PANTO stars brought a touch of festive cheer to a children’s hospital ward at the weekend.

Four members from the cast of Dick Whittington danced, dazzled and sang for young patients in the Riverbank children’s ward at Worcestershire Royal Hospital on Saturday.

Staged exclusively for Starlight Children’s Foundation by the theatre group The Panto Company, the actors were able to help the youngsters forget their illnesses and have a bit of fun.

Sheena Haggitt, play specialist at the hospital, said the panto had become a highlight of the festive calendar for the ward and helps to provide a lift for the children.

“Play and distraction can significantly help to reduce the amount of pain and anxiety children feel as they undergo treatment and Starlight’s Christmas panto was a great dose of festive fun for our young patients and their families.”

Ted James, who plays Dick Whittington, said: “Starlight gives poorly children a positive focus when they need it most and the charity’s Christmas panto is a great way to entertain and distract children who are in hospital over the festive period.

“Dick Whittington is our best show yet and we hope that it will help restore some of the magic of Christmas for the poorly children at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.”

As well as its hospital entertainment programme for more than half a million children in the UK, the charity also grants once-in-a-lifetime wishes to children of all ages to restore a little joy to their lives.