THE real Finnish Santa Claus has taken some time out of his busy schedule during the run up to Christmas to pay a visit to the Children and Young Adults Unit at St Oswald’s Hospice.

Accompanied by representatives from the Finnish Embassy, who organised his visit, Santa has traveled all the way from Finland to spread some festive cheer and deliver gifts to children with life-shortening conditions staying at the Hospice.

Jocelyn Thompson, Children and Young Adults Service Matron at St Oswald’s Hospice, said: “The families we support are often under extreme stress and pressure due to the complex needs of their children. At Christmas it’s no different, and some of the children we care for have even spent past Christmases in hospital. Because of this, it makes visits like this extra special.

“We are so grateful to Santa and his helpers from the Finnish Embassy for organising this visit. At St Oswald’s we aim to create special memories for the children we care for, and this visit was a fantastic way to get us all in to the festive spirit.”

Geoffrey Berriman, Honorary Consul of Finland in Newcastle upon Tyne, said: “The real Father Christmas comes to the UK all the way from Finnish Lapland every year and this year we were asked if he could visit Newcastle, and I thought it was a great idea. It has been an absolutely marvellous visit to St Oswald’s, we’re very pleased to have met the children and everyone else at the hospice. Thank you to St Oswald’s for making us feel so welcome.”

St Oswald’s provides a Children and Young Adults Service caring for young people from birth to aged 25 with life-shortening conditions from Newcastle, Gateshead, Northumberland, North Tyneside, Sunderland, South Tyneside and Durham.