Visiting Santa – we have lift-off!

Children and parents set off from Days of Sunshine to search for Santa.
Children and parents set off from Days of Sunshine to search for Santa.
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Deserving children from across the Fylde coast enjoyed the trip of a lifetime as they were paid a mid-air visit by Father Christmas.

St Annes-based charity Day of Sunshine, alongside mobile phone company O2, organised a plane journey for more than 120 children, to travel towards the North Pole, with a special visit from Santa Claus.

Children from families at Weeton Barracks and others from St Annes were the lucky youngsters picked for the journey, with the idea inspired by Day of Sunshine founder David Lee.

He said the trip was important for Fylde children and hoped it gave them a Christmas to remember.

He added: “We chartered a plane from Manchester Airport, a 178-seater, sending about 130 children from the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment at Weeton as well as deserving kiddies from St Annes.

“We flew up heading for the North Pole, but we were ‘diverted’ and couldn’t land because of the snowy weather.

“Instead Father Christmas beamed aboard with presents for the kids.

“They loved it and were so happy to see him.

“Every child got a present and an experience they will never forget.”

The heart-warming trip nearly didn’t get off the ground after the original flight provider pulled out at the last minute – but David praised the help of O2 for making sure the children didn’t miss out on meeting Santa.

He added: “It’s taken some organising – it was my idea to do something for the local kids.

“There’s nothing really for the kiddies to enjoy and I felt they deserved a treat.

“When the staff at O2 heard what we had planned they approached us to help out, while Monarch airlines provided a plane.

“I must thank Rachel Robinson. It cost in the region of £8,000 to £9,000 to charter the plane so we were extremely grateful.”