now, the village is buzzing.
“Everybody had a huge amount of fun.
“While there is always a huge amount of community spirit in West Ilsley, the flooding last year really brought it to the fore.
“The pantomime was a way to commemorate that, because it really was a grim time for us all.”

It was the wettest winter on record in Berkshire.
Between December 1 and February 25, 395 millimetres of rain had fallen on the county, compared to an average of 181.8mm.
Several local roads and footpaths were closed, fields left underwater and waterways reached record highs throughout the district.
To mark the period, the difficulties faced by local residents, the progress that has since been made and the issues that are still being faced, the Newbury Weekly News is compiling information for a Flooding: one year on feature.
If you were affected by last year’s flooding, and would like to be involved, please contact reporter Ellis Barker by calling her on (01635) 886639 or emailing ellis.barker@newburynews.co.uk

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