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Times appeal is wicked!

PUBLISHED: 15:41 23 December 2009 | UPDATED: 10:40 12 August 2010

WOW: Pantomine stars with Sydney Ashby,19 months.

WOW: Pantomine stars with Sydney Ashby,19 months.

WICKED fairy Claire Sweeney and the cast from The Churchill s Sleeping Beauty delighted youngsters when they paid a surprise visit to the children s ward. She was joined by Jeffrey Longmore, who plays Nursey; writer and director George Wood, who plays t

HAT’S OFF TO YOU: Eleanor Buckley, seven, was

WICKED fairy Claire Sweeney and the cast from The Churchill's Sleeping Beauty delighted youngsters when they paid a surprise visit to the children's ward.

She was joined by Jeffrey Longmore, who plays Nursey; writer and director George Wood, who plays the Prince; Lorna Want as Sleeping Beauty and Kev Orkian as Chester to drop off gifts donated by Times' readers to Princess Royal University Hospital, Farnborough last Thursday.

Particularly excited about the celebrity visit was seven-year-old Eleanor Buckley who had been talking about Claire Sweeney all day not knowing that the former Brookside actress would be coming in.

Play specialist Sian Spencer-Little said: "She was going on and on all day about her being in Sleeping Beauty- this is Elly who has been a chatterbox for the past seven weeks - and then when Claire walked she was absolutely speechless."

HAT’S OFF TO YOU: Eleanor Buckley, seven, was

As the actress handed over a gift to the tot, beaming Ellie, who has been recovering from a broken leg, exclaimed: "I want your hat!"...and Ms Sweeney obliged.

Speaking about the Times Toy Appeal, her mother Katie Lee, 39, from Biggin Hill, said: "It's absolutely fantastic, it's brilliant. We have been here for so long now and although we've been well looked after we've had just about enough and want to go home."

Happily, it was due to be a merry Christmas for young Eleanor and her family as she was due to be discharged last Friday, the day after our visit.

And as an extra treat Ms Sweeney has arranged for her to go and see Sleeping Beauty and to meet the cast again backstage at one of the upcoming shows.

Meanwhile poorly 19-month-old Sydney Ashby, from Biggin Hill, who was admitted a chest infection, certainly seemed to perk up when she saw the toys in the PRUH's playroom. The little star delighted the cast members as she played with a rocking reindeer donated to our cause.

Her father Paul Ashby praised the appeal. He said: "It's really good that you've come round at a bad time to cheer people up. It's brilliant that the pantomime stars have come as well."

After doing the rounds, Ms Sweeney said she had been touched by the Times appeal.

She said: "It puts everything in perspective. It fills you with joy but it can also be pretty upsetting when you see the tiny babies here with their mums. It's been brilliant coming round though and seeing the good it does for the kids."

Play specialist Ms Spencer- Little added: "It's great that people have taken time out to make children smile and promote their well-being and their recovery."

kate.nelson@archant.co.uk

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