CHILDREN battling some of the toughest adversity life can throw at them spent an evening having fun with their families.
The Mad Hatter’s Party was held at the Marriott Hotel in Portsmouth, with hundreds of children from Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham and Southampton General Hospital invited to a fun afternoon with games, music, food and even some of their favourite fictional characters.
Around 300 people attend the event every year, with the first party taking place 17 years ago.
This year, partygoers were also joined by Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr David Fuller, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and Portsmouth FC manager Kenny Jackett – as well as players Matt Clark and Dion Donohue.
Vanessa Robertson, 41, from Titchfield, came to the party with her husband John and children Oliver, Flo and three-year-old Poppy.
She said: ‘Poppy was diagnosed with a tumour last December, just two days before Christmas – she’s been through chemotherapy and has literally just finished that.
‘Hopefully we’ll get the all clear by this Christmas; she has just got on with things though.
‘I am just so grateful to the people who have organised this and given up their own time to put a smile on these children’s faces.’
Jo Garnett, 43, from Gosport, went along with husband Darren, Holly, aged seven, and Luke, aged five – who was diagnosed with leukemia three years ago.
Jo said: ‘Luke has been so brave throughout it all. The two of them are dancing around together and it’s great to see.’