THOUSANDS of pounds have been raised to fund pantomime visits for underprivileged children.

The Theatre Access Fund has seen £3,000 raised for children to attend the Princes Theatre pantomime thanks to bucket collections and online donations.

Mick Skeels, Tendring Council’s, councillor responsible for leisure and tourism, said: “I am proud of how generous the community had been.

“Taking children to the pantomime is one of the magical things about Christmas, and this money will help ensure as many children as possible get to enjoy the thrill of Peter Pan,”

The cash supports local children to watch the pantomime, which this year is Peter Pan, starring X Factor star Marcus Collins.

The Princes Theatre, run by the council, also offers discounted tickets for school trips to watch panto performances.

Mr Skeels added: “It is wonderful that so much money has been raised, and particularly at how much it has increased on previous years.

“But it should not be a surprise, we know how generous our community and theatre-goers are from previous years’ collections, and with a percentage of this year’s ticket sales going towards Great Ormond Street Hospital. I would urge people to continue to dig deep for this good cause at Christmas time and purchase tickets.”

Peter Pan, produced by Polka Dot Pantomimes, runs from December 8 until January 1.