Two families who have been supported by the Charity’s Welfare team were invited to attend a very special event in London’s West End last week.

Hosted by the National Lottery to thank key workers and their families from across London for their efforts during the pandemic, the special performance of Pantoland at the Palladium was also attended by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their three children.

Welfare Services Lead Carrie Pearce was instrumental in arranging for the two families – both of whom we have supported this year – to attend the red carpet event.

“I was absolutely delighted when I was asked to offer this amazing opportunity to two of the families that the Welfare team have been supporting throughout the past year,” says Carrie. “They were both a little shocked and surprised when I initially contacted them to explain and offer them the tickets to attend this special performance, but shock and surprise were soon replaced with huge excitement.”

Helen Shepard and her five-year-old twins attended the show and was full of praise for the experience when we caught up with her afterwards.

“Thank you so much for offering the tickets to us, we had an amazing time,” she says. “The twins got the red carpet treatment, saw Father Christmas and even got a present from Hamley’s Toy Shop. The panto was great, I haven’t belly laughed like that in such a long time. It feels good to have got out and have some much-needed fun together.”

Stuart Jackson and his family received our second set of tickets: “My girls felt like princesses,” he says. “Thank you so much for giving them this special memory. We had the most amazing time.”

Both families have been supported by Carrie and her team over the last year, with different issues affecting their home lives.

“We are here to provide support to all members of the UK’s fire family with anything that is affecting their family life and daily sense of wellbeing,” says Carrie. “Both families have experienced a really tough year and it was wonderful to be able to give them the opportunity to leave their worries behind them for a few hours, have some fun and enjoy some special time together.”

Introducing the evening’s festivities, The Duke of Cambridge greeted the special audience for the evening’s performance, commenting; “You are representative of the huge number of people across the UK who have stepped forward to make a difference this year in so many crucial ways. The country owes you a huge debt of gratitude.”

The star-studded production included the likes of Julian Clary, Elaine Paige, Diversity, Paul Zerdin, Nigel Havers and Beverley Knight.

If you could benefit from the support of our Welfare Services team, get in touch. You can speak to them by calling our Support Line on 0800 389 8820 or making an enquiry online.

While our offices will be closed during the festive break, our Welfare Caseworkers will be available on certain days for support with any urgent social or welfare issues. Should you need to speak to them, you can do so between 9am and 11.30am on Thursday 24 December, and then between 10am and 3pm on Tuesday 29, Wednesday 30 or Thursday 31 December. Enquiries made outside of this time will be responded to once we reopen in January.