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Saturday, 26 October 2013

Wish Upon A Star

There is nothing as beautiful, or that makes you feel good as helping others. Now it is that time of year and and one charity that I hold close to my heart is "Wish Upon A Star " Helping making poorly and terminally ill kids dreams come true.


Star Jon  Lee from S Club 7 sings and is on hand as a volunteer  on a previous year for Dream flight  to Lap Land 

I am asking all my readers and friend's to send even a fiver to help a kids dreams come true and go and see Santa in Lap-land.  It could be some of the children's last Christmas below is my experiences with the an amazing charity as they travel to Lap Land. Please note that this is something that i wrote a few years ago but gives you a flavour as to why it's worth donating .

`Wish upon a star 


ITS is three thirty on an icy bitterly cold morning actress presenter   Denise Welch her son Louis, ‘Dancing on Ice “ hunk Matt Evers, are all wrapping in their winter  clothes, and joining five other celebrities on the route from Humberside airport  to the magical winter wonderland land of Lap- land .
 
Me Denise Welch , Carol McGiffin  in Lap Land 


For once however the soap stars and celebrities were not the main attraction on this journey. It is the children and parents who’s dreams are about to come true thanks to the “When you wish upon a star” charity and the hard work of local ladies Joanne Heywood  and Pat Wright, who help the dreams of ninety sick and terminally Ill children come true.

But mother nature has not been kind this year to our travellers and our plane can not take off from Humberside due to ice on the run way, so they have to start their journey by coach travel two hours away East Midlands.

This does nothing to dampen the spirits of Denise Welch who leads them all in a sing along.  This is the Loose Woman’s fourth year volunteering with the Charity and she would not miss it for the world .This is the first year she had brought her youngest son Louis aged nine, Louis like may of the children  on their way to lap land was born poorly , he suffered from Hirschspurg disease. This is when the nerve ending  in part of the bowel don’t form, after two operations by the age of two , he is no well .” I know what it is to have sickly child, my heart goes out to all the parents and children here today, I move hell and high water to make sure I can be here each year for the kids” 


  
Also joining her this year is all American ice-skating star Matt Evers, Denise’s partner in Dancing On Ice

 For Emmerdale actress Sophie Powles who plays Holly Barton the trip is a welcome contras from playing  the drug addicted  character . Not only has the actress had to dye her normally spectacular blonde hair dark to fit in with the rest of the family, but  in real life people are starting to think  she is the character she was recently  chase down the road by an angry man who thought she was getting money from a cash machine to buy drugs. The 22 year old is spending New Year in South Africa, but  when she lands in lap Land  she can not believe it will top her experience .

Its is her first time here with the charity “It is as if I have stepped into Narnia I feel like I am in a   dream”     Sophie gasps

 She is over whelmed by the joy on the children’s faces “ if she can make any difference in these kids day there will be no keeping me away.”

 Many of the children can be isolated for months at a time, in hospitals or at home television can be one of their only outlets, and Soap and other stars become like friends so they get so excited  about meeting them and it adds to the excitement of the day.

 
Celebrities turn out to support Wish Upon A Star with main man Santa 

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   Waterloo Road teenage heart throb Will Rush second time here in lap land 
“ I am really excited to be here again” he tells me travelling this year with fellow Waterloo road actress Darcy Isa,  

The charity fulfils the wishes of children with life threatening and terminal illness. The charity started by Barbara White in 1990 herself an M. E, sufferer. Each year its charters four planes to take 400 kids to Lapland to meet Santa in person

“ Its always a huge up lifting experience meeting the kids and their parents. Its sad but sometimes at the last minute, a child can be too ill to travel, or even worse they pass on before they get to fulfil their dream, you have to take a big breath and keep going for the kids who are there”  says Denise Welch



Once at the airport even the weakest of child confined who is confined to a wheelchairs face is a picture and when the announcement that the plane to Lap-land is ready, the cheers of excitement could fill a football pitch.

On hand is a team of medics, doctors, and volunteers to make-sure the whole day runs like a military procedure. And just to make double sure, there are team leaders from the army and fire fighters to help any child who needs a lift up or helping hand. There is even a Christmas fairy with magic dust to make sure the journey goes with out a hitch.



 Despite having a three-hour flight, there is such an air of excitement when we touch down in Lap Land none of the kids are tired. Despite loads of fresh snow ha it is minus four and the whole place look like a white blanket. Our first stop was the ‘Enchanted Forest’ the kids can hardly wait to play.

 Greeted by rabbits Trolls and other creatures from the forest, into an magical clearance full of snow and magic. Husky dogs and reindeers wait to take everyone on a ride through the forest. There are sledges, ski’s, tobogganing and snowball fights.

‘A good friend of mine asked me to get involved with the charity, and it’s a must each year for me “ Denise tells me while pulling a reindeer ride along. 





“ You might think something like this would be upsetting.  it’s up lifting and humbling , all the kids are so happy, and unbelievably well behaved. They aren’t upset, so I can’t be. I would urge anyone to join in something like this, it’s a real reality check, you’ll come away feeling lucky, I think about my nephew back home and thank my lucky stars he I  well “  Matt tells me who is heading back to Jersey for the holidays to produce a show and then one to  the Vaile Colorado for  another, before heading back to lead Denise on the ice.

 Then it is off to Santa’s village for some shopping.  Santa Claus lives in the Artic Circle for many reasons, but primarily reindeers need snow. Though Lapland is in darkness for almost most of the winter, daylight flickers at around ten and goes by two o’clock.

 Once in Santa’s village,  Kerry  buys some reindeer slippers for ha friend  and then they all go and meet Santa and pose for a group picture. Julia leads us all in a charge down the ice slide. James  goes backwards.  .

 Organiser Pat tells everyone its time to head home. Once at Rovaniemi airport the plane is on time. Any delay can mean bad news  last year  the plane froze  and it looked like they may have to stay the  night. That’s worrying, as many of the kids would have to be hospitalised.

Amazingly almost three hours later they managed to get the plane going and they headed for home.
 This year everyone is in high spirit as its on time. Once on board the flight the kids get presents from the Christmas fairy and we all sing carols.
Everyone agrees they can’t wait to come back next years. Once we arrive at Humberside airport there is just one more job for the celebrities they hand out one last present as carol singers greet us.

  “ Some of these kids today will not be with us next year. If we have helped make what little time they have left a little happier, we would walk from London through the night to get here. You cannot believe the joy these kids have brought us too”  Kerry tells me  and Elaine tell me emotionally.

There is even a tear in  Lisa’s  eyes

“ I promise not to cry it’s just been so moving and life changing experience, I so want to be here every year. It’s a joy to have helped today. Pat and Joe who organise this each year should be
on the honour list, they and the children are the stars, not us. I hope I get to come next year again.”

Cheques payable to:  When You Wish Upon A Star, 53 Pretymen Crescent, New Waltham, Grimsby, NE Lincs DN36 4NU

 Charity number is : 1060963
Telephone/Fax1472 821186/ 01472 827100
When You Wish Upon A Star
53 Pretymen Crescent
New Waltham
Grimsby
NE Lincs
DN36 4NU
Website: www.whenyouwish.org.uk
Email: joanne@whenyouwish.org.uk
Telephone: 01472 827100

www.justgiving.com/mylapland

Copyright Steven R Smith 

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