Ho, ho, ho! Christmas is about to come early for Sheffield seven-year-old Callum Francis thanks to The Star – he’s off to see Santa in Lapland, writes Graham Walker.
Lucky grandmother Steph Isaacs won the festive trip of a lifetime for two in our free draw.
And today she held back tears of joy as excited Callum gave her a loving hug and told us: “I want to thank my Nanan for winning and taking me – I love her so much.”
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our video report.
Callum, a Year 3 pupil at Handsworth’s Ballifield Primary School, is now offering to take letters from all his friends to make sure they definitely reach the real Santa this year.
He’ll be asking for a Nintendo Wii U video console and games. But first he will deliver a gift to Father Christmas – he’s bought him a hand warmer.
Steph, of Handsworth, who has three children, six grandchildren and a great-grandchild, said it was an easy choice to pick Callum – the others are older, other than his new five-month-old baby brother, Noah.
“My 17-year-old grandson wasn’t happy though, until I told him that would look right good in The Star, at his age going to see Father Christmas with his Nanan,” she laughed.
Steph, a voluntary worker for a Sheffield-based women’s project called KeyChanges, helping former women prisoners back into society, said: “I think I screamed when I was told I had won. I just couldn’t believe it.
Things like this don’t usually happen to people like us.
“I don’t think we’ll stop talking about it until next Christmas.”
The Star teamed up with Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield and travel firm Transun to offer this magical day trip.
Callum beamed as Steph explained the prize includes return flights from the airport to Enontekio, a remote wilderness location in Finland.
They will be issued with thermal suits and boots, plus a souvenir Lapland passport, before the chance to ride snowmobiles, husky sleds and reindeer sleighs, then meet Santa in his woodland cabin.
Also included is a gift for children, free souvenirs, two course lunch and snow activities, including tobogganing, snowballing and snowman-making.
Then it’s home in time for supper – with a lifetime of stories to tell family and friends.
Callum, also of Handsworth, told The Star: “I’m really excited. It’s going to be fantastic to meet the real Santa. That’s going to be the best bit.
“I can’t wait to get out there and build a snowman and throw snowballs at my Nanan. I’ll make an igloo if we have time.”
Callum’s mum and dad, care support worker Lisa Bamforth, 34, and welder Justin, 39, said: “Having a new baby means this Christmas was always going to be special. But meeting Santa is going to be something Callum will also remember forever.”
For full details of specialist trips visit www.transun.co.uk/winter-wonderland or call 01865 265200.