On Friday evening 2nd November a near full house gathered at the Empire Theatre in Blackburn for the East Ribble District Charity Variety Show. The event, the brainchild of WBro David Lightbown who brought together the performers and organised the event. The evening saw a number of acts give brilliant displays of song, dance and comedy in the quaint surroundings of this well-loved local theatre.
The host for the evening was the very funny and engaging Keith Bradshaw who introduced the acts whilst entertaining the audience with his humorous banter and jokes. The first act he welcomed to the stage was the Bernese School of Theatre, Dance and Drama whose energetic street dance style enthralled the audience and made for an explosive way to start the proceedings. They were followed by singer Emily Herbert who performed three songs whilst being accompanied on the piano by her brother. Next on the bill was the grace and strength of the Moorland International Academy, performing their ballet routines. Their choreography would test the most professional of dancers, and they performed their routine flawlessly. It was then time from some comedy from Billy Bedlam who had gone down very well at last yearsevent. His mix of musical comedy and interaction with the audience had everyone rolling in theaisles. The first half of the bill was completed with a second routine from the Bernese dancers again.
Following an interval which gave the audience a chance to top up their drinks or sample pots of ice cream, Moorland International Academy kicked off the second half with another of their amazing routines. The second female singer of the evening then took to the stage, Stephanie Louise gave renditions of three of Whitney Houston’s hits, hitting the high notes perfectly! Terry Devon, the second comedian stumbled onto the stage and delivered a hilarious routine with his own material and by looking back on some of the comedy greats from the past. Terry was followed by talented male vocalist James Holt, grandson of David Lightbown, who had returned from a Summer working in America. He gave the audience three songs, one of which he had written and produced himself. Finally, the show ended with a final routine from the Bernese School who pulled out all the stops to close the show with a bang!
Host Keith Bradshaw brought all the performers back to the stage to the rousing applause of the audience, before introducing WBro David Lightbown who thanked everyone for their attendance and most importantly thanked the acts for a wonderful night of Variety. He reminded the audience that charity was the main aim and announced that over £2700 had been raised in support of good causes. Following which he introduced to the stage, RWBro Sir David Trippier the Provincial Grand Master and presented him with a cheque for £1000 for the ELMC. Sir David thanked David Lightbown and said what a wonderful evening he and Lady Trippier had enjoyed. He went on to make a presentation to David Lightbown on behalf of the District for his fantastic effort work in putting the event together. He had also been assisted with the line up by his Grandson James Holt, who also received a gift from the District from Sir David
Before everyone dispersed, the winning raffle tickets, sold throughout the evening by the East Ribble District Charity team. were announced. All of the Prizes were very kindly donated by The Lodge of Unity and Friendship No.8178 in Blackburn. They included amongst other great prizes, three wonderful Christmas Hampers, put together by Mrs Kristina Gill, whose husband WBro David Gill as well as being an 8178 Member, is part of the District Charity Stewards Team which includes Mike Stubbs and Malcolm Roe. They as always again worked hard in support this event along with the District Treasurer WBro Ian Johnson.
Prior to the show, WBro David Lightbown had made a cheque presentation to Bernese School of Dance for the sum of £150, this presentation can be seen in the montage of images.