A little girl with a lot of spirit spent a day as a princess, thanks to a charity that grants wishes for children with life-threatening conditions.
Brave Olivia Clark has successfully battled leukaemia since contracting the disease in July 2010, aged just four years old.
Having spent a lot of time in hospital and endured painful cancer treatments, Olivia, now 6, deserved a special treat, given to her by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Her grandma and great aunt were there to watch as Olivia, her mum Sharon Darby, two-year-old sister Lacie and auntie Laura Darby climbed into a pink limousine and were whisked off to Belvoir Castle. Disco lights shone, music played and the bubbles flowed as the group sat back and enjoyed their journey to the castle in the Vale of Belvoir.
They were greeted by a welcoming committee of castle representative and tour guide, and charity volunteer.
After a tour and a little time playing with old toys in the castle nursery, Olivia met resident owl Persil.
Sharon, 26, said: “After we got home she was going on about the owl. She kept saying she misses it and wants to see the owl.
“I think that was her favourite part of the day.”
A make-over was another treat in store for Olivia, who also enjoyed her very own tea party complete with cakes.
A treasure hunt followed, where Olivia searched the castle for pictures, and for every picture she found she got a small present.
And to top of the magical day, the family went ride on a horse and carriage ride around the castle grounds. The two white horses wore grand red feathers, while the carriage was white and certainly fit for Princess Olivia.
Sharon said: “She loved it but she did fall asleep on the carriage for the last five minutes.”
A tired Olivia, Lacie, Sharon and Laura were then taken back home to Grantham in their pink limousine - after stuffing it full of pink helium balloons. In fact, the bouquet given to Olivia was so big, made up of 50 balloons, that several were trailing out of the limo all the way home.
They now adorn the living room ceiling in the Darby household, acting as a little reminder of the special day.
Sharon said: “I think the work Make-A-Wish does is absolutely fantastic. For those children that have been through what they’ve been through, to have a day to be free of all that and a day where they feel special is amazing.
“It was nice to be able to take both children because for a while, since Olivia stopped walking very far, I’ve never been able to do anything together, me and the two girls. It was nice to have them both there together.”
When Olivia was diagnosed with leukaemia, it came as a big shock to the whole family, although Sharon was relieved her suspicions that something was wrong were confirmed after countless trips to see doctors who would said nothing was wrong.
She said: “I was told every time I took her to hospital that nothing’s wrong, when I knew deep down inside that something was wrong.”
Thankfully, Olivia responded well to the treatment and soon went into remission. She continues to have treatment to strengthen her bones and will do for the next nine months.
She is well on the way to maing a full recovery.