A CHILDREN’S charity brought their own twist to the story of Cinderella in a pantomime for poorly youngsters.

The Starlight Children’s Foundation visited the children’s ward at Colchester General Hospital yesterday.

Starlight is a national charity providing entertainment in hospitals and hospices across the UK.

More than 1,000 children on 92 children’s wards throughout Great Britain are expected to see this special pantomime during the eight-week run.

Sarah Amos, senior play specialist at Colchester General Hospital, said it brought some festive cheer to the ward.

She said: “We know play can significantly help to improve a child’s hospital experience and we are grateful to Starlight’s Christmas pantomime for helping to provide additional festive fun.

“It provides our young patients with a welcome break from treatment and allows them to forget about their illness for a short while and experience the magic of Christmas - something every child deserves.”

The Starlight Christmas pantomime started in November at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital and ends on January 6 at the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle.

Starlight described the performance as being fully interactive, and a new adaptation of the classic children’s story which is full of fun.

They said it gives the young patients a chance to laugh, cheer and sing along as the four actors perform for the children, their families and the staff.

Sue Wildman, head of children’s services at Starlight Children’s Foundation, said: “Starlight’s Christmas Pantomime is a fabulous way of spending some much-needed festive cheer to hospitalised children over the Christmas period.”

The children loved interacting with Cinderella, played by Hannah Jeffries, her lover Buttons, played by Ryan Brown, Fairy Godmother and ugly stepsister Laura Baillie, and Prince Charming and ugly stepsister Joe Kerbyson.

Matt Lee-Alliston, managing director of The Panto Company, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with Starlight to bring this interactive performance to so many hospitalised children.”

The Starlight charity also brings tailor-made wishes a reality for sick children.

To find out more about Starlight and the work they do, visit www.starlight.org.uk.

The surprises do not stop there for the children, as this afternoon Ipswich Town FC players will be taking part in their annual visit.

The players have paid for presents such as selection boxes and Blues’ merchandise, as well as presents to leave on the unit.

The five players scheduled to visit are defender Jordan Spence, midfielders Flynn Downes, Tristan Nydam and Danny Rowe, and former Colchester United striker Freddie Sears.