HEREFORD'S panto celebrations got underway early when a party was held for some of the cast to meet their young fans.

Cargill organised the event ahead of this year’s Sleeping Beauty Panto at The Courtyard as part of the poultry giant's sponsorship package of the traditional show.

The Dame and Princess Melody came to entertain the children at Lollipops Nursery but instead found themselves entertained by seven infants singing “Winding-Up the Bobbin”.

Sue Podmore, from the Newtown Road nursery, said: “It’s been a lovely outing for the children from Lollipops Nursery. Julie Marquardt from Cargill had decorated the room beautifully and the children were delighted to sing them all a song.”

Cargill is the main sponsor of the Pantomime for the 8th Year running, and launches its competition for children to decorate a crown.

Mary Thompson said “We know that both our employees and our community love the annual Courtyard Panto, and so we are pleased to support the Arts again this year with our sponsorship of this much loved family event.”

The competition is open to children under 13 years of age and application forms can be obtained from The winners for each age category win a family ticket to the Pantomime Performance on 25th November and a back stage tour.