Panto favourites return to spread Christmas cheer

Posted: December 1, 2016

Laughter-filled show for Children's Unit

The Children's Unit at the Great Western Hospital will take on a festive feel this week as the annual Christmas pantomime rolls into town to raise a smile on some poorly faces.

This year's production of Dick Whittington by national charity Starlight will take place on Friday 2 December and will see the youngsters accompany the would-be Mayor of London on his trip from Pantoland to the gold-paved streets of the capital. 

The show follows Starlight's previous reworkings of other panto classics including Aladdin and Robinson Crusoe, all of which have received rave reviews from patients, parents and staff at GWH. 

Claire Parks, Senior Play Specialist, said: "There's never a good time for a child to be in hospital but it can be even more difficult for them at Christmas. 

"The Starlight pantomime does a fantastic job in reminding patients and their parents that Christmas does, in fact, come to hospitals and fun can still be had even under difficult circumstances. 

"I'm really excited for curtain up as I know just how valuable laughter, music and general silliness can be to a child's recovery. It's going to be a great show." 

In recent years the Starlight charity has become known for granting wishes to terminally ill children and providing entertainment to those in hospitals and hospices across the UK. 

This current production of Dick Whittington will visit dozens of children's wards all over the country during its eight week run. 

Sue Wildman, Head of Children's Services at Starlight, said: "We aim to distract children from the anxiety they feel as a result of their condition and we hope this performance will be just what the doctor ordered." 

The annual pantomime marks the start of what is usually a very busy season for the Children's Unit, with many local businesses, charities and individuals keen to do whatever they can to bring some festive cheer to the little ones. 

In the coming weeks, players from Swindon Town Football Club will visit the ward, as will the riders from local motorcycle club Pinkertons.

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