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Big-hearted film fans have got it licked when it comes to raising money for charity.

Staff at the Odeon at the Eagles Meadow shopping centre in Wrexham handed out nearly 700 free cones of ice cream.

It was part of a charity initiative dreamt up by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, founders of the American-based ice-cream giants Ben and Jerry.

They have made the annual gesture since the company was launched in 1979 as a way of saying thank you to their customers.

At the Odeon, film-goers were asked for a charitable donation with the proceeds being split between the leading children’s charity, the NSPCC, and The Variety Club.

The Variety Club helps to give children an equal opportunity to reach their potential regardless of the personal circumstances.

It does this by providing wheelchairs and specialist medical equipment, supporting hospices and youth clubs and giving children cherished childhood memories.

The Odeon’s general manager, Kenny Kempster, said: “It’s a fantastic idea and this year we handed out 666 free scoops of ice-cream. Customers were able to choose one scoop of their personal favourite flavour.

“However, our customers are really generous and, despite the fact the ice creams scoops were free, they donated a total of £285 in support of the NSPCC and The Variety Club.”

He added: “All Odeon cinemas across the UK took part in the charity event with all raising funds for NSPCC and The Variety Club.

“In fact we know that, nationally, an amazing 65,000 scoops of ice cream were served up and that raised a wonderful £19,742 of cash for the charity. That’s just a fantastic amount.

“Our customers were brilliant and gave so generously. The response we had was first-class. I think people are genuinely happy to make a donation when they know it’s going to such a good cause.”

Eagles Meadow manager Kevin Critchley said: “The NSPCC and The Variety Club are wonderful charities and deserve all the support they receive from the Odeon Cinema’s initiative.

“For Odeon staff to raise so much at the Eagles Meadow cinema is a brilliant effort and I’m thrilled for them. Well done!”

For more information about what’s on at the Odeon Cinema, Eagles Meadow visit www.odeon.co.uk/cinemas/wrexham_eagles_meadow/173/ For more information about the Variety Club visit www.variety.org.uk and you can find out more about the NSPCC by going to  www.nspcc.org.uk

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