PANTOMIME stars yesterday helped spread festive cheer among children who will spend Christmas in hospital.

The cast of Darlington Civic Theatre's production, Beauty and the Beast, visited the children's ward at the town's Memorial Hospital.

Big Brother winner Anthony Hutton and Darlington's former Pop Idol contestant Zoe Birkett, together with the Grumbleweeds, who dressed as Ali G and rocker Ozzy Osbourne, were among those who visited.

The show is running at the theatre until Sunday, January 22. Tickets are £9 to £18, available by calling the box office on (01325) 486555.