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Nazanin is focus of Belsize show as the jailed mum faces her second Christmas in Iran

PUBLISHED: 10:52 14 December 2017 | UPDATED: 11:29 14 December 2017

Belsize Xmas Carols 09.12.17. Children from Abacus School

Belsize Xmas Carols 09.12.17. Children from Abacus School

Archant

The plight of jailed West Hampstead mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was the central theme of the Belsize Christmas Show on Saturday which saw around 150 people gather around a stage set up outside Budgens, in Haverstock Hill.

They watched a moving production of the play ‘Looking for Mummy’ which tells the story of Nazanin who is serving a five-year sentence in an Iranian jail after being arrested last April at Tehran airport as she tried to return from a family holiday.

The event coincided with a visit to Iran by foreign secretary Boris Johnson where he met Nazanin’s family but returned without securing her release.

Nazanin’s husband Richard Ratcliffe, who has been campaigning tirelessly for her release, addressed the crowd and actress Dame Janet Suzman read a moving poem entitled “I will live and survive.”

Three children read a letter they had written to Gabriella, Nazanin’s daughter, who is trapped in Iran living with her grandparents.

Budgens owner Andrew Thornton, and new manager Daniel Frohwein sang ‘Let it Snow’ while showering revellers with fake snow from the stage.

Organiser Linda Grove said supporters who have been following the free Nazanin campaign from across London to join the event. She said: “The show went with a whizz with over 150 Belsizers watching the moving production of Looking for Mummy, by director Emi Howell.”

Efforts to raise funds to take ‘Looking for Mummy’ on tour across the UK are afoot, with campaigners already raising £100.

People interested in supporting them can donate through the Just Giving website: justgiving.com/crowdfunding/nazanins-story

National television cameras also filmed the event in the hope that news would come from Iran regarding Nazanin’s release.

Mrs Grove said: “Sadly the message that Nazanin had been released, didn’t come through. Let’s all continue to support this family.

She praised Dame Janet for being “was a real trooper surviving the cold after reading a poem in tribute to Nazanin,”

Members of the community came together to contribute to the show with Nicki Patel, from the BP Petrol station in Haverstock Hill, organising Bollywood dancers. There was also a performance from the Hampstead Community Choir.

Belsize’s conservative councillor Jonny Bucknell played Father Christmas with a sack of presents for children made by his fellow councillor Leila Roy.


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