THERE were smiles all round as children from cancer wards and other specialist care centres attended a spectacular Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.
The annual event returned for its 13th year to the Marriott Hotel, in North Harbour.
Children with cancer, serious long-term illnesses and disabilities, and their brothers and sisters, were treated to candy floss, popcorn, magicians, princesses, puppies and face paints, to name just a few of the wonderful activities on offer at the special party.
Pompey players Jake Jervis, Wes Fogden and Johnny Ertl also stopped by to sign autographs.
Steve Verne, 13, who has a growth hormone deficiency and a joint condition, was particularly pleased to see the players and had worn his Pompey shirt especially.
Steve, from Cosham, said: ‘It was great!’
Rob Martin, from Paulsgrove, was there with his nine-year old daughter Maddie, who has spina bifida.
Maddie had a pretty party dress on and was accompanied into the party by Spongebob Squarepants.
Rob, 53, said: ‘It is fantastic. There’s all these children with adversity in their daily lives, to see the looks on their faces it gives you some fantastic memories.’
An auction was hosted by Fred Dinenage and the money raised went to the charity to buy presents for children who could not make it to the party from the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham and Southampton General Hospital.
Fred said: ‘I come every year as I think it is such a fantastic event. It is so joyful and it is so lovely to see the children.’
Organiser Malcolm Drew said it was the biggest year yet and thanked everybody who had given up their time to make the event so special.