1st December 2016
Santa Express 2016
In December 2016, the Belmond Northern Belle was converted into the Santa Express and transported almost 300 very special passengers, including around 100 very special children, on a magical journey in search of Santa. When the sleigh bells were heard, everyone knew it was time to disembark to board our special coaches for the search for Santa at his secret location – Santa’s Retreat!
There was huge excitement at Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Doncaster train stations as the children and their families waited excitedly for the train to arrive, while being entertained by our volunteers. On the journey, our little elves enjoyed a delicious breakfast with hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies, along with craft making, quizzes, card making, entertainers, magicians and rounds of carol singing.
When the sleigh bells were heard, everyone knew it was time to disembark to board our special coaches for the search for Santa at his secret location – Santa’s Retreat! There, the children were greeted by an elf band, led by none other than Sugarplum the Fairy! After much dancing and a lovely buffet, the children took part in lots of activities whilst waiting for Santa’s arrival – gingerbread decorating, a visit to the chocolate fountain, Santa’s Sweet Stall, bauble decorating and more.
There was great excitement as Santa, who had been fishing on the lake, came and visited the children. Each child visited him in his special grotto to receive a gift and tell him all about their Christmas Wishes! After a wonderful afternoon it was time to head back to the station and once back on board the train there were more surprises, fun and games and a full festive dinner was enjoyed.
The trip gave the children (who suffer from serious and life threatening illnesses), respite and time out from painful treatments to simply be a child for the day. It also gave parents a break and a chance to see their children smile, whilst creating treasured memories that will last forever.