They're behind you! Aladdin stars visit children's hospital

Patients on the new children's wards at Bradford Royal Infirmary were treated to a private performance of a pantomime favourite when the stars of Aladdin at the city's Alhambra Theatre dropped in for a lunchtime visit.

The comedian Billy Pearce, a stalwart of seasonal shows in Bradford for two decades, was joined by co-stars Christopher Biggins and singer Simon Webbe for the outing, an annual fixture in the city’s theatrical calendar.

Pearce, a Leeds native who said he owed his life to the NHS treatment he received after a serious motor bike accident, said: “The staff here do a fantastic job and we love coming to visit the children.

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“It’s become a tradition for the cast to visit BRI and it’s a real pleasure for us to do so. When 
we see the smiles on the children’s faces, it makes it all worthwhile.”

Panto king Billy Pearce with Raheem Mehmood, 3, on the childrens ward at the Bradford Royal Infirmary. The cast of Aladdin at the Alhambra took a break from their performances to visit the Children and Young Persons Unit at the BRI. Picture Tony Johnson.

Actor David O’Mahony, who plays Abanazar in the pantomime, said of the hospital’s £28m wing, which opened two years ago: “It must make a real difference to a hospital stay for youngsters.

“I spent a lot of time in hospital when I was six growing up in London, and I wish it had been like this.”