A YOUNGSTER with a rare brain disorder was invited to help switch on the Christmas lights at the Cheshire Oaks retail park.
Charlie McIntyre, aged six, was diagnosed with lissencephaly when he was just four months old and requires round-the-clock care.
He and his family were due to flick the switch on the park’s walk-in Christmas tree, hailed as the largest of its kind in Europe, on Wednesday evening.
Santa and Charlie McIntyre, 6, switch on the Christmas tree lights at Cheshire Oaks
Charlie has been receiving help from Claire House Children’s Hospice, which teamed up with Cheshire Oaks’ owners McArthurGlen.
Charlie’s mum, Shirley McIntyre, said: “Claire House provide amazing, around-the-clock care and give families a break when most needed. Charlie is comfortable there and well looked after; the staff are so good with him.
Pictures by Simon Warburton / NWN Media
“The whole ethos of Claire House is to help create precious memories for the families that use the hospice and its services, and this partnership is doing just that.”
Charlie and his family were invited to enjoy a fun-filled day at Cheshire Oaks with dinner at Giraffe, an exclusive trip to Charlie’s favourite store, Build A Bear, a meet Santa in his grotto and receive gifts to take home; all finished with Charlie pushing the button to turn on the lights to the outlet’s 100ft Christmas tree.
Shirley added: “It’s going to be lovely from start to finish. We don’t get time to do much like this as a family, so it’s going to be such a treat.
“Charlie loves anything sensory so being able to touch the soft toys in Build a Bear and see the lights twinkle on the tree will really make his year.”
Kenny Murray, centre manager at Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet, said: “We are delighted to welcome Charlie and his family to switch on the lights this year.
“Charlie and his family, like many other families at the hospice fully deserve a day like this to be completely spoilt and spend time with loved ones, and we’re very happy to provide that opportunity.
“With over £40,000 raised for a variety of charities over the years, we are proud to be partnering with Claire House Children’s Hospice for 2016 and hope to help them raise a significant amount for their incredible cause.”
See full story in the Chester Leader