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It’s a Virgin panto…oh no it’s not!

Actually it’s the third year running that Virgin has put on a Christmas panto for charity, and this year it was worthy of the West End…or it that Southend?

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Ah we jest!

It was a belly laughing, rip roaring, side splitting thirty minutes of hilarity all courtesy of the staff at Virgin.

Katie Squires as Virginia Atlantic and Luke Day as Buttons

Whilst many of the jokes were very much internal airline jokes they took nothing away from the enjoyment of the performance.

Don Langford as Ronald Flump and Nigel Offord as Bee A

Even senior management came onboard with an appearance as well from the CEO just before he retires.

CEO Craig Kreeger as Prince Charming

With all the usual motley crew you would imagine in a panto the Virgin ‘guys and gals’ certainly knew how to create a fabulous atmosphere.

Pat Dunning as Aira France and Teja Bains as KayLM

What better way could they have to raise money and give only the best entertainment you would expect from Virgin?

Jayne Roscoe as Fairy Godmother – Fairee Nuff

Alas though this isn’t a show you can get tickets for.  The only two performance played to packed audiences, but perhaps next year they can be persuaded to extend the run and maybe, just maybe allow some outsiders in?

For every company Christmas is a time when they like to show the festive spirit in different ways and this panto doesn’t just give laughs while raising money it shows that they actually think deeply about the culture and family that is Virgin.

(R-L) Lisa Redfern and Sally Williams

Lisa Redfern and Sally Williams who are both recruitment advisors at Virgin organised and wrote the panto.

They said:

“The panto came from the people team as an idea for charity.

It’s the third year now, the biggest fund raiser and it makes a lot of people laugh and brings them all together.

We did auditions the first year but now when we write the script we have people in mind for the parts and we are very lucky that people are willing to take part from the people team and some from the leadership.”

Justine Mercer as Ness/Daves Coaches

I’m not going to lie but if you ever needed a more convincing example of how much fun it is to work at this organisation then just take a good look through these photos.

Pat Dunning, Magen Gamble, Katie Squires and Teja Bains.

What better way could you start the final week before Christmas?

Well done to all!

Business

More business rates to be kept local and pay for gigabit broadband

A successful bid to keep more business rates in West Sussex, supported by Crawley Borough Council, will enable residents and businesses to access gigabit broadband.

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The bid, to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, to keep 75 per cent of business rates collected in West Sussex – instead of the current 50 per cent – was one of 15 successful applications out of 35 nationwide. This means that there will be an additional £19.1m retained in the county annually from 2019/20. However, this will be spent on improving digital infrastructure as we are unable to use it to help with Crawley Borough Council’s financial challenges.

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of Crawley Borough Council, said:

“This is good news for the digital infrastructure of the county and, once complete, the ‘spine’ will enable residents and businesses to connect to a full fibre network.

“Crawley has the biggest economy in the county and must benefit from this successful bid. However, this money is not extra for individual local authorities and will have very little impact on our finances, which are getting more challenging every year. Much is made of announcements like this but it will have no impact whatsoever on council finance or the services we provide.”

A digital ‘spine’ will be created alongside railway lines, to avoid digging up roads. A full fibre network will be laid from which residents and businesses can access gigabit broadband.

The spine will accelerate investment in and deployment of further new digital infrastructure by reducing barriers to investment in full fibre access networks and new wireless technologies.

The network will run along the Arun Valley railway line, from Ford to Three Bridges, the Brighton Mainline from Three Bridges to Brighton, and a coastal route from Brighton to Ford.

Crawley is the economic powerhouse of West Sussex. The town occupies just two per cent of the land but collects around 35 per cent of the county’s business rates. The town generates more than £120m in business rates each year but keeps only £6m; 10 per cent goes to West Sussex County Council and the rest currently goes to central government for redistribution.

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