Pantomime dazzles poorly children at Norfolk and Norwich Hospital

Poorly children in Norwich's hospital have been given a touch of magic as a pantomime group brought Aladdin and his lamp to their ward.

Starlight Children's Foundation have teamed up with the theatre group The Panto Company, and have been touring the country with their specially-devised pantomimes for hospitals and hospices.

Buxton Ward, at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, welcomed the Aladdin's cave into their ward where they look after children aged up to 16 with a range of illnesses.

Yesterday's performance of Aladdin included modern songs and references to Jeremy Kyle in the performance, which had the children and their families laughing, signing, booing and cheering.

Claire Farr, who played Wishy Washy in the show, said: 'The aim of the panto is to bring some much needed fun and entertainment to the many poorly children that are stuck in hospitals and hospices, and we really hope that they all enjoy the show!'

Steve Nicolls from Lingwood, a play specialist at the hospital, was enjoying the performance. He said: 'The pantomime is so brilliant for the children, it's fun and it's silly and provides a nice distraction for some who see hospital as a scary environment.'

Amelia Smith, from Dereham, has been in and out of the ward so much that she missed this year's Theatre Royal performance of Sleeping Beauty. Her mum, Merylle Smith, a teaching assistant, said: 'Amelia gets to see a pantomime after all, and for me, this is the best laugh I've had in a while. We have both been looking forward to this since we found it they were performing here.'

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Amelia agreed, she said: 'It's made me feel a little better.'

Ms Smith continued: 'We can't praise the staff here enough for all that they do, it's fantastic.'

Staff members were enjoying the lively performance too. Vicky Young, a health assistant from Swaffham sees the pantomime as a great change of scene for the children, and a distraction from their pain.

Emma Dolman, senior nurse - paediatric in-patients at the hospital said: 'The panto can really help cheer up a poorly child's day, it can also help to take their minds off their illness and this in turn can have a positive effect on their condition and response to treatment.'

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