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Panto stars bring festive fun to Neptune children’s ward

22 December 2015


The stars of this year’s Cliffs Pavilion pantomime, Cinderella, wowed children and their families on Southend University Hospital’s Neptune children’s ward.

Taking time out from their busy schedule of performances, the trio of costumed stars were belle of the ball herself Cinderella (Lauren Hall); Prince Charming (Matthew Goodgame) and Jack the Lad Dandini (Steve Leeds).

West End star Lauren Hall, who plays Cinderella, said: "I think our visit gives the children something to be excited about in the lead-up to Christmas and will help them remember their time in hospital in a positive way."

Patient Jack Carver, aged seven, from Leigh-on-Sea, and his family were some of the people who met the cast.  Jack's dad, Paul, said: "Jack was admitted about 5pm yesterday and within a couple of hours he was ready to go in for his operation.  He was operated on overnight and it's just been an amazing service. A great advert for the NHS. To top it all, we got to see the guys from Cinderella, Jack loved it especially his little sister Bella. The ward also looks brilliant with all the decorations."

For actor Matthew Goodgame who plays Prince Charming, this was the first time he had ever taken part in a hospital visit in character. Matthew said: "Visiting the children is very magical and it's nice to try and bring a bit of sunshine into a sometimes cloudy day. It's a real pleasure to be here and it's nice to see the smiling faces of the little ones." 

Playing the character of Dandini is Steve Leeds who can also be seen in the Go! Go! Go! show on Nick Jr. Steve said: "It's nice to meet the kids. We just like to see people smile and this is why we do it. To see that offstage is really nice."

Cinderella is now on at the Cliffs Pavilion until Sunday 10 January 2016. To book tickets visit southendtheatres.org.uk or call the box office on 01702 351135.   

PHOTO:  Steve Leeds (Dandini), Lauren Hall (Cinderella) and Matthew Goodgame (Prince Charming) with Eve Fearon-Stocks, aged seven, from Leigh-on-Sea.