When You Wish Upon a Star: 30th Lapland Trip


The renowned charity ‘When You Wish Upon a Star‘ recently celebrated its 30th annual trip to Lapland, bringing joy to 70 children facing life-threatening illnesses.

This marked the first flight of the wish plane since the onset of the pandemic, providing a magical escape for sick children and their families from the routine of doctors’ appointments and hospital tests to the enchanting setting of the North Pole.

Over the years, the charity has made dreams come true for more than 2,000 children by taking them to meet Santa in his hometown of Rovaniemi, located in the Arctic Circle.

The airport became a hub of excitement as the children and their families were welcomed by celebrities, airside crafts, performances, and delightful treats before even boarding the privately chartered plane. Departing directly from East Midlands Airport, the flight took them to the Arctic Circle for a day filled with enchantment.

Upon landing in Lapland, everyone was transported to an enchanted forest where they enjoyed husky rides, sledging, snowmobiling, and the warmth of toasting marshmallows around a campfire. The day concluded with a spectacular firework display before the highlight – a visit to Father Christmas. The smiles on the faces of the children and their families reflected the success of this heart warming initiative.

lapland trip - When you Wish Upon a Star

Kayla Limb who visited with her child Nancy, who is living with a life-threatening heart condition said “We were blown away with how special and thoughtfully planned the day was. The girls loved every minute and so did we. These memories will give us smiles even on the times when we don’t feel like there’s much to smile about. It really was the best warm up to Christmas the girls could ever have.

Lioness and Queen of the Jungle Jill Scott, who joined the trip said The work wish upon a star do is incredible! I had the most magical trip to Lapland and to see so many smiles on so many children’s faces despite what they are going through was one of the best experiences of my life! Waited 36 years to meet the real Santa and he didn’t disappoint! Huskey rides, hot chocolate, football in Lapland I feel so lucky! Life is about making memories, and this was a trip I will never forget.”

Also on the trip was Jodie Prenger, Ash Palmisciano, Sue Clever, Jeremy Spake and Rhys Stephenson.

CEO of the charity Anita Cleugh said “We are so pleased that we have been able to return to Rovaniemi for our 30th trip. This year’s visit is particularly important to us being the first since the first since the pandemic hit, meaning we can finally get back to giving the incredible families we support their own trip of a lifetime.”

Emmerdale star Ash Palmisciano said “Everyone was smiling from ear to ear – it was just magical! The children and their families have faced the most impossible stresses and challenges and seeing the joy and happiness the charity created was unbelievably touching and inspiring. One family told me it was the opportunity of a lifetime, and they’d never forget it! Charities like When You Wish Upon a Star, really are life changing.”

About the Charity

When You Wish Upon a Star has a simple mission, to grant the Wishes of children living with a life threatening illness. The charity was founded in 1990, by Barbara White OBE who was so inspired by a seriously ill four-year-old with a dream to meet Mickey Mouse that she wanted to bring smiles to the faces of many more brave and courageous children. We have proudly granted over 18000 Wishes across the UK since we began.

We believe every child deserves to smile and with your support we can provide time away, giving children and their families something to look forward to through times of uncertainty and often financial as well as emotional strain. Wishes and Treats allow the family to put their child’s illness on hold as they have fun and create precious memories.

As a non-government funded Charity, we rely solely on awareness and following to generate donations and legacies to allow us to continue our work. In our 33 years of service, we have reached over 19,000 Wish Children and with ongoing support we can continue to offer wishes and treats to families at a very emotional and challenging time in their lives.

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