Annual Aer Lingus Regional Santa Flight touches down at London Southend Airport
30th November 2012
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The youngsters are from Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin in Dublin, and this is the twelfth year that airline staff have organised a festive day out for a group of young patients along with their parents, siblings and carers. For 2012, they have selected Aer Lingus Regional’s newest base – London Southend – as their destination.

The group will arrive in Essex just after 11am on the Aer Lingus Regional Santa Express with Father Christmas and his helpers. A festively festooned double decker bus – kindly provided by First Group – will be waiting to whisk them off to the seafront. On the way they’ll be enjoying their first taste of Southend - a tub of the town’s favourite Rossi Ice Cream, handed out to them by staff in traditional ice cream sellers outfits.  

Arriving at the seafront, the youngsters will take the train up the world’s longest pleasure pier to visit the new Cultural Centre. Once there, Father Christmas will spend time with each of the children, handing them their presents.

After the train ride back down the pier it is straight into Feelgoods Pizza, Pasta, Play at Adventure Island for a delicious, buffet lunch, before the bus ride back to London Southend Airport. On arrival there will be one final surprise – a teddy bear for each of the children, a gift from the locally founded TLC Appeal (Teddies for Loving Care) presented to each of them by some TLC volunteers, some in Ted costumes, along with a 5ft tall ‘teddy bear’! The flight back home to Dublin will take off at around 4pm.

London Southend Airport Managing Director Alastair Welch says “We are absolutely delighted that Aer Lingus has picked London Southend – out of its many destinations - for its annual Santa flight. We are really looking forward to welcoming the group here and showing them a fantastic Essex day out. Of course none of this would be possible without the very kind assistance that has been given by the First Group, Feelgoods Restaurant, Rossi Ice Cream and Southend Council. We’d like to thank them for helping us make this a truly special day out for the children.”

Geraldine Regan, Deputy CEO and Director of Nursing at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin said that “Having a child with a serious illness puts a lot of strain on families, particularly at this time of year. The Aer Lingus Regional Santa Express is a truly magical fun day out for the children and their families.   I would like to sincerely thank all of the staff and volunteers from Aer Lingus Regional and London Southend airport for making this day possible for the children and their families and for their on-going support to the hospital.”

Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Aer Arann’s, Liam Lalor said “The company and employees look forward to the annual Aer Lingus Regional Santa Express each year. Now in its 12th year, the Aer Lingus Regional Santa Express is an important flight in our annual schedule. We are delighted to fly children and their families on the Santa Express to ensure they see Santa on time and give him their Christmas list.”

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Claire T

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