Children’s faces lit up on ward two of Bradford Royal Infirmary as they received a visit from the pantomime cast of Aladdin.

Billy Pearce, star of the Bradford panto for 15 years, continued his annual tradition by bringing the cast of Aladdin, including former X Factor star Chico, to visit the ill and injured children on the surgical ward yesterday.

Resplendent in their spectacular costumes, cast members including Jeffrey Harmer, Masashi Fujimoto, Adam Stafford, Jenny Gayner and The Acromaniacs delighted those on the ward .

As many of the children awoke from morning surgery they did so just in time to see Aladdin’s magical characters wandering round by their beds.

They had a huge cuddly panda bear playfully prancing round the ward along with Aladdin, Widow Twankey, Princess Jasmine, Abanazar, The Emperor of China and The Acromaniacs.

The panda was a favourite of three-year-old Taylor Barraclough whose mum Laura Barraclough said: “When the cast arrived Taylor was just waking up. I bet he still thought that he was in a dream.”

Picking some of the smaller children up into his arms, making them laugh and giggle, Chico said: “It’s very humbling and really puts things in perspective. The nurses have been so welcoming and everybody has been absolutely terrific.

“What we do usually feeds the ego, but doing this feeds the soul.”

As young Elijah Pittaway played happily on his bed, his father, William Pittaway said: “It’s put a big smile on his face.

“He was worried because he is going for an MRI scan but now he seems to have forgotten about that.”

Among the warm atmosphere, Billy Pearce was busily signing pantomime posters for those on the ward as well as posing for photos with children and parents.

Two shows might have been scheduled later in the day, but that proved no obstacle for Billy and his cast, who said it was always worth coming to the ward to cheer up the children.

Billy said: “It’s nice to put something back. It’s hard work, and I have lost a stone, but I love it.”

Ward manager David Merebhi said that along with the children the staff on ward two eagerly anticipated the visit each year.