BOLTON’S festive pantomime has raised almost £4,000 for Bolton Hospice.

The Albert Halls production of Jack and the Beanstalk, which starred Crackerjack legend Stu Francis and Waterloo Road’s Ben Ryan Davies, ran from November 30 until January 5, and as well as providing the festive family entertainment it collected money from the audience to donate to a good cause.

In total, the fundraiser reached £3,925, with £3,725 of that going to the hospice to provide palliative care services to people facing cancer and other life-limiting illnesses.

The remaining £200 has been donated to Queensdeans in Blackpool, which helps good causes on the Fylde coast.

A hospice representative went along to accept the cheque from Stu, panto producer Duggie Chapman and Albert Halls business development manager, Chris Cordingley.

Stu said: “After such an excellent season it’s the icing on the cake that we have helped to raise so much for the hospice — and it’s all down to the generosity of the people of Bolton and the surrounding areas.”

Stephanie Lacaille, community fundraiser at the hospice, added: “When I was called and told the amount I was gobsmacked.

“Every penny will go to help local people with life limiting illnesses.

“We would like to the team for their continued support as well as all the people who so generously donated money.”

Duggie Chapman said: “We are so happy with the amount of money that people have so generously donated at the panto.

“I can’t believe that in a recession people have found the money to be so generous — some people put £5 and £10 notes into the buckets.

“Last year we raised about £3,000 so we’re up quite a lot on that this year.

“I hope that the money will help the hospice provide the great service and support to those who need it.”