From left, Colin Barkley, chair, Northern Ireland Children to Lapland and Days to Remember Trust (NICTL); Zoe Dunlop, director, Bushmills Inn; Raymond Pollock MBE, Trustee, NICTL; and Alan Walls, manager, Bushmills Inn.
Bushmills Inn has announced the Northern Ireland Children to Lapland and Days to Remember Trust will be one of the hotel’s nominated charities for the next three years.
“We have been fundraising for the Northern Ireland Children to Lapland and Days to Remember Trust for the last three years,” said Alan Walls, manager, Bushmills Inn. “The charity fundraises to fulfil the dreams of terminally ill, life limited and deserving children by taking them to see Santa at his home in Lapland, Finland and creating magical memories that their families can treasure forever.
“In the last three years, thanks to the hotel’s generous donations and the support of our customers, we have raised over £15,700 to help the charity with its invaluable work. We have seen the difference that we can make and are delighted to formalise our support through a three-year fundraising partnership. It is such a deserving cause and we hope to further raise awareness of the charity’s work and in the process generate even more funds to make the dreams of many more children come true.”
Raymond Pollock MBE, trustee, Northern Ireland Children to Lapland and Days to Remember Trust, welcomed the announcement: “The Bushmills Inn has been supporting the charity for the last three years and they have raised a significant amount, making a huge difference to the lives of deserving, terminally and long-term ill children.
“The fact that they have announced they will be working to raise even more funds for the charity for the next three years is fantastic news. We are extremely grateful to the Bushmills Inn and to all of their patrons.”
The Northern Ireland Children to Lapland and Days to Remember Trust’s next trip to Lapland is scheduled to take place on December 17. Around 100 children who are nominated by health workers based throughout all of the paediatric departments and hospitals in Northern Ireland will make the journey. They will be accompanied by doctors, nurses and allied health professionals who give up their own time to volunteer to ensure the children can experience a magical time of memories.
In Northern Ireland, at any given time, there are approximately 1,500 children suffering from a terminal illness or life limiting illness.
Discussing the important role that the charity plays in creating magical memories for life limited children Colin Barkley, the Trust’s chair, said: “Fundraising is at the core of everything we do. The simple fact is that the more money we raise, the more children we can help and at the end of the day this is what we are here to do. To date over 1,100 very special local children have enjoyed the trip of a lifetime to Lapland.
“We are the only charity in the world to charter a private plane for 220 to Lapland in Finland. We started with a 140-seater aircraft, increasing a number of years ago to a 220-seater, and we are keen to increase that once again to a 320-seater for December 2020.”
The charity’s president, broadcaster and journalist Gerry Kelly, encouraged people to support the fundraising efforts: “The charity’s concept is simple, to give ‘terminally ill, life-limited and deserving children’ the trip of a lifetime, to meet Santa Claus, at his home in Lapland, in the run up to Christmas,” he said. “For the past few years, we have been able to take the children to Santa Park in Roveniemi, the official hometown of Santa Claus on the Arctic Circle in Lapland in Finland. It is an incredible underground facility which offers just about everything the kids could wish for as well as the space outside for all of the traditional ‘snow fun’ activities.
“The fantastic fun-packed day includes reindeer and husky dog rides; mini skidoo adventures; snow mobile safari; and magic sleigh rides which are all brought in exclusively to the resort for our children. Other highlights include Mrs Claus Gingerbread Bakery; Santa’s office; Ice Gallery; Crossing the Arctic Circle; Angry Birds activity area; elf school and workshop; elves’ post office; and a private meeting with Santa Claus in his grotto! It is truly a magical day.”
The Northern Ireland Children to Lapland and Days to Remember Trust does not receive any government or national funding. It is totally reliant on donations. Trips are made possible by the generosity of many individuals and companies.
For further information on NICLT, or to make a donation to the charity, please visit www.niclt.org.