The Wokingham Paper - - FRONT PAGE -

HE’S FA­MOUS for be­ing one of the most ver­sa­tile ac­tors in the busi­ness, turn­ing his hand to ev­ery­thing from com­edy to pe­riod drama.

But he’s also a pas­sion­ate sup­porter of our four-legged friends and on Mon­day night he proved.

Peter Egan hosted a spe­cial char­ity night at The Mill at Son­ning in aid of An­i­mals Asia. His favourite char­ity aims to end an­i­mal cru­elty in Asia.

Founded 20 years ago, it works to end the bear bile trade and lob­bies gov­ern­ments in China and Viet­nam to end the trade in cats and dogs for food.

It also wants to end abu­sive an­i­mal prac­tices in zoos and sa­fari parks.

Mon­day night’s char­ity event was hosted Mr Egan, fa­mous for his role as Hugh ‘Shrimpie’ MacClare, Mar­quess of Flintshire in Down­ton Abbey and Paul

Ru­man in Ever De­creas­ing Cir­cles.

The evening also fea­tured ap­pear­ances by mu­si­cian Rick Wake­man and fel­low Down­ton star Les­ley Ni­col.

Peter writes:

“I’ve had a long as­so­ci­a­tion with the beau­ti­ful Mill at Son­ning go­ing back to its be­gin­ning in early 1980, when it was con­verted from the last work­ing mill in the UK into a res­tau­rant theatre. It is a beau­ti­ful build­ing in a mag­nif­i­cent set­ting and is su­perbly run by the CEO and owner Sally Hughes and her ter­rific team.

“On Mon­day, Novem­ber 5, I pre­sented our an­nual event there for my favourite char­ity An­i­mals Asia. Sally very kindly hosts the evening for us.

“This is the third event I’ve done there with the bril­liant Rick Wake­man.

“Their new head chef Kieron Daniels de­signed a spe­cial menu for us: a choice of de­li­cious veg­e­tar­ian or ve­gan food in the newly con­verted din­ing room. The din­ing room has re­cently been taken back to what is was like when I first saw it 40 years ago: lots of ex­posed wood and chunky wooden beams.

“I love the theatre at The

Mill. A semi-cir­cu­lar de­sign the shape of a slice of lemon. It cre­ates the per­fect space for both per­form­ers and au­di­ence. From an au­di­ence per­spec­tive you feel like you are sit­ting in a room with the per­former and, from the per­form­ers point of view you feel ex­actly the same.

“A bit like you’ve invit­ing a cou­ple of hun­dred peo­ple into your very large liv­ing room for a good night out.

“We shared the space last night with the cur­rent play A Night in Provence so there was a hol­i­day at­mos­phere from the start.

“I was joined by the won­der­ful Les­ley Ni­col, the bril­liant Mrs Pat­more in Down­ton Abbey, and the ge­nius piano and key­board player Rick Wake­man.

“We are all UK am­bas­sadors for An­i­mals Asia and are de­voted to res­cu­ing Moon Bears f rom the bile farms in China and Viet­nam.

“Our other col­league, who pro­vided the most amaz­ing jug­gling act, was the in­domitable Steve Rawl­ings who had the au­di­ence both in stitches and on the edge of theirs seats with his bril­liant jug­gling and hys­ter­i­cal pat­ter.

“It was a sen­sa­tional evening all round in one of my favourite venues, The Mill at Son­ning.

“If you haven’t al­ready, it’s a place you must visit and if you’ve never heard of An­i­mals

Asia, please visit them at www. an­i­mal­sa­ – I promi se you won’t re­gret do­ing both.”

Les­ley Ni­col, Rick Wake­man, Peter Egan and Steve Rawl­ings pre­sented a spe­cial char­ity evening for An­i­mals Asia at The Mill at Son­ning

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