Youngsters with serious illnesses took to the ice in a fun-packed treat intended to take their minds off hospital visits.

Children from across the region were given an early Christmas present from the wish-granting charity Rays of Sunshine, which invited them to the rink in front of Brighton's Royal Pavilion.

It was an opportunity for children who would not normally be able to go ice skating because of their ventilators and other medical needs. It even allowed those who needed to use their specialist chairs on the ice.

The Argus: Children young and old had a great time on the iceChildren young and old had a great time on the ice (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

Thirteen-year-old Micah Becker Goodman suffers from a serious respiratory condition which means he has to be constantly connected to a ventilator. His parents Mark Goodman and Sandra Becker spend 24 hours each day caring for him.

Micah, who has only been able to go to school from the start of this year because of his illness, said: "It was really fun. This year was even more fun than last year and I had both my parents on the ice.

"It is very nice to still go on the ice with a wheelchair."

The Argus: Micah on the ice rink with mum Sandra BeckerMicah on the ice rink with mum Sandra Becker (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

His dad Mark said: "There is a lot of things Micah can't join in on, so by actually going on the ice today was great to be a part of and join in."

It was organised by event manager Jenny Porter, who managed to get free use of the rink for the special session.

It was part of the charity's "12 days of wishmas" programme which sees events across the country for serious ill children and their families.

The Argus: Jenny in front of the PavilionJenny in front of the Pavilion (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

Jenny said: "We work really hard for days like today to happen, my cheeks were hurting from all the smiling that I have done.

"The families have told us how it helps them just forget about things for a few hours. There's a lot they are dealing with but that time is really valuable.

"It breaks families from isolation and gives them an opportunity to step out of their troubled lives and have some fun.

"The ice rink gave it to us all for free, out of the kindness of their hearts. It really validates what we are doing."