Belfast Telegraph

Zeta-Jones visits sick children

Catherine Zeta-Jones brought smiles to the faces of seriously ill youngsters during an emotionally-charged hospital visit.

The Oscar winner and mother of two - whose actor husband Michael Douglas underwent a tough fight against cancer - took time out of shooting her latest blockbuster with Sir Anthony Hopkins in London to travel to Cardiff in her native south Wales to launch a fundraising drive.

The Noah's Ark Children's Hospital of Wales was unveiled as the new name for a specialist facility in the Welsh capital - and counts 43-year-old Catherine as one of its biggest supporters.

The actress, who opened the facility in 2006, made sure her diary was clear so she could take part in the renaming ceremony.

She said: "The hospital has always been a cause close to me. As a mother, the plight of some of the children has never failed to pull at my heart strings. When I was asked to unveil the new name of the children's hospital, I jumped at the chance."

The hospital treats around 25,000 young people and 75,000 outpatients each year and provides life-saving treatment to critically ill youngsters as well as expert skills for those with conditions requiring specialist care.

The visit by Catherine was her first since 2010 when she attended a function to celebrate the 10th anniversary of children's charity Noah's Ark Appeal - the hospital's official charity. Bosses hope having the Noah's Ark name in its title will boost donations further.

Zorro star Catherine described the generosity of people as amazing.

"Even in these dark financial times, people are still donating money to this wonderful hospital," she said. "The bravery of children and their parents who come here really hits home. Coming here today, you cannot help but be moved by some of the stories and battles children are going through. I often talk about it to friends of mine back in the States - it's something I'm very passionate about."

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