Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 15.34.26CHRISTMAS has come early for one lucky family in Sunderland who will be getting the VIP treatment throughout the festive season.

As part of their summer events programme, WEAR all bonkers here, Sunderland BID ran a special competition for the city’s visitors, which gave families the chance to win a package of festive treats and experiences.

Father of two, Keith Lawler – who lives with his family in Monkwearmouth, Sunderland – won the VIP Christmas Experience, he said, “We’re so excited to have won this prize, it’s given the kids plenty to look forward to during the holidays and it will help us to make this Christmas absolutely amazing for them.”

The prize included a free pass to Sunderland’s Frost Village and Winter Fair at Keel Square, tickets for Aladdin – which is this year’s pantomime – at the Sunderland Empire Theatre, a free visit to Santa’s Grotto at the Bridges with free parking and a £50 gift card and a cut and blow dry – for a family of four – and £50 worth of beauty treatments at Estrella Hair and Beauty.

The festive package also included a festive afternoon tea at the National Glass Centre, a Marks & Spencer Christmas hamper and festive afternoon tea at the Sunderland Marriott Hotel on Christmas Eve.

“We’re delighted to be able to give Keith and his family an early Christmas gift,” said Ken Dunbar, chief executive of Sunderland BID.

“And the competition offered us a great opportunity to showcase the amazing programme of festive activities in Sunderland.

“We have some really exciting thing going on throughout December, including our special Frost Village and our fantastic outdoor ice rink.”

“We really hope that everybody will come along and celebrate the festive season with us.”

Both the WEAR all bonkers here summer event, which celebrated the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s novel Alice in Wonderland, and the Christmas events in Sunderland are designed to attract families to the city and increase the amount of time people are spending in the area.

For more information about Christmas in Sunderland please visit http://www.experienceithere.co.uk/christmas.