THE organisers of a Wirral concert in aid of Ukranian refugees have handed over the proceeds to a charity co-ordinating the humanitarian efforts.

Featuring a host of performers from across Wirral, the show took place at the Gladstone Theatre in Port Sunlight on May 22 it raised £4,259.28p for British Red Cross.

It featured performances from Mark Sebastian D’Lacey, Billy Thompson, Tia Gill and local dramatic, operatic and musical societies supported by the Greg Williams 17-piece Glenn Miller-style big band.

Local groups taking part were Bebington Dramatic Society, Port Sunlight Players, Heswall Musical Society, Hoylake & West Kirby (Hawk) Theatre Group and Rock Ferry Operatic Society. Soloists from West Kirby Musical Theatre Company also performed.

The mayor also attendance, along with the Gladstone Theatre's patron Lady Anne Dodd, widow of comedy legend Sir Ken.

The show was produced by musical director Greg Williams, assisted by Valerie Houldin.

The £4,200 raised on the night was handed over to Kerry Threadgill, British Red Cross regional fundraising manager for the North and Midlands, outside the Gladstone Theatre this morning. 

Wirral Globe:

Left to right: Sarah Williams (musician who took part in the concert), the show's musical director Greg Williams, Kerry Threadgill from British Red Cross and Valerie Houldin outside the Gladstone Theatre this morning. Picture: Craig Manning

Greg told the Globe: "We just thought there was a need to do something. Seeing all the images from Ukraine, we thought 'let's put something together'. I run the big band, so maybe the big band can do something.

"From that, it extended into all the different operatic societies and soloists being involved as well.

"We didn't expect to raise as much as we did on the night. We were hoping for £2,000, which would have been nice. We would have been very happy with that, but to get the amount that we did was amazing really.

"There are no plans for further concerts like this at the moment, but there could be in the future. It took a lot of arranging, a lot of work, because there was plenty in the concert. It was a really good night."

Wirral Globe:

Greg Williams, Kerry Threadgill from British Red Cross and Valerie Houldin outside the Gladstone Theatre. Picture: Craig Manning

Co-producer Valerie Houldin added: "Local businesses were very generous, donating nearly £1,000 worth of raffle prizes, in vouchers and gifts, so everybody's feeling that they want to do something and help. We were really grateful to everyone.

"We have always been trying to raise money for the theatre improvement anyway, but when special events come along we just like to get everyone involved and have a new direction sometimes."

Kerry Threadgill, British Red Cross regional fundraising manager for the North and Midlands, told the Globe: "It's been overwhelming to see so many people want to support and support in their own way.

"So whether it's events like this or sponsored silences, clubs and running marathons, adopting collection tins for workplaces it's just been overwhelming to see the outpouring of support.

"It's been a very busy time for the us at the Red Cross, but humbling as well to see people just wanting to support in some way and coming to us asking 'what can I do?'.

"The British Red Cross is working with Red Cross national societies in and around Ukraine to ensure that the money we are raising here is buying the first aid that we need, the vital aid that we need - for example food, clothing, pyscho-social support, first aid training; training people in basic skills so that they can treat loved ones if they need to, and also restoring contact with people who may have lost touch with families having to move across borders and that sort of stuff.

"It's an ever-changing situation, but we're just making sure that we've got the funds that we need to get the aid people need.

"It's very kind of people like Greg and Valerie to give their time and energy to raise money for this appeal. It really is helping.

"People have, literally, fled with nothing, so any support we can them is really important."