YOUNGSTERS receiving treatment on the children’s ward at the Great Western Hospital were captivated by a special storytelling session yesterday.

Storytellers from the Starlight Children’s Foundation, a charity which aims to provide entertainment for seriously and terminally ill children in hospital wards, visited the GWH for the first time.

The performers spent an hour reading from family favourite stories including The Princess and the Pea, Charlotte’s Web and Three Little Pigs to the children in an interactive show.

Theresa Wyatt, a play specialist on the children’s ward, who organised the visit, said: “Starlight usually come in to do a pantomime but it’s the first time we’ve had a storytelling session in our hospital.

“We don’t have many very young children here but it’s just something a little bit different to entertain the children and make their stay in hospital just a bit better.

“We use play to help distract poorly children from the pain and anxiety that they might be feeling as a result of their illness and there’s nothing quite like a good story to capture children’s minds.

“We had a young lad who never usually leaves his room come along as well, and that’s what it is all about. If it can help one child overcome their fears, then we’ve achieved something.”

Throughout March the four actors will perform the session, which includes singing and dancing and has been specially created for Starlight by The Panto Company, in more than 50 hospitals and hospices throughout the country.

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A young patient enjoys the show

The tour has been backed by baked beans giant Heinz’s Get Well Soon campaign, which asked members of the public to buy personalised tins of Get Well Soon soup from its Facebook page for loved ones feeling under the weather during January and February.

For every can of the soup bought, £1 was donated to Starlight to fund the tour in the second year that the company has supported the charity.

Neil Swan, chief executive of the foundation, said: “For many children, a trip to hospital can be very scary and Starlight aims to provide services that will entertain and distract young patients during their stay.”

You can still buy a personalised can of the soup and donate £1 to Starlight until March 31.

For more information or to buy your tin, visit To find out more about Starlight, visit