'Most magic day of the year' ​Terminally ill children go on a trip to see Santa in Lapland

'Most magic day of the year' ​Terminally ill children go on a trip to see Santa in Lapland

Terminally ill children visit Santa for the day

GB News
Gabrielle Wilde

By Gabrielle Wilde

Published: 19/12/2023

- 15:40

Terminally ill children go on trip to see Santa in Lapland

More than 100 children from across Northern Ireland had their 'most magical day of the year' after they went to visit Santa in Lapland.

The annual trip is set up by Cancer Trust and it's an opportunity for children with a terminal or chronic illness and their families to make some very special memories.

The children and their families (as well as the support staff, including doctors and nurse) checked into Belfast International Airport from 5am this morning, December 19th.

GB News Northern Ireland reporter Dougie Beattie went to the airport today and chatted with Gerry Kelly from the Northern Ireland Children to Lapland trust.

100 well deserving children got on a plane to lapland

GB News

Kelly said: "This will be my 15th trip now to Lapland. The charity was set up in 2008.

"Sorry, 13th trip because for two years during COVID we didn't do it. We set up in 2008, we take over 100 children every year on a very special day to Lapland.

"All these children have a chronic illness. Some of them have a terminal illness, some of them can't come to Lapland because it's too cold.

"So we do other things throughout the year, but this is our big, big day. When I say a plane load I mean it is full of over 200 with nurses and doctors and parents and the kids and we spend one day seeing Santa Claus, it's the most magic day of the year."

Nurses, doctors and parents joined them for the magical day

GB News

Speaking about the organisation of the event Kelly said: "It is quite a hard thing to organize. It's very expensive to organize for a start and we are a voluntary charity. We rely totally on the goodwill of the of the community.

"So it costs about £120,000 each year to take the plane up and to take us into the centre, and that we do fundraising all year round.

"The logistics of getting 200 people on board at this time in the morning with 20-30 wheelchairs is enormous, but we're used to it by now.

"As I say, this is our 15th year at it, so we're well used to it."

The event is organised by Cancer Trust

GB News

The heartwarming charity was established in 2008 by Larne man Jack Rodgers.

The Northern Ireland Children to Lapland Trust has transported more than 1,000 terminally ill and life-limited children to Santa Park in Roveniemi, the official hometown of Santa Claus on the Arctic Circle in Lapland, Finland.

Every child on the trip is nominated by a Northern Ireland health care professional.

A lot of the doctors and nurse travel on the flight and escort children and their families around the resort for the magical day.

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