Glens of Antrim Potatoes has teamed up with the Northern Ireland Children to Lapland and Days To Remember Trust in a three-year partnership that will help the charity bring hundreds of local children with terminal illnesses and life-limiting conditions to experience the festive magic of Lapland.
The new collaboration adds to the support Glens of Antrim Potatoes has already given the charity since they joined forces in 2012. Over this time the potato producer has raised approximately £35,000 for the NI Children to Lapland and Days to Remember Trust (NICTLT).
The charity, which was set up ten years ago, has transported over a thousand terminally ill children and those with life-limiting conditions, to Santa Park in Roveniemi, the official hometown of Santa Claus on the Arctic Circle in Lapland in Finland. Its next trip is scheduled for mid December when over 100 children will be gifted with an experience to remember.
The new three-year partnership between Glens of Antrim Potatoes and NICTLT is a bittersweet announcement for Michael McKillop, Managing Director of Glens of Antrim Potatoes, who was a close friend to the founder of the charity, the late Jack Rodgers MBE who passed away earlier this year.
Mr McKillop said: “The NI Children to Lapland and Days To Remember Trust is a very special organisation that makes a difference to vulnerable children here who face big battles everyday alongside their families. It is an honour for us to get behind such a great cause and inject a bit of magic and joy at Christmas time for those who deserve it most.
“Glens of Antrim Potatoes has been playing a role at the dinner table in many homes here. Family is at the core of our brand and so to connect with a charity that has family experiences at its heart makes perfect sense.
“The work that Jack Rodgers dedicated to his charity leaves a philanthropic legacy that we are only too happy to help continue.”
The charity’s next trip to Lapland will take place on December 17, 2019, when over 100 children, nominated by health workers throughout all the paediatric departments in hospitals here, will travel to Lapland.
They will be accompanied by doctors, nurses and allied health professionals who give up their own time to volunteer to ensure the children can experience the wonder of Christmas surrounded by expert health workers.
Colin Barkley, the new Chair of NI Children to Lapland and Days To Remember Trust, said: “We are extremely grateful to Glens of Antrim Potatoes for all the support they have given us and the funds they have raised to date for the charity. This pledge to support us for a further three years will not just help us continue Jack Rodgers’ work but will also grow the charity.
“Our charity fulfils dreams and creates memories to treasure forever and with committed support we can make plans to give more and more children the gift of a Lapland visit. The simple fact is that the more money we raise, the more children we can help. We started with a 140-seater aircraft when we launched the charity ten years ago and in December will make the trip to Finland in a plane that can hold 220 passengers. We want to keep increasing that number.”
Children travelling on this year’s trip will experience a fun-packed day that includes reindeer and husky dog rides, mini skidoo adventures, a snow mobile safari and magic sleigh rides as well as meeting Santa Claus himself.
The Northern Ireland Children to Lapland and Days to Remember Trust’s next fundraising event is A Walk to Scotland on Sunday 17 November 2019.
Charity supporters will join charity President, Gerry Kelly, aboard the Stena Superfast ship as it sails from Belfast to Scotland. Each walker is asked to raise around £100 of sponsorship and will walk around a designated circuit aboard the ship. A number of places are also available for non-walkers and a cabaret show starring the magician Rodd Hogg and Fiddler Adam will provide entertainment on the return journey.
For further information on NI Children to Lapland and Days To Remember Trust, or The Walk To Scotland fundraiser, please visit www.niclt.org