New Brighton’s much-loved show kids’ show Joytime is back for summer – with a new campaign called £2kfor20, raising money for local community groups and grassroots charities.
2023 marks 70 years since the show started, led by local residents Aunty Dorothy and Uncle Norman, who pioneered what’s become the longest-running children’s show of its kind.
Thousands of children – including names like Keith Chegwin, Janice Long and Sonia – have sung and danced on the Joytime stage, now a fixture in Vale Park’s bandstand.
Aaron Hayes, who runs Joytime, is celebrating his 20th anniversary – with the help of giant mascot Crackers the cat. The show runs through the summer holiday, plus special nights for occasions like Hallowe’en.
While Joytime has moved with the times, and today’s performers are more likely to be learning a TikTok dance than singing a song, it’s a Wirral rite of passage, with almost 7,000 Facebook followers in the community.
Aaron’s been doing it for long enough to see some of his original performers returning with their own kids: “It’s a real legacy,” he says. “I think it’s matured over time, but everyone’s got a story about it.
"Doing something where people have a chance to create their own memories is essential.
"We know times are hard, but we can give a family of four somewhere to go for £4 for the day, and sit in the sunshine in a gorgeous park.
"We’re giving back.”