MORE than £5,500 has been raised for two cancer charities after a popular music concert returned to Helensburgh.

The latest Matinee at the Musicals event, held on Sunday, February 24, has been hailed as a huge success and proved even bigger and better than the inaugural event last year, which raised more than £4,000 for the Beatson Cancer Charity and Myeloma UK.

After two sell-out performances, afternoon and evening, organiser Donna Hicks was delighted with the fund-raising total and was pleasantly surprised when members of the Tower Digital Arts Centre – which hosted the shows – decided to kindly waive their share and donate the money to the charities instead.

Donna, who was diagnosed with myeloma - an incurable bone marrow cancer - in 2014, described the gesture as extremely generous and said she was very grateful.

Donna said: “My main reason for organising this event is to keep the memory of my mother, Nancy Straton, alive.

“She died of cancer in November 2014. Two weeks after her diagnosis, I was diagnosed with myeloma.

“I can no longer work so I’ve been involved in fund-raising for cancer charities since then.

“I attend the Beatson West of Scotland Oncology Centre every four weeks for treatment and my dad, Oliver Straton, is also a patient at the Beatson. He’s currently under-going chemotherapy for oesophageal cancer.”

Twenty-two children, 21 adults and, in the evening performance, 27 dancers from Urbaniks Street Skool of Dance, took part in the extravaganza, performing songs from musicals such as Little Shop of Horrors, Wicked, The Greatest Showman, Oliver and Matilda.

Feedback from audience members was overwhelmingly positive and the show’s finale, with Kirsty McLaren singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow with images of loved ones who have passed away from cancer being projected onto the cinema screen, was extremely moving.

Donna herself even got up on stage to sing Sunshine on Leith, and she is already looking ahead to the next instalment.

She added: “This event was a true team effort and wouldn’t have been possible without the fabulous cast, Andrew Turnbull who assisted with the multi-media presentation, Pamela Frew our musical director, Paul and Pauline Joseph of Urbaniks, and Clair Lang, Brian Keating and the wonderful volunteers at The Tower.

“Next year’s event is already in the calendar for Sunday, February 23 2020.”