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Pantomime set to be held in memory of man who devoted his life to helping others

PUBLISHED: 11:16 27 February 2018

The Onward Enterprises Panto rehearsal of Snow White at Harleston. The seven dwarfs, from left, Gabriel Allum-Sindall, Claire Sayer, Alison Gibbs, Jackie Atkins, Penny Kemp, Donna Simms, and Jenna Bellotti. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Onward Enterprises Panto rehearsal of Snow White at Harleston. The seven dwarfs, from left, Gabriel Allum-Sindall, Claire Sayer, Alison Gibbs, Jackie Atkins, Penny Kemp, Donna Simms, and Jenna Bellotti. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

Preparations are underway for a popular annual pantomime paying tribute to a man who dedicated his life to helping adults with learning difficulties.

The Onward Enterprises Panto rehearsal of Snow White at Harleston. Andrew Mayhew, bottom left, the King; Rachel Allum-Sindall, bottom right, the Mirror, managing director and producer; Amanda Jones, top left, forest fairy; and Steffan Baicin, goblin. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Onward Enterprises Panto rehearsal of Snow White at Harleston. Andrew Mayhew, bottom left, the King; Rachel Allum-Sindall, bottom right, the Mirror, managing director and producer; Amanda Jones, top left, forest fairy; and Steffan Baicin, goblin. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

For many people, panto season traditionally falls in December.

However for the staff, employees and volunteers at Onward Enterprises - a social enterprise giving people with learning disabilities a realistic working environment - their hard work is only just beginning.

Each year the organisation based in Harleston and Thetford puts on a show, which this year features a 70-strong cast and a even bigger army of volunteers.

This year’s performance of Snow White will be even more special as it will serve as a tribute to Onward Enterprises founder Peter Sindall, who died in December.

The Onward Enterprises Panto rehearsal of Snow White at Harleston. The Prince, Phil Giller, and Snow White, Laura Robson, who are engaged in real life. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Onward Enterprises Panto rehearsal of Snow White at Harleston. The Prince, Phil Giller, and Snow White, Laura Robson, who are engaged in real life. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mr Sindall became well-known throughout South Norfolk, first as manager of the Attleborough adult training centre and then as the founder of Onward Enterprises.

In nearly 50 years of working with adults with special needs - which resulted in him being made an MBE in 2008 - he earned the respect of families and the community for his “charismatic, enthusiastic, driven character”, which made a difference to a huge number of lives.

Rachel Allum-Sindall, Peter’s daughter, who has taken on the role of director and producer from her late father, said: “We weren’t sure if we were going to do a panto but it is so important to Onward Enterprises.

“We have a huge amount of support and I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone involved.

The Onward Enterprises Panto rehearsal of Snow White at Harleston. Andrew Mayhew, bottom left, the King; Rachel Allum-Sindall, bottom right, the Mirror, managing director and producer; Amanda Jones, top left, forest fairy; and Steffan Baicin, goblin. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Onward Enterprises Panto rehearsal of Snow White at Harleston. Andrew Mayhew, bottom left, the King; Rachel Allum-Sindall, bottom right, the Mirror, managing director and producer; Amanda Jones, top left, forest fairy; and Steffan Baicin, goblin. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“This is the first year I’ve been producer and director and everybody has been very understanding of me working in areas which were my father’s expertise.

“It’s a lot of work and long hours but the adrenaline gets you through.

“The panto shows what we can all achieve with hard work.”

Julie Harrop, manager of the Thetford branch of Onward Enterprises, added: “Every one of the pantos are special for us and for the people involved its a massive thing - but this year will be in Peter’s memory.”

The Onward Enterprises Panto rehearsal of Snow White at Harleston. The seven dwarfs, from left, Gabriel Allum-Sindall, Claire Sayer, Alison Gibbs, Jackie Atkins, Penny Kemp, Donna Simms, and Jenna Bellotti. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Onward Enterprises Panto rehearsal of Snow White at Harleston. The seven dwarfs, from left, Gabriel Allum-Sindall, Claire Sayer, Alison Gibbs, Jackie Atkins, Penny Kemp, Donna Simms, and Jenna Bellotti. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Snow White will be performed on Thursday, March 1, 2 and 3 at Archbishop Sancroft High School in Harleston.

Tickets are £7 and £9 and are available from the Onward Enterprises website.

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