Katie has special Christmas with Santa Claus in Lapland

TEN-year-old Katie McBarron and her mother Maria received a special Christmas present when they were flown over to Lapland to have a private meeting with Santa Claus.

Since it’s establishment in 2008 by Gerry Kelly and Colin Barkley, the ‘NI Children to Lapland and Days to Remember Trust’ offers 100 children who are living with life-limiting medical conditions the chance to visit magical Lapland, bask in the festive spirit, and have a special chat with the big man himself.

On December 21, 100 children along with their parents, and a specialist team made up of Trust medics, nurses and carers departed from Belfast International Airport at 5am in the morning, where they were welcomed into the departure lounge by the Choir Studio from Newry, Down.


The TUI Airways flight to Northern Finland took three hours, before they arrived at their special location of Rovaniemi, under the Arctic Circle.

The children got to enjoy an all-inclusive day trip which included rides on reindeers and husky dogs, sledging, a visit to the elves workshop, as well as a walk through Mrs Claus’ gingerbread bakery factory.

This was the first year that the trip to Lapland was permitted since the Covid-19 pandemic began back in 2020.

“We were delighted to be able to resume our trip to Lapland this Christmas and create memories with some of the most deserving children here and their families,” said visit organiser Gerry Kelly.

“The Northern Ireland Children to Lapland Trust relies solely on donations and fundraising drives and we are so grateful to our donors, supporters and corporate partners who have empathised greatly and reflected those higher costs pressures on us through their contributions. Without them our trip to Lapland this year would not be happening.”

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