A young performer has been supported by the Chloe & Liam Together Forever Trust to enable him to take part in The Customs House Summer School.

Ten-year-old Francisco Diego Benicio Sousa, who came to South Shields from Portugal with his mother when he was four, heard about the Summer School from his teacher at SS Peter and Paul RC Primary School.

He enjoys singing in choirs both at the school and St Peter and St Paul RC Church, both in Tyne Dock, South Shields, and has performed in several school plays – although he dreams of becoming a footballer when he grows up.

Francisco’s place at The Customs House Summer School has been funded by the Chloe & Liam Together Forever Trust, set up in memory of keen performer Chloe Rutherford, 17, and sportsman Liam Curry, 19.

The South Shields couple were killed in the bomb attack at Manchester Arena in May 2017 and their families set up the charity to keep their memory alive by supporting young people pursuing the same dreams as they did in sport and the arts.

Chloe’s mum, Lisa, said: “Having recently seen Francisco perform and due to all the love and support the Chloe & Liam Together Forever Trust is continuing to receive, we as a charity are thrilled to be able to give him this amazing experience.”

The Customs House Summer School, which includes a cast of 35 children and young people from South Tyneside and the surrounding area, is performing the musical comedy The Addams Family this year and Francisco is part of the ensemble.

He said: “I was told about the Summer School by my teacher and I was very excited, but I didn’t know there was going to be so many children involved. That was a big surprise, but I am making a lot of friends.

“I am playing a zombie and although I don’t have any lines – because zombies don’t talk – I have been practising some moves and walking like a zombie.”

The Customs House Summer School takes place during the first three weeks of the school summer holidays, with daily rehearsals culminating in several performances of the show over a number of days.

Previous shows have included last year’s award-winning Legally Blonde: The Musical, Bring It On, Annie and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

The Addams Family will be performed at 7pm on Friday, August 10, and 2pm and 6pm on Saturday, August 11 and Sunday, August 12.

Tickets, priced £10, are available from the box office on (0191) 454 1234 or online at

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