Families were left spellbound after seeing their local children’s hospice transformed into a magical winter wonderland.
The festivities were organised by East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) and took place at The Nook, in Framingham Earl, near Norwich, on Saturday and The Treehouse, in Ipswich, on Sunday.
Families that use the hospices were invited along and enjoyed hundreds of sparkling fairy lights, a snow machine, stroking miniature donkeys – Jack the Shetland pony proved a star attraction at The Nook – being entertained by ukulele-playing elves and meeting Father Christmas.
There were also fun activities, like finding presents hidden within the grounds that cheeky elves had thrown from Santa’s sleigh.
As a thank you for attending, each family left with a gingerbread house kit donated by Norfolk and Suffolk Police.
Visitors were able to soak up the atmosphere while enjoying a hot chocolate, mince pies and sausage rolls.
“They were truly magical days,” said EACH Groups and Events Coordinator Madi Wright.
“Both events went well and we’ve had lovely feedback from families, who said how much they enjoyed their afternoon.
“I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who came and all the staff and volunteers who gave up their time to ensure things ran smoothly.
“We wouldn’t have been able to do it without them and together we created a very special festive atmosphere, getting everyone in the mood for Christmas.”
Both outdoor events took place within the hospice gardens and families booked up for certain time slots, with four or five arriving every 30 minutes between 3.30pm and 6.30pm.
AstraZeneca kindly supported EACH’s Christmas Calendar of Care as part of their Cambridge Charity of the Year programme, bringing fun and festive cheer to children and families across the region.
“QD provided Christmas trees for the Norfolk hospice and Highways Garden Centre, in Norwich, provided great customer care to provide us with the lights,” added Madi.
“BT engineers gave up their time to help put up the lights in readiness for The Treehouse event and there was also a generous donation from the East of England Co-op and Riverstone Management.
“In addition, ICL Plant Nutrition and Beacon Farm donated Christmas trees to The Treehouse.
“All the donations were very gratefully received and our sincere thanks go to the companies and individuals that supported us.
“Both days couldn’t have gone any better and we had 26 families – 103 people – join us for some festive fun at The Nook.
“A further 32 families – 132 people – then came along the following day at The Treehouse.
“We’re already looking forward to next year and doing it all over again.
“As ever, we’d love to hear from anyone who might be interested in helping and supporting us. Anyone wishing to get in touch can email firstname.lastname@example.org”