Today might be one of his busiest days of the year, but Santa Claus took some time out of his hectic festive schedule to make a big entrance at Wales’ hospice for children, Tŷ Hafan.
With a little help from the Wales Air Ambulance Charity, Santa swapped his sleigh for the recognisable red and green helicopter for the sixth time, and flew into the Sully-based hospice to surprise the children, families and staff with an extra special visit.
The crowds, who had just enjoyed a performance of Tŷ Hafan’s Christmas pantomime, gathered outside of the hospice in anticipation after hearing the whirring of the helicopter landing on the hospice gardens.
After delivering gifts to the children and their siblings, Santa explained:
“It was wonderful to see all the children’s faces when they spotted me in the helicopter. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all the staff and families and delivering some early Christmas presents.”
He added: “I think it’s important that I make a special effort and arrive in style for these inspiring children who deserve a special festive lift.”
Daisy and Stacey were among those surprised by Santa’s special entrance.
Majella O’Mahony, mum of Daisy and Stacey, said:
“Waiting for the helicopter to land was so exciting. There are always such fun activities happening at the hospice but this has to be one of the best yet!
“I’ve been staying this weekend along with my daughter, Daisy, who is cared for at the hospice and my other daughter, Stacey, who also gets to enjoy a little break at Tŷ Hafan. We’ve been coming to the hospice for about three years now and we’re so grateful for the support we receive each time.
“Making memories with Daisy is so important to us, so moments like this with Santa are ones that we’ll treasure forever.”
Tracy Jones, Tŷ Hafan’s head of community services and partnerships, said:
“For many of the life-limited children and young people we care for, they don’t have the option to visit Santa’s Grotto out in the community, so this visit in partnership with Wales Air Ambulance is truly magical and enables Santa to bring his grotto to the children.”
Wales Air Ambulance medic Jez James escorted Santa to Tŷ Hafan. He explained:
“I work on board the Children’s Wales Air Ambulance and we usually spend our time taking poorly young Welsh babies and children to the special care that they need in hospitals across the UK. To have Santa on board our helicopter and to see him deliver so much joy to young people at Tŷ Hafan is wonderful.”
Santa added: “Tŷ Hafan is an amazing place and some of the families will be staying there over Christmas so they won’t be home to get all their presents this year.
“Thank you to the Wales Air Ambulance for giving me a lift to the hospice – they’re even faster than my reindeer!”
If you would like to support Tŷ Hafan this Christmas and make a donation, you can find out more about the ‘Fit For Future’ appeal to refurbish the hospice by visiting: www.tyhafan.org/fitforfuture #FitForFuture