A CBEEBIES star was a fitting and fun VIP to officially open a children’s day unit at Basingstoke hospital following a £215,000 refurbishment.

Katy Ashworth was on hand to do the unveiling honours at Charlie’s Day Unit, performing a fun-filled show for children of staff and children who have used Charlie’s Day Unit.

The assessment unit, which first opened in 1999, treats children who have been referred from GPs and the emergency department.

The team started fundraising in 2009 to improve the facilities at the unit, and through donations from members of the public, they were able to refurbish it.

Improvements to the day unit include quiet rooms for the team to have “difficult conversations”, a parent’s kitchen, a new blood room and a new treatment area for children with cancer.

Trish Le Flufy, clinical services manager of the paediatric unit, told The Gazette: “We started about four years ago to raise money to have some good facilities when children come here.

“We set off on a fundraising campaign and we have had amazing local support from schools, playgroups, businesses and a whole range of people.”

Liz Padmore, chairman of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Basingstoke hospital, told the guests: “This unit is somewhere we are really proud of.

“I am delighted that so many of you who have helped with that effort are here today. You and others have raised £215,000 – it’s amazing! I can’t thank you enough and I hope you are as pleased as we are with the result.”

Five-year-old Cystic Fibrosis sufferer Anna Marke, from Pendennis Close, Winklebury, was at the event with her mother, Rachel.

Rachel, 35, bought two iPads for children to use when they visit Charlie’s Day Unit. She told The Gazette: “It is nice to give something back.

“It feels like a home from home, and they put me at ease when I come up with Anna.

“We come up here if she has a bad cough or a problem with her stomach, and they will give her the appropriate medication.”

Talking about the refurbished unit, she added: “It seems to have gone really well. The new murals on the wall brighten up the place, and it passes the time to look at these and spot things.”