Santa takes North-east kids on festive plane ride

Santa let the plane take the strain as he flew out of Aberdeen International Airport with children, their families and carers, who are supported by a cancer charity.

Resting up his reindeer – with the big day just two weeks away – St Nick teamed up with Loganair to charter a plane to whisk the 40-strong group to Shetland.

All 23 of the youngsters and their families are receiving support from CLAN Cancer Support’s Children and Families Service.

And while in the air, the children were able to have their pictures taken with Santa and his elves.

On arrival at Sumburgh Airport they were met by local families who benefit from the Children and Families Service on Shetland, and enjoyed a Christmas-themed afternoon, complete with presents and a festive lunch at the Shetland Hotel.

Tina O’Boyle, CLAN Cancer Support’s children and family service manager, said: “We are delighted to have worked closely with the Loganair team to deliver such a great opportunity for some of the children who have been supported by CLAN’s Children and Families Service during 2017.

“During the year CLAN supports around 300 children, teens and their families or carers who are affected by a cancer diagnosis throughout North-east Scotland, Moray, Orkney and Shetland.

“We work with children and their families during some of the hardest times in their lives and it is lovely to be able to share some of the happy times too.

“We have welcomed the chance to offer our youngsters the experience of being met at the airport by Santa’s elves and singing Christmas carols on a flight with Santa.

“To be a part of it with them and to share in their joy at Santa’s party in Shetland was a real privilege. I think we all had a wonderful time.”

Ms O’Boyle added: “If anyone would like to find out more about the support we provide for children and their families, they can get in touch with our wellbeing centres in Aberdeen, Inverurie, Lerwick, Kirkwall, Banchory, Elgin, Ballater and Peterhead.“

The airline announced a corporate partnership with CLAN Cancer Support in October, and has named it as the airline’s charity partner for 2018.

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Loganair commercial director Kay Ryan said: “It was a real pleasure to have CLAN Cancer Support on board for the Santa Flight to Shetland, on what is the first event in what will be an important relationship for us.

“It’s a special time of the year and we’re thrilled that Santa managed to fit us into his busy schedule.

“All of our passengers deserved their fantastic day.

“When we sat down to consider choosing a charity partner for next year, we were clear that we wanted a charity that operated in the communities where we work.

“It became obvious that CLAN was the perfect choice, linking as it does Aberdeen, where we have a main base, and Orkney and Shetland, where we have stations and have provided lifeline services for many years.”