Children treated to a special summer panto treat... in hospital

SMILES Michael Ferguson who played Aladdin and Tami Stone who was Jasmine with Danni-Mai Read, three
SMILES Michael Ferguson who played Aladdin and Tami Stone who was Jasmine with Danni-Mai Read, three
Gok Wan and musical stars  at Live at the London Cabaret Club

Charity cabaret event given the star treatment

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POORLY children stuck in hospital this summer were treated to some panto fun to help put a smile on their faces.

A crowd of youngsters on the paediatric ward at Queen Alexandra Hospital enjoyed a lively performance of Aladdin yesterday.

The children, their parents and staff, clapped and cheered as the famous Disney character put on a magnificent performance.

Among the crowd was three-year-old Danni-Mai Read.

The youngster from Hillsley Road, Paulsgrove, has been in hospital for three weeks after breaking her thigh bone while on a trampoline.

She was able to watch the panto performance from the comfort of her bed.

Mum Karren, 33, said: ‘The pantomime was really good, she really enjoyed it. All day she’d been saying “is it time yet?”.

‘She loves Aladdin and has been watching it while she’s been in hospital. It’s a lovely thing them putting on this panto for the children. It gives them something to look forward to.’

Also among the crowd was 14-month-old Jude Allen and his mother Kellie from Purbrook.

The youngster, who has been in and out of hospital for most of his life with digestive problems, danced along to songs during the pantomime.

His mother said: ‘He absolutely loved it, he was clapping away.

‘It’s great they put on these pantos for the kids. It’s a nice treat for them.’

The panto was organised by children’s charity Starlight – which grants once-in-a-lifetime wishes for seriously and terminally ill children – and was performed by theatre group The Panto Company.

Claire Farr, who played Widow Twankey and is the theatre company’s tour manager, said: ‘It’s been wonderful putting on the performance for the children.

‘Some of these children are stuck in hospital all over summer so just to bring a smile to their face is so worth while.’

Some of the youngsters, who were aged between one and 15 years old, were part-way through a stay on the paediatric ward, while others were awaiting operations.

Anne Ricketts, the play specialist for the children’s unit, said: ‘Being able to watch this panto gives the children something to do and look forward to. And for those who are waiting for operations, it takes their minds off it.

‘This is like a little summer treat for them.’