Jo Brand is one of the First Family Entertainment stars this year
Jo Brand is one of the First Family Entertainment stars this year

First Family Entertainment (FFE) and the Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) and have joined forces with the charity When You Wish Upon A Star to raise money during the panto season.

The charity is hoping to raise £65,000 to charter the Orient Express to take children suffering from life threatening illnesses on a "magical train ride" to visit The Making of Harry Potter at Warner Bros Studios in Hertfordshire.

FFE and ATG have pledged to donate 50p from every pantomime programme sold to the cause. ATG's theatres will also be fundraising through their Just Giving page during the panto season to help When You Wish Upon A Star reach their target.

Kevin Wood, FFE's chief executive, said: "We are thrilled to be supporting this wonderful charity. Pantomime and Christmas are both closely associated with children and can be very magical indeed when combined... We ask everyone who comes to our pantomimes this year to please help us spread some panto magic by giving generously to make this trip a reality."

Margaret Rowarth from When You Wish Upon A Star added: "The amazing people of Family First Entertainment and the Ambassador Theatre Group are working together to spread lots of ‘Fairy Dust', for many of our very special children. We are thrilled to have their support and in July 2014, they will turn the dreams of some very sick children, into a reality."

FFE are producing ten fun filled family pantomimes for the Christmas 2013/2014 season with a star-studded line up including Jo Brand, in her pantomime debut, and Matthew Kelly in Aladdin at the New Wimbledon Theatre.

Other stars treading the FFE boards this year include: Louie Spence (Bristol Hippodrome), Justin Fletcher (New Victoria Theatre Woking), Scottish comedienne Karen Dunbar (King's Theatre Glasgow), Warwick Davis (Milton Keynes Theatre), Jonathan Wilkes (Regent Theatre Stoke), Ray Quinn (Liverpool Empire), Henry ‘The Fonz' Winkler (Richmond Theatre), Anita Dobson (Aylesbury Waterside Theatre) and Britain's Got Talent winners Ashleigh and Pudsey and Jodie Prenger (Manchester Opera House).

For more info, visit our dedicated panto page.