When you wish upon The Star your Christmas dreams come true – just ask Steph Isaacs and grandson Callum Francis who we flew to Lapland to meet the real Santa, writes Graham Walker
Grandma Steph, of Handsworth, Sheffield, won the amazing trip of a lifetime in one of our free draw competitions.
The excited pair went on a six-hour return flight to Enontekio, a remote snow covered wilderness location in Finland.
There they were given souvenir Lapland passports and issued with thermal suits and boots, to keep them warm in freezing conditions, before they got to ride snowmobiles, husky and reindeer sleighs to Santa’s Wonderland.
They marvelled at giant ice sculptures, including snow bears, sea creatures, a Mr and Mrs Claus and a huge walk-in igloo. There was even time for a friendly snowball fight with Santa’s elves.
But the most magical moment was finding Santa’s cabin and meeting the big fella himself.
Sitting next to a log fire and trimmed up Christmas tree, Santa sat seven-year-old Callum on his knee and told him all about how he was preparing to deliver gifts to children around the world.
He gave the youngster a special present but asked what he also wanted him to bring.
Callum, a Year 3 pupil at Handsworth’s Ballifield Primary School, asked for a Nintendo Wii U video console and games.
But before they left he gave Santa a present – a hand warmer, to help him beat the cold as he flies his reindeer around the globe.
“It was fantastic. I want to thank my Nanan for winning and taking me – I love her so much,” said Callum.
The Star teamed up with Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield and travel firm Transun to offer the magical day trip.
Steph told how they made the journey home in time for supper with a lifetime of memories. Callum’s parents, care support worker Lisa Bamforth, 34, and welder Justin, 39, bought a video camera, especially for Steph to capture the magic.
“We had a Christmas trip of a lifetime thanks to The Star,” said Steph, of Handsworth, a voluntary worker for a Sheffield-based women’s project called KeyChanges, helping former women prisoners back into society.
* For details of Transun specialist trips visit www.transun.co.uk/winter-wonderland or call 01865 265200.