SPONGEBOB Squarepants and Britain’s Got Talent winners Ashleigh and Pudsey brought smiles to children’s faces at a very special party.
The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party is held every year at the Marriott Hotel in Portsmouth for children suffering from long-term and serious illnesses.
And Ashleigh Butler and her dancing dog Pudsey were the surprise guests for the day as they performed their version of Psy’s Gangnam Style to a crowd of delighted children. Youngsters then had the chance to meet the pair afterwards.
Ashleigh said: ‘It’s such a great honour and such a great cause to be here for today. Everybody is really getting involved and everyone looks like they are having great fun.
‘We always try and do as much charity work as possible.
‘Pudsey always loves a big crowd and everybody seemed to enjoy us and he absolutely loved it.’
Fictional characters Peppa Pig, Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh were also there to entertain the youngsters.
And celebrities included Linvoy Primus, Alan Knight, Pompey captain Johnny Ertl and television personality Fred Dinenage. Lisa Deakin brought along her six-year-old son Samuel Deakin-Mant, who suffers from cerebral palsy. It’s their second time at the party.
Lisa, 43, from St Matthew’s Road in Cosham, said: ‘It’s absolutely fantastic. Every character you can think of is here. It’s the best kids party I have ever been to.
‘This isn’t about being disabled, this is about having fun.’
Lance Jones, 35, from Paulsgrove brought along his three boys – Harry, Jacob and Albert. Both Harry, six, and Albert, 18 months, suffer from Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
He said: ‘It’s nice for the children. It’s very important. There are children with all sorts of different conditions here. They have very different challenges. It’s nice to do something just for them.’
Organiser Malcolm Drew said: ‘It helps lift spirits. If a child is battling cancer they are in hospital and it’s such a dreadful illness.
‘It’s easy for them to get depressed. If they get something like this that lifts their spirits it just helps battle the illness.’