PICTURES: Poorly children have fun at Portsmouth’s Mad Hatter’s Party

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DISNEY characters, police officers, a petting zoo, a balloon Batman and X Factor singer Stacey Solomon were just some of the highlights at a party.

The Mad Hatter’s Party returned for its 16th year yesterday and children with disabilities and their families were entertained by various guests.

Held at the Marriott Hotel in Portsmouth the event had around 300 people attend and was a big success.

Martine and Andy McArthur, from Farlington, were there with their children Harry, eight, Daisy, four and Maria, two. Daisy has cerebral palsy and this is the second year she has been invited.

She and her siblings were dressed as characters from Alice in Wonderland.

Daisy said: ‘I like dressing as Alice and I love everything about the party.’

Titan the Robot made a guest appearance

Titan the Robot made a guest appearance

Mum Martine added: ‘It was fantastic last year so we were really excited to come again. It is lovely to have something for children who are sick or have disabilities. It allows them to feel special.’

Vicky Cleaver, from Landport, was at the party with her five-year-old son Archie and partner Andy Limb.

Archie has cerebral palsy, epilepsy and is blind.

This is the fourth year they have been invited. Vicky said: ‘This is the best day of the year for us. Archie loves it. It’s such a unique day.’

It is such a unique day and there is nothing else like it.

Vicky Cleaver

During the party, Disney princesses sang and danced with the children while there were also fire engines and police cars on show. Rabbits, reptiles and mice were in the petting zoo along with an armadillo and there was a fun mirror for kids to take pictures in.

Debbie Little, from Bishop’s Waltham, took children Stanley, nine, Matilda, five and Esmay Reid, three.

Matilda, who has cerebral palsy, was dressed as Rapunzel while Esmay was dressed as Elsa from Frozen.

Debbie, 34, said: ‘Esmay loves the characters, Matilda loves the music and Stanley loves the zoo so it is a fantastic day out.’

Daisy McArthur gets a sci-fi welcome the the Mad Hatter's Tea Party Pictures: Habibur Rahman

Daisy McArthur gets a sci-fi welcome the the Mad Hatter's Tea Party Pictures: Habibur Rahman

Organiser Malcolm Drew spends months putting together the event but he said it is all worth it. He said: ‘When you see the kids’ faces, you know it is definitely worth holding every year.

‘We cannot underestimate how it helps forget their disabilities and illnesses just for the afternoon.’

X Factor star 
Stacey Solomon with Alyssa England

X Factor star Stacey Solomon with Alyssa England

Charlie Smith and Rudy Matthews with Pompey player Christian Burgess

Charlie Smith and Rudy Matthews with Pompey player Christian Burgess