A former Pontin’s Bluecoat is making a magical impression on young patients in hospital.
Magician Barrington Powell makes regular visits to the Children’s Ward at Blackpool Victoria Hospital to help cheer up the youngsters.
He performs a host of magic tricks and brings a bundle of fun to the children and their parents.
His monthly visits are arranged by POD Children’s Charity – a nationwide charity which organizes entertainment for children in hospital and helps to alleviate the trauma of a hospital stay by sowing the seeds of fun, laughter and feeling better.
Barrington has been involved in the hospital environment for over 20 years and was one of the original entertainers to perform on a full time weekly basis at Pendlebury and Booth Hall in Manchester.
Working as a Children’s Uncle at Pontin’s was a great grounding for what was a future career as a full time magician which led him to work as the main clown at Legoland Windsor then entertaining all over the world from exclusive islands in the Maldives, to Downing Street.
He now works as part of the Play Specialist team who work alongside medical and nursing staff who look after children in various ways. They are responsible for activities such as organising daily play and art activities in the playroom or at the bedside, using play to maintain a child’s level of development during illness, help children deal with their anxieties and feelings and use play to prepare children for hospital procedures.
Barrington said: “My work in the hospital environment puts something back to the outside work that I do and with the POD charity I help create the smiles and laughter for so many children and parents at what can be a distressing time in situations that can be overwhelming.”
Children’s Ward Manager, Isabel Spencer, said: “Barrington’s visits to the ward are always beneficial to the patients and it is just another way that Play in Hospital is utilised by our Play Team for the benefit of the patients.
Play Specialist, Roseanne Norman, said: “We all look forward to Barrington’s visits once a month. Both patients and parents are amazed by his magic and enthusiasm he certainly puts a smile on everybody’s face and adds a little laughter to what can be a scary and distressing time ”
Barrington added: “When I perform my tricks I try to involve the parents because if the adults are at ease then the children pick up on this and become happy when they also see their parents laugh.
“We as adults tend to forget to importance that the unleashing of endorphins has on everyone
“There are many magical stories, some happy and some heart-breaking, which all hold a special place in my heart and by being able to create laughter, magical memories and understand the importance of play alongside a truly special team of wonderful people makes you appreciate how lucky we are to have the NHS.”
October 9-13 is Play in Hospital Week. You can find out more about Health Play Specialists by visiting www.nahps.org.uk.