PANTO stars will today pay a visit to children who are facing the prospect of spending Christmas in hospital.

The cast of Jack and the Beanstalk, which runs at The Gala Theatre in Durham City until January 8, will visit patients on the Treetops Nursery Unit at the University Hospital of North Durham.

Geoffrey Hayes, star of the cult children's TV show Rainbow, will be joined by panto veteran Peter Thorns, comedian Mike Newman Jnr, who plays Jack, and Kirsti McDonagh, Princess Marigold, in handing out presents.

Nursery nurse Angela Traynor said: "All the children have been so excited about this visit.