PANTO dame Widow Twankey is bringing smiles to the faces of thousands of theatre-goers.

The character from Aladdin has also helped bring festive cheer to the region's less fortunate people. The dame, alias actor Kevin O'Keefe, who is performing in Aladdin at the Newcastle Opera House, made a one-minute trolley dash around the North Eastern Co-op store in Newcastle. The event netted £200-worth of goodies for the Salvation Army's seasonal appeal.

A North Eastern Co-op spokesman said: "Each year the Salvation Army organises an appeal to help the needy in the region.

"The appeal is made possible thanks to donations of food, toys and clothes. North Eastern Co-op stores are acting as collection points for donations until Thursday, December 21.

"The Co-op's Priory Garage Group is also taking goods for the appeal.'