Stars of stage and screen help raise £40,000 at gala in Bury in aid of new arts fund

L to r:  Timothy West;  Prunella Scales;  Tim Holder, Director Suffolk Community Foundation;  Judith Shallow, High Sheriff of Suffolk;  Karen Simpson, Director of Theatre Royal;  and Royal Ballet stars Mara Galeazzi and Gary Avis ANL-150930-105357001
L to r: Timothy West; Prunella Scales; Tim Holder, Director Suffolk Community Foundation; Judith Shallow, High Sheriff of Suffolk; Karen Simpson, Director of Theatre Royal; and Royal Ballet stars Mara Galeazzi and Gary Avis ANL-150930-105357001
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Stars of the stage and screen helped raise £40,000 at a glittering gala performance in Bury St Edmunds in aid of a new ‘Arts and Culture Fund for Suffolk’.

Actors Timothy West and Prunella Scales as well as Royal Ballet stars Mara Galeazzi and Gary Avis were among the big names at the High Sheriff of Suffolk’s Command Performance at the Theatre Royal to support the launch of the Fund.

Six-year-old Iris Suckling presents bouquet to Mary Galeazzi of the Royal Ballet at the High Sheriff's Command Performance ANL-150930-120920001

Six-year-old Iris Suckling presents bouquet to Mary Galeazzi of the Royal Ballet at the High Sheriff's Command Performance ANL-150930-120920001

It has been spearheaded by High Sheriff Judith Shallow to provide grants towards nurturing, educating, initiating and empowering the outreach endeavours of Suffolk community arts organisations.

Mrs Shallow, a patron of the theatre and the Suffolk Community Foundation, said: “This will help to enable access to the performing arts for deprived and under-privileged young people, vulnerable adults, carers, former offenders and encourage the very many initiatives that make a real difference to ordinary people’s lives.”

The gala included a moving film and performance by Music in Our Bones - a community choir of carers and those they care for. There were performers from the world of opera, dance, drama and comedy, the CAT group from DanceEast and students from Conservatoire East.

Members of the Conservatoire East at West Suffolk College singing 'Do you hear the people sing' from Les Miserables, part of the finale of the High Sheriff's Command Performance.   (pic by Tony Kelly) ANL-150930-120931001

Members of the Conservatoire East at West Suffolk College singing 'Do you hear the people sing' from Les Miserables, part of the finale of the High Sheriff's Command Performance. (pic by Tony Kelly) ANL-150930-120931001