Panto surprise as stars visit children’s ward

114389-325_QA_PANTO_VISIT_SR_14/12/11'Kings Theatre Panto stars visit the childrens wards at QA Hospital.'Buttons Stuart Wade, high fives Archie Holmes (6) from Gosport.''Picture:Steve Reid (114389-325)
114389-325_QA_PANTO_VISIT_SR_14/12/11'Kings Theatre Panto stars visit the childrens wards at QA Hospital.'Buttons Stuart Wade, high fives Archie Holmes (6) from Gosport.''Picture:Steve Reid (114389-325)

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POORLY children at Queen Alexandra Hospital got a great surprise when stars of a pantomime came to see them.

Patients in the Cosham hospital’s Shipwreck ward were visited by a prince, princess – and even an ugly sister.

Cast members from the Cinderella pantomime, which is showing at the Kings Theatre, in Albert Road, Southsea, popped in to say hello.

Emma Rowley, two, was brought to hospital after she developed a rash.

The youngster was over the moon when she was given a fluffy pink wand as an early Christmas present.

Her mum Rachel Rowley, 26, of Fairfield Avenue, Fareham, said: ‘It’s absolutely lovely for children to have this visit.

‘Doctors think she may have tonsillitis and so hopefully she won’t be in here much longer.

‘But the visit certainly gave all children a boost, and she’s thrilled to have got a little wand.’

Fellow youngster Lea Thorn, seven, was also happy to see the panto stars.

Parents Kelly and Ben Dawkins, of Epworth Road, Copnor, appreciated the surprise visit.

Kelly, 28, said: ‘Lea has come in to have the grommets in her ear checked.

‘Seeing the pantomime cast lifted her spirits.

‘It took her mind off why she was in hospital and was such a lovely surprise.

‘Visits like this make a distraction and will help her come in again.’

Ex-Hollyoaks star and Gosport-born Marcus Patrick, who is starring as the Prince, said: ‘Christmas is a time when people are with their family, and it’s a shame that some of these children might not get to be at home.

‘So we were excited to come and say hello and present them with gifts.’

During the visit, cast members handed out toys to children. They presented the ward six scooters, which were donated by online company Micro Scooters.

Stars of the panto also paid a surprise visit to the Rowans Hospice at Purbrook.

Sean Luckham, who plays ugly sister Daisy, said: ‘It was so much fun. Every moment is precious and we liked bringing happiness. People were happy and smiling and joking around with us – it was great.’