Young patients enjoy meeting the cast of Peter Pan at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
The magic and fun of Neverland brightened up the day of young hospital patients when they enjoyed a visit from the cast of Peter Pan.
This year's Norwich Theatre Royal pantomime is based on the classic JM Barrie story of the boy who never grew up, and yesterday some of the cast took some time out to visit the Buxton Ward at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
Peter Pan and some of the Lost Boys were among the characters to delight the children, and even the traditional baddie Captain Hook showed he had a softer side as he took part in the visit along with fellow pirate Starkey.
Kevin Kennedy, who plays Captain Hook in the show, said: 'Children who are in hospital at Christmas must feel like they are missing out so it's great that we were able to go to the hospital to spread a bit of festive cheer.
'The hospital and staff are brilliant but it can't be fun to be stuck in hospital at Christmas so we thought we would bring the pantomime to them.'
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Among the young people who were excited to meet the cast was three-year-old Pixie-Lou Gowing, from Costessey, who was in hospital because she was being treated for a head injury after falling down some stairs.
Her mum Sarah Dinsdale, 34, said: 'It's really cheered Pixie-Lou up. Peter Pan came round with the Lost Boys and they looked at her books, and Peter Pan told Pixie-Lou about how they knew Tinker Bell. It was a nice surprise.'
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Eight-year-old Kimora Kuiiri, from Cawston, and who was in hospital because she was asthmatic and had a chest infection, said her favourite Peter Pan visitor was the pirate Starkey because he was really funny.
Her mum Emma Kuiiri said it was 'absolutely fantastic' that the panto stars had come to the children's ward.
'It was really nice that they did that for the children,' she said, adding that she hoped to take Kimora to watch the pantomime.
Among the youngest patients to have a photo taken with the Neverland characters was little Joseph Blackmore, from Lowestoft, aged just over three months and two weeks old.
His parents Pauline and Andrew Blackmore, both 35, thought the photograph would make a nice addition to their photos of Joseph's journey since he was born 13 weeks early on September 19 weighing just 2lb and 8oz.
Pauline said: 'It will be Joseph's claim to fame, having his picture taken with the cast of Peter Pan.'
Matron Emma Dolman said it was wonderful to have the festive guests on the ward.
'Pantomime is part and parcel of Christmas for lots of families and the visit just brightened up what was quite a boring and mundane day for a lot of patients,' she said.
'Thank you very much to the Peter Pan cast and the Theatre Royal. It was really nice of everyone to visit and it shows a great sense of community spirit.'
• Pantomime's festive fun continues into the New Year
Norwich Theatre Royal's festive production of Peter Pan will be at the city venue until January 18.
The pantomime based on the classic JM Barrie story about the boy who never grew up has been written and directed by
Richard Gauntlett who is also playing the pirate Smee.
Kevin Kennedy, who played Curly Watts in the ITV soap Coronation Street for 20 years, is taking on the role of Captain Hook, while CBeebies presenter Sid Sloane plays Aunt Delilah, and Cromer Pier favourite Ben Langley plays the pirate Starkey.
Ruth Betteridge, who was Cinderella in last year's pantomime, is playing Wendy. Charlotte Baptie (Peter Pan) and Sinead Kenny (Tiger Lily) are both gracing the Theatre Royal's stage for a second time this year after previously appearing in West Side Story.
Peter Pan is at the theatre until January 18. Tickets £5.50-£21. For more and to book tickets visit www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk or call the box office on 01603 630000.