Caring Russell puts on theatre show for charity

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HE has fame and fortune but star Russell Brand has not forgotten his past, nor those who saved him from his drugs despair.

Chips Somers, who runs drugs rehabilitation charity Focus12, said he thought Russell, a patron, was merely down to keep in touch and see how the charity was doing.

Peter Webb and Russell Brand

Peter Webb and Russell Brand

But the Hollywood star had a fund-raising idea up his sleeve and was getting his agent to secretly call the town’s Theatre Royal to arrange a surprise show.

“It is really fantastic that he is prepared to spontaneously try to find a location where he can do a fund-raiser and pull together all the arrangements within 48 hours – and all for our benefit,” said Chip.

“It is completely unexpected. We were merely expecting him up here for a few days to keep in contact as our patron.”

Chris Grady, a spokesman for the Theatre Royal, said: “We got a phone call from his agent last week to see if we had a date available then for him to come along and perform, but we had nothing available.

Ella Sullivan and friends with Russell Brand

Ella Sullivan and friends with Russell Brand

“Then his agent rang on Monday – initially he wanted to perform that night but we couldn’t fit that in and so we offered him Wednesday.

“Normally, we do plan these things a bit further in advance.

“That said, we are delighted to be able to welcome him.”

Despite the short notice, tickets, which cost £25 each, soon sold out, while Russell made a further 10 available for £100, offering the best seats plus a chance to meet him backstage afterwards.

“We are always delighted to see him and doubly pleased this time around,” said Chip.

He also revealed that Russell funds beds at Focus12 and also refers drugs addicts who cannot get funding for help.

“There is always someone in treatment here being funded by Russell,” he said.

Although Russell has been up to Bury many times before to visit Focus12, Chip said he believed it was the first time the star had gone on ‘walkabout’ around the town.

“He is one of those people that finds it difficult to walk around anywhere unnoticed

“But I think Bury is one town where he can do that in comparative ease,” Chip said.