Santa trip charity to make dreams come true for even more children

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Senior office bearers of The Northern Ireland Children to Lapland and Days to Remember Trust (NICLT) have vowed to continue the legacy of the charity’s late founder, Jack Rodgers MBE, as they announced details of the December 2019 trip.

The charity fundraises to fulfil the dreams of terminally ill, life limited and deserving children by taking them to see Santa at his home in Lapland, Finland.

Gerry Kelly,  incoming president of The Northern Ireland Children to Lapland and Days to Remember Trust; Colin Barkley, the charity's new chair; Fiona Williamson, charity co-ordinator;and Lynne Rodgers, wife of the charity's late founder, Jack Rodgers MBE, and charity trustee.

Gerry Kelly, incoming president of The Northern Ireland Children to Lapland and Days to Remember Trust; Colin Barkley, the charity's new chair; Fiona Williamson, charity co-ordinator;and Lynne Rodgers, wife of the charity's late founder, Jack Rodgers MBE, and charity trustee.

Colin Barkley, the Trust’s newly appointed chair, said: “Having been a trustee of the charity since it was started over 11 years ago, I am very proud to take over as chairman. Having said that, the charity’s founder, Jack Rodgers, has left very big shoes to fill.

“In the weeks following Jack’s death earlier this year, the trustees were unanimous in their belief that the charity must not only continue, but that it should also grow and prosper even further. This would be the most fitting legacy to Jack’s vision and drive which has allowed over 1100 very special children enjoy this trip of a lifetime to date.

“We are already putting ambitious plans in place to widen the base of our fundraising efforts, both in the business community and on a localised basis. We are the only charity in the world to charter a private plane for 220 to Lapland in Finland.

“We started with a 140-seater aircraft, increasing a number of years ago to a 220-seater, and we are keen to increase that once again to a 320-seater for December 2020.”

The charity’s new president, broadcaster and journalist Gerry Kelly, said: “Like Colin, I have been involved with the Northern Ireland Children to Lapland Trust since it was first established over a decade ago. I was a very close friend of the charity’s late founder and chair, Jack Rodgers, and it was through Jack that I got involved. He was a great man - his enthusiasm and drive were contagious.

“Jack had a vision to make a difference and he made sure that he delivered on it. We are determined to make sure the legacy of Jack’s work continues.”

Discussing the trip to Lapland Mr Kelly added: “For the past few years we have been able to take the children to Santa Park in Roveniemi, the official hometown of Santa Claus on the Arctic Circle in Lapland in Finland. It is an incredible underground facility which offers just about everything the kids could wish for as well as the space outside for all of the traditional snow fun activities.”

For further information on NICLT, or to make a donation to the charity, visit www.niclt.org