Children at a South Yorkshire hospice had an X-tra special day when X Factor stars popped in to meet them ahead of a gig in Sheffield.
Youngsters spent time with some of last year’s X Factor finalists, including winner Ben Haenow, before they performed at the Motorpoint Arena as part of a nationwide tour.
They stopped off at Bluebwell Wood Children’s Hospice in North Anston, Rotherham, to chat to youngsters with life limiting conditions ahead of a sell-out gig on Thursday night.
Boyband Stereo Kicks and former navy officer Jay James were among those who spent time talking to patients, their families and staff.
Only The Young, Fleur East, Lauren Platt, Andrea Faustini and Stevi Richie also made the visit.
One youngster, Jess Harman, aged 18, was presented with a ticket for the show that night.
Her mum, Kirsty, said: “Jess has loved it, she was really excited.
“Meeting Ben made mine and Jess’ day. When I told Jess we were going to the show her face just lit up in a huge smile.”
Tina Vickers, from Penistone, whose son Kyle, 15, is at the hospice, said: “We deal with our circumstances day in day out. Nothing’s strange or unusual to us, but for other people looking in, it can be hard.
“The X Factor stars were absolutely fantastic. They weren’t phased at all, and it made a really special day for us all to remember.”
Kanisha Fullwood, aged 22, from Doncaster, who met X Factor winner Ben, said: “They were fantastic. It was lovely how they walked around the room and gave time to every single child and young person in here.
“I can’t even say who my favourite was - I loved them all. I’m just so happy to have had the opportunity to meet them.”
Claire Rintoul, Chief Executive at Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, said: “We are very proud to have welcomed the X Factor to Bluebell Wood. Our children loved every minute of this fantastic opportunity, they thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
“We are very focused upon providing the very best care and support for our children and families both here in the hospice and in the community; as well as helping to create lovely, lasting memories.
“Visits like this are incredibly special for our children and I’d like to thank the X Factor for taking the time out of their busy schedule to visit.”
X Factor’s Ben Haenow said: “I have really enjoyed visiting Bluebell Wood and meeting the children. I can see that the hospice is filled with such love and laughter and that’s amazing.
“Hospices help create such fantastic memories and moments for children and families experiencing really tough times. I have been overwhelmed visiting Bluebell Wood and seeing first-hand the invaluable care that is provided. Thanks very much for inviting us along today.”