Portsmouth panto stars brings ray of light to Queen Alexandra Hospital’s children wards

Sarah-Jane Price, who plays Jill in the Groundlings panto, with 10-month-old Adam Harris Picture: Sarah Standing (151988-5866)
Sarah-Jane Price, who plays Jill in the Groundlings panto, with 10-month-old Adam Harris Picture: Sarah Standing (151988-5866)
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PANTO stars took time out to brighten up the day of sick children facing a difficult Christmas.

Performers in this year’s Jack and the Beanstalk production at the Groundlings Theatre yesterday popped by children’s wards at Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, Portsmouth.

Performer Charlie Smithard with Joshua Harris at QA Picture: Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Performer Charlie Smithard with Joshua Harris at QA Picture: Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Characters Jack, Jill, the Vegetable Fairy and Pendragon brought a smile to the faces of young patients as they chatted and played with them.

Brave four-year-old Daniel Soutar, of Eastney, who has recently been diagnosed with leukaemia, was delighted to see the actors and actresses.

Daniel’s nan, Julie Johnson, said: ‘Over the past couple of days he hasn’t been very well, and this is the happiest I’ve seen him today.

‘It’s really cheered him up; he’s loved seeing them.’

Stephanie Davis, 17, with from left, Sarah-Jane Price 'Jill', Simon Rhys-Jones 'Pendragon', Stephanie Lyse 'Vegetable Fairy' and Aaron J Evans 'Jack'.''Picture: Sarah Standing (151988-5880)

Stephanie Davis, 17, with from left, Sarah-Jane Price 'Jill', Simon Rhys-Jones 'Pendragon', Stephanie Lyse 'Vegetable Fairy' and Aaron J Evans 'Jack'.''Picture: Sarah Standing (151988-5880)

Inspirational 17-year-old Stephanie Davis performed Silent Night and Pachelbel’s Canon in D on a keyboard to the stars.

Stephanie, who is registered blind, has taught herself how to play through listening and working out where each note is.

QA children’s play specialist Tracy Morgan said: ‘She is a superstar. She has been through loads, and is lovely and an inspiration to others.’

Aaron J Evans, who plays Jack in the Groundlings panto, which runs until January, said: ‘What I love more than anything is what we can do for them in just a short space of time.;

Nikki Smithard performing a magic show at QA

Nikki Smithard performing a magic show at QA

Meanwhile, husband and wife magic act Charlie and Nikki Smithard also entertained children in their beds with a show this week.

From handkerchief rabbits being pulled out of handkerchief top hats, to card tricks, and balloon modelling, the act put a smile on children’s faces. Charlie said: ‘We enjoy coming into the children’s wards to help put a smile on their faces. We do different tricks depending on the age of the children.’