LAUGHTER, tears and even love can all be discovered at The Anvil.

As part of the Gazette’s series of looking at the 25-year history of Basingstoke’s esteemed concert hall, we asked our readers to tell us what their favourite memories of The Anvil have been down the years.

The stories received include family traditions, first experiences, lots of laughs and, for one happy couple, a marriage.

In last week’s article the Gazette looked at the famous faces who graced the Anvil stage, and for one reader it is their memory of seeing PJ and Duncan (now far better better known as Ant and Dec) at the town centre venue, which always brings a smile to her face.

Gemma Simpkins said: “I loved them so much, I even got Dec’s water bottle which he threw out into the crowd.”

For many families in and around the Basingstoke area, The Anvil pantomime is always a date marked in their calendar.

Sophia Cheatham started attending the pantomime when she was 12-years-old.

Now, aged 28, she has started her own tradition with her son to pass on the magic.

She said: “I can remember I was really excited because it was Cinderella, which was my favourite Disney film.

“From that point on we went every year as a family, and it was something that we always made a day off for as my sister now lives in Oxford.”

She added: “Last year we introduced the pantomime to a new generation as my three-year-old son came with us for the first time and he absolutely loved it.”

It is not just in the audience at The Anvil where memories are made.

For freelance stage manager Kate Stones, The Anvil would be the location where she would meet the man who was to become her husband.

She said: “In November 2001, I was to be deputy stage manager on Mother Goose, starring Keith Chegwin.

“Jamie (Stones) was working full time at The Anvil as the sound engineer. Over the course of rehearsals and performances, we hooked up. The panto season finished, I left to start my next job in the West End, and Jamie and I drifted apart.

“During the next 15 years we always kept in touch and remained friends. After coming out of a long-term relationship, Jamie and I started chatting again. We met for a drink in London on July 16, 2016 and the rest is history.

“I moved from London down to Basingstoke in July 2017. We bought our first house together in August 2018 and got married a few weeks later in September 2018, almost 17 years after first meeting. So the Anvil has a special place in our hearts, and a lot to answer for.”