Hospice children take to the skies in search for Santa

Children with life-limiting conditions supported by Rainbows hospice boarded a jet and went in search of Santa – thanks to tour operator Thomas Cook and radio station Gem.

Excited youngsters and their families from across the East Midlands who receive care from the Loughborough-based charity were treated to a ‘Flight of Dreams’ as they boarded an aircraft to seek out Santa and his sleigh.

According to information from air traffic control at East Midlands Airport the jolly man in red had been reported making practice runs in his sleigh above the clouds somewhere over the UK.

And dozens of families from across the region had been invited on the trip to track Santa down. But would they be able to catch up with him? Of course they would!

The invitation to families was extended through Gem’s Cash for Kids, the charity of the radio station, which joined forces with Thomas Cook to give the children and their families a festive treat to remember.

Julie Macauley, Family Liaison Worker at Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People, said: “It has been a magical day for the children and their families – what a wonderful start to the Christmas season thanks to the generosity of our friends at Thomas Cook and Cash for Kids.”

Children were encouraged to sing Christmas Carols to attract Santa to the aircraft as the flight headed north – and sure enough he appeared onboard, having parked his sleigh on the roof of the jet, promising to meet families back at the airport with a special pre-Christmas gift.

Sure enough, after touching down he was waiting with a present for each of the children.

John Stratton from Gem’s Cash for Kids, added: “To see smiles on faces is priceless – and we are only too pleased to play our part with Thomas Cook Children’s Charity and East Midlands Airport staff in creating an experience to remember for the children and their families. It’s been a wonderful day!”

Rainbows families were joined by, among others, those supported by Nottingham City Council’s Early Help Services and Action for Young Carers families from the East Midlands. 

Rainbows Hospice has just launched its Christmas Appeal to put more smiles on faces and make memories for youngsters whose lives are too short.  To donate visit www.rainbows.co.uk/appeal