Seil lights up for garden panto

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When Covid meant curtains for this year’s official panto on Seil, islanders pulled together to put on a show out of the ordinary – and outdoors.

With help from the drama group and its wardrobe, a plot was improvised by fun-loving volunteers to transform the stunning garden at An Cala in Ellenabeich into an open air theatre, lit by twinkling fairy lights and lanterns.

To keep everyone safe under Covid guidelines, children and their families on Seil, Easdale and Luing were invited on Facebook to book a time slot and visit the Cinderella Glow Trail.

Cinderella and her Prince Charming was played by Daisy Dugdale and her mum Wendy who runs Balvicar shop.
Boo for the wicked stepmother. Hoorah for Jan Fraser who played her part well. Photograph: Lauren Fair of Ljfphotography
Ugly Sisters were Mary Freer and Alastair Robertson.
Rachel Smith was Cinderella in rags. Photograph: Lauren Fair of Ljfphotography
Jacqueline Carter-Brown was purrfect for the role of naughty cat, perched up in a tree. Photograph: Lauren Fair of Ljfphotography
Jan Wolfe was under cover as Daisy The Cow. Photograph: Lauren Fair of Ljfphotography
Kathie Griffiths was forever blowing bubbles as guardian of An Cala’s waterfall.
Photograph: Lauren Fair of Ljfphotography
Alastair Mill was Buttons. Photograph: Lauren Fair of Ljfphotography
Claudie Layden was magic as the Fairy Godmother. Photograph: Lauren Fair of Ljfphotography
Even a white rabbit, alias Chris Bennett, hopped into the storyline. Photograph: Lauren Fair of Ljfphotography

A shout out for donations of festive lights soon saw the stunning grounds festooned with colour and hand-painted glow in the dark stars and shells hanging from the trees.

Armed with torches, families followed a light trail down the garden’s paths, over bridges and passing a waterfall meeting characters from the fairy tale on their way round ending up at a firepit for toasted marshmallows.

From Cinderella in her rags, to the bickering Ugly Sisters and the Fairy Godmother who finally saved the day, the panto tale was brought to life in fun-sized social distanced chunks.

Glow trail organiser Rachel Smith said: ‘I’m so proud of our wee community for bringing some panto magic to life for our islands’ children. The beautiful An Cala was lit up and populated with wonderful characters to tell the story of Cinderella, socially distanced. It started as an idea swimming in the sea with a friend and ended as a  wonderful magical night – even the stars came out for us. I love it when a plan comes together. There’s too many people to thank for making it possible but they all know who they are.’

Oban photographer Lauren Fair of Ljfphotography at also volunteered her time to take photographs of the event for Seil to have as a keepsake and firefighter Chris Thompson organised the firepit.

A bucket for donations from the free event made more than £80 for playgroup funds.