Panto stars visit sick children in hospital

Children at a County Durham hospital have enjoyed a Christmas treat after some very special visitors popped into their ward.

Characters from Robinson Crusoe, this year’s pantomime at the Gala Theatre, visited children on the Treetops ward at the University Hospital of North Durham to share some festive cheer.

Panto stars Robinson Crusoe, his brother Billy Bob, Polly Perkins and Aqua Marina spent time chatting with the children and their families, including Phoebe Dodds and Harry Stewart, both from Consett.

Writer and director Paul Hartley, who also plays Billy Bob in the show, said: “It’s hard for children who have to spend the Christmas period in hospital and we hope our visit made them smile and brightened their day.

“Visiting the hospital is a really important to us and every year we are left humbled by the great work of the staff as well as the bravery of the children and their parents.”

Katie Pike, senior sister on Treetops children’s ward, said: “It was wonderful to bring a bit of the pantomime into the hospital and it really made the children’s day when Robinson and the cast walked into the ward. We do everything we can to make sure our younger patients are able to enjoy all the excitement of Christmas.

“One of our nurses has also been attending the pantomime at Gala for the last ten years and was thrilled to meet Paul and the team, especially as it coincided with her last day at work before emigrating to Australia!”

It’s not too late to buy tickets for the pantomime, with best availability for the shows in the new year. Anyone with a birthday in January can also get a free ticket to a January performance by calling the box office on 03000 266 600 or visiting the venue in person.

Proof of date of birth is required on purchase or collection of the tickets and the offer does not apply to tickets already booked.

Visit for more information and to book tickets.