Panto stars bring some sparkle to day centre

Police outside student accommodation in Stanhope Road, Portsmouth on Friday Picture Ben Fishwick

Man arrested in Portsmouth explosives probe at Stanhope Road student block is released by police

There was no need to shout 'he's behind you' as users of a day care centre were visited by the cast of this year's Kings Theatre panto.

Members of the day care facility in Rowans Hospice, in Purbrook Heath Road, Purbrook, were given the chance to meet the stars of Jack and the Beanstalk.

This year's line up includes Britt Ekland, who recently appeared in I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here! Steven Arnold from Coronation Street and comedian Aiden J Harvey.

And the users were all thrilled to see the panto stars.

Paul Manchip, 53, of Elmwood Avenue, in Waterlooville, was diagnosed with incurable gall bladder cancer two years ago.

He has been attending the hospice's day care centre every Tuesday.

He said: 'I come here because the staff are so supportive and because it also gives me a break.

'Things like the panto cast visiting is so much fun and means we can join in on the festivities too.'

Betty Blake, 79, of Fratton Road, Portsmouth, said: 'I have been coming here for three years after I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

'To be here is totally different - you don't have to put on a facade and you can be yourself.'

The visit was organised by Kings Theatre, in Albert Road, Southsea.

Sandra Smith, promotions manager at the theatre, said: 'The cast had a performance earlier in the day, so they came to the centre in their full costumes.

'They wanted to do this because it's nice and brings a real Christmas cheer and a sense of fun to people who deal with very serious illnesses.'