A laugh a day keeps the doctor away

The Laughter Specialists who bring a smile to poorly children. Photo: CONTRIBUTED.

The Laughter Specialists who bring a smile to poorly children. Photo: CONTRIBUTED. - Credit: Archant

Laughter is the best medicine for a comedy charity that gives playful performances for unwell children.

And now the troupe has received a £315 donation from Cambridge Arts Theatre.

This is part of the £18,000 that theatre audiences gave in collections during the month-long run of the pantomine Cinderella.

The Laughter Specialists, a Saffron Walden-based group with four entertainers, makes more than 30 visits a month to around 15 hospitals and special needs schools across the district with the simple aim of making children smile.

Co-founder Annis Aris, 48, stage name, Calamity, co-founded the charity in 2008. She said: "Laughter makes you feel so much better - we all feel better when we're laughing.

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"We're honoured to be chosen as one of the Cambridge Arts Theatre's charities. Every donation will go towards our projects, the props, and the prizes we give to kids."

Ms Aris works with colleagues Timmy Tickle, Potty Patrick and Smelly Ellie.

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"You go along with your bag of tricks, squeakers and all, and before you know it you've made their day," Ms Aris said.

"If a child is coming in for a procedure in hospital, we can be part of the distraction before they go into the nurse's room, taking the anxiety away."

"In schools, we have a theme like jobs or holidays and we teach the students in a fun and silly way, which helps them to enjoy learning,"

Seven other charities will receive donations from the Cambridge Arts Theatre, including Macmillan Cambridge and the Royal Society for Blind Children. Kat Collins from Cambridge Arts Theatre said: "We are all delighted with the amount of money our audiences have raised this year, particularly as funds managed to surpass last year's total by £3,000.

"The selected charities will benefit immensely and are extremely grateful of our audiences' generosity; from the theatre staff and the Cinderella company, we extend a huge thank you to everyone who donated across the pantomime season."

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