Children facing a six-hour hospital stay to have blood transfusions were surprised by a visit form the Skittle Man who brought smiles to their faces.

The young haematology patients at Queen’s Hospital and their parents were treated to a show and given balloon hats on Tuesday, November 27.

A ward at the hospital in Romford, which is managed by the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, was transformed into what sounded like a children’s party.

The entertainer whose real name is Craig Gallimore regularly visits the hospital to have some fun with children, funded by the charity Pod which aims to keep youngsters entertained in hospital.

Linda Arnaah, whose son Carlin was one of the children having a blood transfusion, said: “He has to have a transfusion every four weeks as he has sickle cell, and that means several hours in hospital.

“Having the entertainment really makes a difference or else he’d be so bored. He really enjoys it and I think it’s also good for their overall health and wellbeing.”

Skittle Man Craig added: “I’ve been doing this for 21 years and I absolutely love it. Often I come in and some of the kids might be a bit grumpy, so to see them smiling and laughing is great.

“I love coming away knowing I’ve made a difference.”