A dance group for recovering drug addicts was among the arts organizations celebrated in a unique evening of musical performances.
The National Lottery’s Big Night of Musicals, held at Manchester’s AO Arena on Monday and hosted by comedian Jason Manford, was held to thank National Lottery players who have helped arts groups and theatricals during the coronavirus pandemic with a total of £228million in funding.
The Fallen Angels charity, set up by Paul Bayes Kitcher and his wife Claire Morris, was among the organizations and community heroes invited to attend the evening as special guests.
The band was launched in 2010 after former Birmingham Royal Ballet dancer Mr Bayes Kitcher, 54, went into rehab to battle his addiction to alcohol and drugs.
He said: “It was a very dark time in my life and I felt like giving up.
“But, I ended up getting back into rehab and that’s when I finally managed to turn things around.
“I was determined.
“Today I look back on my life every day and think about how grateful I am.”
The charity, which is based in Chester, Cheshire, aims to provide dance theater experiences for people recovering from addiction.
During the pandemic, he was able to offer virtual sessions on dance and music thanks to funding from the National Lottery.
Mr Bayes Kitcher said: “Hopefully I was able to make an impact with daily virtual sessions, demonstrating how movement can really make a huge difference.”
Co-founder Ms Morris, 47, was in the audience during the Monday night show to enjoy performances from musicals such as Waitress, Frozen The Musical, Back To The Future and The Drifters Girl.
She said: “To be invited to be part of this spectacular evening, meeting Jason Manford and representing all of our wonderful dancers, creatives and Fallen Angels is very special.”
The National Lottery’s Big Night of Musicals airs on BBC One at 7pm on Saturday.