Magalluf.—Nothing heralds the start of Majorca's summer season like the Pirates Celebrity Charity Premiere. Now in its ninth year, the Premiere as always drawn a packed house of the island's movers and shakers who dug deep into their pockets while soaking up the fun. Indeed Saturday's much anticipated glittering event defied economic tendencies to raise an impressive 45'000 euros for Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital and Majorca's own Support Charley campaign.

The event's poignant charm is built on the way in which it brings household-name celebrities together with seriously sick GOSH children and their families who have been directly helped by the charity. Seeing these spirited smiling children, ignoring tubes and ravages of illness; watched over by their devoted caring parents is simply humbling. Their resilience inspirational. It is their infectious excitement and joy that makes this event unique. Nevertheless, it is the celebrities that add the glamour. Due to filming schedules it is always difficult to know who is going to turn up until the very last minute. However, as usual Eastenders star Steve McFadden (Phil Mitchell) attended this year bringing with him close friends and colleagues Linda Henry (Shirley Carter) and Cheryl Fergison (the late Heather Trott). The “eye candy” arrived in the guise of two former Hollyoaks stars Leah Hackett (Tina Reilly) and Sinead Moyniham (Beth Clement).

All threw themselves into the spirit of the event and were deeply touched by the children. Particularly Cheryl Fergison who spent the entire auction puffing up and down the stage stairs being led by Majorca's energetic little 3 year-old Charley Ray Meyers, freshly returned from treatment at Great Ormond Street for his crippling currently incurable disease.

Despite its 27 years, the show itself shows no signs of aging, retaining its freshness and vibrancy from beginning to end. Most, like myself had seen Pirates many times; yet from the first moment all were gripped by its enormous vitality.

Brilliantly directed by Martyn Smith there is spectacular split second timing mingled with charming choreography by Elizabeth who ensures the dancers' ever changing style interprets the music to perfection. There were gasps as the team of award winning world championship athletes performed mind-boggling gymnastic feats with remarkable grace; and giggles at the ribald humour.

The first half sped by in 45 minutes, when it was time for the celebrities to take to the stage for the auction. Sporting a black lace mini-dress and sparkling silver shoes Linda Henry (Shirley) did a Cinderella, in her excitement losing a slipper on the steps.

They were joined by some of the children who ensured each item gained the maximum.
The bidding was fierce with most of the dozen items donated by the island's charitable raising between 2'500 to 2'750 euros. A magnificent holiday for two to Orlando made 3'200 euros while a luxury weekend yacht trip to Ibiza and Formentera fetched a hefty 4'000 euros.

There was a poignant toast for the legendry Jacques Sasson who passed in 2010.
Pirates was his brainchild. Indeed he had the courage to not only create this ambitious project that has delighted over 3 million people, but to step out of his comfort zone and produce Come Fly with Me, the spectacular show that is now dazzling audiences at the Globo Balear theatre.

His love of theatrical extravaganza together with his charitable works live on in the very capable hands of his daughter Catherine and her team who have just launched the new English radio station Radio One Mallorca.


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