A CHARITY carnival held as a 'thank you' to the Neston community for 30 years of support has been hailed a huge success.
More than 5,500 people flocked to the event, which was organised by children’s charity Northern Lights which is based in the town.
The fun day, held at Neston Cricket Club in Parkgate, also helped to raise awareness for the charity as well as raising thousands of pounds.
Northern Lights enables hundreds of children with life-limiting illnesses to experience holidays of a lifetime. The charity says its incredible achievements would not have been possible without the help and support of the local community.
More than 500 children have enjoyed special trips, mainly to Lapland, since the charity was set up in 1987 – with more than £800,000 being raised during that time.
The carnival saw Neston Cricket Club transformed with more than 70 stalls including crafts, street food, re-enactment history displays, police and fire brigade and a vintage caravan photo booth, as well as performers and musicians.
Among those attending the carnival was little James Hart, nine, from Irby, Wirral. James, who suffers from type 1 diabetes, enjoyed a magical trip to Lapland in December 2016 thanks to Northern Lights.
James, who was at the carnival with his family and cockerpoo Ted, said: “It was amazing at Lapland, I loved it. I saw Father Christmas, reindeer and the elf academy.”
James’ dad David Hart said: “Northern Lights charity is absolutely fantastic and we can’t thank them enough. James has had a tough time in and out of hospital since he was diagnosed when he was just six.
“When James went off to Lapland we were a bit nervous but we received regular updates and a film of James’ experiences which is a wonderful thing to have.”
Karen Jones, chair of Northern Lights, a recipient of a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, said: “We have been blown away by the success of the carnival. Our aim was to offer a heartfelt thanks to the local community for their support during the past three decades and we put on a show that everyone really enjoyed.
“It was good to see families, often three generations, taking time out and relaxing in the sunshine.”
Karen added: “We are very proud to have created so many happy memories for children and their families during the last 30 years. It’s great to watch the children’s faces light up with pleasure as they are being whisked along on sleds pulled by huskies and reindeer, driven around on snowmobiles, tobogganing and being presented with presents by the ‘real’ Father Christmas.
“It’s also very special when the children return from Lapland to spend Christmas with their families, with so many amazing stories to tell about their time away.”
To find out more or even volunteer your support visit www.northernlightscharity.org.uk
See full story in the Chester Leader