Dames get their frocks on for charity dash in Hackney

People dressed in dame and pantomine costumes at Dame Dash

People dressed in dame and pantomine costumes at Dame Dash - Credit: Archant

Up to 100 people dressed in elaborate pantomime gear brought traffic in Hackney to a standstill on Sunday as they pounded the borough’s streets for charity.

The well-dressed dames and villains took to the streets for a one kilometre fun run to raise money for the Hackney Empire and St Joseph’s Hospice.

The inaugural Dame Dash raised in excess of £7,000 for the two well-loved Hackney institutions.

Anita Brien, a community fundraiser for St Joseph’s Hospice in Mare Street, Hackney, said it had been a “fabulous day”.

The 27-year-old continued: “Everybody got in the spirit of things. Because it was a really good day weather-wise, everything went well.”

The cast of Hackney Empire’s Christmas pantomime Puss in Boots officially started the dash outside St Joseph’s Hospice at 1pm. The route continued north up Mare Street before finishing at Hackney Empire where there was a family fun day including activities such as a tea dance, baby disco and drumming workshops.

Rachel Loppas, 45, a voluntary coordinator at the hospice, took part in the fun run with her five-year-old daughter Apollonia.

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She said: “It was a really great day. I dressed as a wicked step-mother and my daughter was a princess. It took us half an hour to do the run.

“My daughter loved it. It was the first thing she has done for charity.

“Overall, it was a nice community event and went so much better than we hoped. We were worried about the weather. We had to hold traffic up and people did not seem to mind. It was great helping the two local charities. They are two institutions and it was great doing something lovely for them.”

Rod Bentley, Hackney Empire’s finance director and the theatre’s official dame on the day, said: “I had a wonderful time. We startled quite a lot of people on Mare Street. It was nice to be able to do something frontline at the Empire. A lot of people don’t realise it’s a charity so it’s good to raise awareness. We hope to see a lot more people next year.” The money will be divided between the organisations to enable them to continue their work within the community.