EMA helps Christmas dreams come true


Next week, East Midlands Airport (EMA) will help make Christmas dreams come true for 70 children with life-threatening illnesses as it becomes a gateway to Lapland.


National charity When You Wish Upon A Star has teamed up with the airport for the 30th time – and the first time since the Covid pandemic - to allow children and their families to leave doctors’ appointments and hospital tests behind for a magical chance to travel to the North Pole and meet Father Christmas.

It’s one of a series of activities EMA is involved in to bring joy to young and old in its neighbouring communities over the festive period. Local children have already received gifts and a trip to the panto, while on Sunday (10 December) EMA volunteers will be helping local community group One Kegworth to provide Christmas afternoon tea for over 75s at the village hall in Kegworth, followed by Santa arriving on the airport’s fire trucks with gifts for children at Kegworth Primary, Cobden Primary in Loughborough and Brackenfield SEN school in Long Eaton on Thursday 14, Friday 15 and Wednesday 20 December respectively.

For the flight to Lapland, from the moment children and their families arrive at the airport, their day is filled with fun – from airside crafts, performances, and treats – before even embarking on the flight. A private charter of two planes, affords 70 children and their families this day away, flying them directly to the arctic circle from EMA. Once landed in Lapland, everyone is transported to visit an enchanted forest for husky rides, sledging, snowmobiling and toasting marshmallows around a campfire while watching a spectacular firework display before heading to see Father Christmas.

East Midlands Airport’s Managing Director, Steve Griffiths, said: “Our staff are always here to help people create happy memories, so they naturally warm to volunteering for our programme of Christmas activities.

“We’re particularly delighted to once again be helping When You Wish Upon A Star with their flight to Lapland and the families they are supporting. It’s wonderful to think about all the happy memories these flights have created over the years for families facing such sad situations.

“Our staff love to get involved with helping to make the experience really special for the children and their families and we look forward to being the gateway to Lapland and an unforgettable chance for them to meet Santa.”

CEO of the When You Wish Upon A Star charity, Anita Cleugh, said: “We are so excited to be heading back to Rovaniemi for our 30th trip. This year’s visit is particularly important to us as it is the first trip we have made since the pandemic hit, meaning we can finally get back to giving the incredible families we support their own trip of a lifetime.”