'Magical' - tiny ponies make little girl's dreams come true despite cancer diagnosis

  • Watch Annie Knowlson's report

A little girl who has spent much of the festive season in hospital was given a Christmas surprise - in the form of two miniature ponies.

Ameia Padua has recently been diagnosed with a form of bone cancer called osteosarcoma.

This week, she was left delighted by a visit from Shetland ponies - Wizzle and Peanut - at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.

The therapy ponies were brought into the secret garden within the Devon hospital's intensive care unit.

She said the surprise was "magical" - and she'd never seen anything like it.

Her parents were also excited to see the four-legged visitors. Her mother Raziel said: "Every little thing that makes Ameia happy is really appreciated. It really means a lot to us."

Her father Marlon said: "This is the saddest Christmas but it's also the best Christmas ever."

Raziel added: "Because we will spend it all together. We have all the love of everyone and we're thankful for that."

Father Christmas will also be making a visit to all the children spending Christmas in hospital.

Ameia was ecstatic to be greeted by Wizzle and Peanut.

The garden has been transformed into a Santa's grotto and is one of the only places in the UK where ICU patients can receive treatment and be connected to life saving equipment, while spending time outdoors and with their families and pets.

Founder of the Rehab Legend Campaign behind the secret garden, Kate Tantam, said: "It's not uncommon that children and parents feel more relaxed - we're now seeing other hospitals naming their gardens the secret garden too.

"It feels like the legacy of this garden, I hope, will go across the UK".