Belfast Telegraph

On the grapevine - November 24

NORTH BELFAST

Ex-soldiers to boost front line morale

Northern Ireland soldiers serving in Afghanistan are to get a New Year boost with help from ex-servicemen at home.

Supporters in Whiteabbey Royal British Legion are running a weekend charity fundraiser to get as much cash together as possible to fill bags of 'extras' that will go to front line troops serving in the Royal Irish Regiment and Irish Guards in Afghanistan.

Cabaret singers and a band are to perform free of charge on Friday night November 26, so that all the ticket money can be used for the good cause.

Whiteabbey Royal British Legion Vice Chairman, said: “We intend to work closely with the relatives of our soldiers in order to directly target the ordinary troops. Assuming sufficient funds are raised we will be filling bags with little luxury items, such as crisps and snacks, and a range of other useful 'shopping' and asking individual relatives to take advantage of the forces' own postal system to get the shopping delivered direct to their loved ones.”

Entry to Friday evening's event at Whiteabbey Royal British Legion, Shore Road, Whiteabbey, will be £3 and all proceeds will be used to buy the treats and extra comforts for the serving soldiers.

Magic christmas at the zoo

The weekends of December 4 and 5, 11 and 12 and 18 and 19 are your chance to enjoy some festive activities with a difference at Belfast Zoo.

Santa and his elves will drop in from the North Pole to deliver Christmas presents in their magical grotto and there will be a range of festive treats for all the family, including Christmas crafts, animal feeding times and a winter warmer quiz. Children can also wrap presents for the chimpanzees and gorillas before watching them tear into their Christmas treats!

If you want to visit Santa in his grotto, pre-booking is essential as there are limited places available. Tickets to meet Santa cost £6.50 per child and he will be available on the 4, 5, 11,12 and 18 and 19 December.

To book tickets call 028 9077 6277 ext 207 or visit www.belfastzoo.co.uk/events for more information. Activities start from 10.30am and last admission to the zoo is at 2.30pm. Normal zoo admission rates apply.

Cinderella panto

Shankill Players present Cinderella at St Matthew’s Parochial Hall (beside Shankill Graveyard), from Tuesday, December 7, until Friday, December 10, show starting at 7.30pm.

Shankill Players reach a landmark this year when they present the fifth annual pantomime, the much-loved Cinderella. This new version of the show, presented in the way only Shankill Players can, promises to be full of fun, laughter, song and dance.

Shankill Players have continued to grow over the years and are proud to announce that they “are putting their all into making this the best pantomime they have ever produced”.

Tickets are priced at £5 adult, £3 concession, £12 family ticket (four people). Special rates are available on request for groups of 10 or more. With pre-bookings already made, this promises to be Shankill Players most popular pantomime ever. Why go to a city centre venue and pay upwards of £70 for a family of four when you can see a local show by local people?

The players usually do a charity collection at the end of the show. This year, 20% of ticket money will be donated to FASA for suicide awareness.

You can book your tickets using the contact us link at the website www.shankillplayers.com, by joining their Facebook page and leaving a message, or by phone on 90581829 (leave a message and someone will get back to you).

NEWTOWNABBEY

Children’s reading group

Eight to 11-year-olds are encouraged to come along to Glengormley Library’s Reading Group on the last Monday of every month at 4pm.

The group is free to join, lasts for an hour and provides an opportunity for young people to meet new friends and read and chat about books.

Branch manager Rosemary Hope said: “The aim of the children’s reading group is to develop and encourage an interest in reading and to boost confidence so that children can talk about the books they enjoy and even the ones they don’t.”

For more details about the reading group telephone 028 9083 3797 or email glengormley.library@librariesni.org.uk.|

EAST BELFAST

Santa claus are coming to town

On Sunday December 5, national charity, the Meningitis Trust, is holding its 5K Santa Stroll around Stormont’s gorgeous grounds and is calling for festive fun-lovers to join in the fun by dressing up (the Santa suits are free once people have registered).

The family friendly Santa Stroll was launched by BBC Radio Ulster’s Alan Simpson, who donned his Santa suit to help promote the event

The Santa Stroll starts at 11am at Stormont. Registration is open now for the event – call 0845 120 0663 or email kellys@meningitis-trust.org. It costs £8 for adults and £5 for children. A family ticket (for 4 people – maximum of 2 adults) is £20.

The charity is asking everyone to try and raise as much sponsorship as possible – helping with it is vital

Streamvale christmas

Streamvale Farm’s Christmas Experience is a huge hit every year, with Santa drawing great crowds to his cosy cottage.

The fun starts with a ride in the big Tractor and Trailer, when an elf tells an exciting story about Santa and Rudolph. We then head off on a walk through the trees to find our deer and follow on up past the life size nativity scene and round the farmyard with its Christmas animals. We all go into the Santa Barn to make reindeer food to take home for Christmas Eve and then pop in to see Santa in his cosy cottage and get your pressie!

It is a fully guided tour and lasts one hour.

You need to wrap up warm and don't forget to bring your camera for lots of wonderful memories.

Streamvale Farm, at 38 Ballyhanwood Road, Dundonald, is open from December 1-23 for groups and parties. Family bookings are the first two weekends and then from December 17- 23 from 2-7pm.

Adults - £6, children £9. For details call 9048 3244.

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