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  1. ITV Report

Cast gives money to community that created Billy

Lee Hall (front left) and Hayden May, who plays Billy (centre) present a cheque to Malcolm Farrow (right) of the East Durham Trust Photo:

The writer of Billy Elliot and actors in the touring production of Billy Elliot the Musical have presented a cheque for £59,438 to the East Durham Trust - a charity which operates in a former coal mining community like the one depicted in the film.

The presentation, led by the writer Lee Wright, took place at the Easington Social Welfare Centre, formerly the Easington Colliery Miners’ Institute, which is in the heart of the former Durham coalfield and was a key location in the 1984/85 miners’ strike.

The East Durham Trust was founded to to counteract the effects of social and economic deprivation in the area through a range of practical, community based programmes. It also works to give local people access to arts and cultural activities.

The money donated was collected from ticket sales of the final performance of Billy Elliot the Musical in London, which closed on Saturday April 9th at the Victoria Palace Theatre, after 11 years and 4,600 performances. Donations were also made by London patrons at bucket collections held at the theatre throughout the show’s final week

Set in a County Durham mining town, against the background of the 1984/85 miners’ strike, Billy’s journey takes him out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class where he discovers a passion for dance that inspires his family and whole community and changes his life forever.

We are absolutely blown away by this fantastic gesture. The money will mean that vital support services for people in disadvantaged communities across the former East Durham Coalfield can continue and help more people. This isn't just about the money it's also the message of solidarity and support that comes with it.

– Malcom Fallow, CEO, East Durham Trust

Billy Elliot the Musical is playing at the Sunderland Empire until April 30, before continuing to Bradford, Cardiff, Dublin, Edinburgh, Bristol, Manchester, Southampton and Birmingham.