*update May 8
Check out this latest video of the RAF visit to Priestley. The crew collected presents for Alder Hey and The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and then delivered them directly to patients.
AN RAF helicopter landed on the field at Priestley College on Monday to collect presents for children at two northwest hospitals.
Priestley students had raised more than £1,500 for an RAF appeal that brought joy to young patients at Alder Hey and The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.
On Monday the helicopter – complete with a crew dressed as Father Christmas and his elves – landed at Priestley on its way to Liverpool and Manchester.
“Many of our public services students are aiming for a career in the RAF or armed forces so to get this opportunity to work with them on a project such as this is great,” said Priestley Tutor Chris Seaton.
“They really enjoyed the challenge of raising the money and feel great knowing the difference they will be making to the children’s Christmases.”
Students raised the money by cycling the distance of Land’s End to John O’Groats on bikes set up in the Wicked Café at college.
They donated the cash to an RAF appeal in aid of the hospitals and it was almost doubled to £3,000. The RAF bought the presents and students at Priestley wrapped them before delivery this week.
Flt Lt Stephens, from the Royal Air Force Careers Office in Liverpool, said: “Our aim is to raise morale amongst the children in hospital over Christmas by delivering Christmas presents in a way only the RAF can.
“The presents are bought by charitable donations from RAF personnel serving at various stations from around the UK. This is the ninth year the RAF have arranged this event and last year’s was a resounding success, bringing a smile to many children’s faces.”
Angela Harris, head of children’s services at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, said: “Our young patients really enjoy the chance to have a word with Father Christmas, and the gifts he brings – with the generous support of the RAF – really do spread Christmas cheer and brighten up their day.”
Irene Axon, from the Imagine Appeal at Alder Hey, said: “It’s particularly poignant given their commitments overseas that these servicemen and women give up their very valuable time to visit sick children in Alder Hey. We are enormously grateful for their support.”