A child’s Lapland wish is granted thanks to Grantham bank Lloyds TSB

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A dream will come true for one terminally ill child thanks to the incredible efforts of a team of warm-hearted staff.

Colleagues at Grantham’s Lloyds TSB branch have donated £900 to the Journal Children’s Fund: Christmas Cracker Appeal – the exact amount needed to send a poorly child and guardian to Lapland at Christmas.

Reaching this milestone means that a place is now secured on a flight leaving East Midlands Airport on December 10 and heading towards the winter wonderland.

The Christmas Cracker Appeal is being run by the Journal in conjunction with national charity When You Wish Upon A Star, and aims to send 10 children with terminal or life-limiting illnesses to meet Father Christmas. It is a chance to escape their condition and enjoy a magical trip.

Half of the £900 was raised by staff who hopped aboard an exercise bike in the bank window and cycled a total of 220km. Lloyds TSB matched the amount raised.

Bank manager Peter Crane said: “I was truly inspired by the effort put into the day and so proud that my team here at Lloyds TSB in Grantham have been able to make a poorly child’s dream come true.”

Members of staff - and even a handful of customers - took it in turns throughout the day to hop on the exercise bike. The idea was that they would cycle from Grantham to Lapland at a ratio of 10:1, meaning that they travelled a distance of 220km.

Mr Crane said: “The staff thoroughly enjoyed themselves. We had a cracking day and engaged with the customers.

“There were lots of tired legs at the end of it all.”

Everyone was given a boost when staff from Costa Coffee made their regular trips to the bank armed with drinks and cakes, all free of charge to help the charitable efforts.

Mr Crane thanked them for their kindness, and also the bank’s customers who put their hands in their pockets throughout the day.

He said: “They really got behind us. We were telling everyone what we were doing. One elderly lady emptied her purse out when she heard why we were doing it.”

The aim of the Journal Children’s Fund: Christmas Cracker Appeal is to raise £10,000 to send 10 children to Lapland. The cost of each place (for a child and parent/guardian) is £900. The remaining £1,000 will go to When You Wish Upon A Star as a thank you for the charity’s help.

It is also hoped that the campaign will raise the profile of the Journal Children’s Fund, which exists to provide financial support to families with disabled children.

* To find out how to apply for financial assistance, or to find out how you can help the Christmas Cracker Appeal, call Marie Baker on 01476 562291 or e-mail: marie.baker@granthamjournal.co.uk