MSS CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND 2017
Updated: Jul 30, 2018
On Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th December 2017, a large field in Upchurch (previously a part of Gore Farm) and a beautiful French barn, moved piece-by-piece here by its owner, were turned into a Wonderland for some of our families and local supporters.
Leading up to the event itself, our founder Anita spent MONTHS with a team of volunteers (elves!), including other trustees Natasha, Gemma and Kim, decorating the grotto inside the barn; sorting presents for Father Christmas; booking stallholders; arranging food, a bar and entertainment; finding photographers; locating and collecting decorations; booking face-painters; sorting shelter in the forms of gazebos and marquees; locating some special reindeer; and of course, most importantly, coordinating with Father Christmas and his elves.
The grotto sold out in just a matter of weeks, with 180 children securing their places on each of the days. We could not believe the amount of support we received from local businesses and families; we were overwhelmed.
The first day started very early for most… the weather was bitterly cold with snow/rain predicted. Despite this, so many of our stallholders turned up to brave the cold and provide a truly amazing experience for everyone who came.
We were also lucky enough to welcome many families we had supported during our first year as a charity; it was truly special for all of us to finally meet face-to-face, as previously we’d built these friendships via phone/email.
The Saturday was busy all day and the rain held off mostly; everyone came fully prepared for the cold/wet weather and there were plenty of smiles shared. So many children had a wonderful experience with Father Christmas and the elves inside the grotto; learning about the magic of Christmas, making magical reindeer food, having snowball fights, and of course finally waking up the man himself to deliver special personalised gifts and take some photographs.
Outside there was lots of wonderful live music, a huge bar serving hot and cold drinks, different food vendors serving a range of different delights, inflatables, and the incredible Christmas Market selling some beautiful gifts and keepsakes
Unfortunately (and rather ironically) there was a huge dump of snow overnight. The previously frozen ground was now soaking wet and filled with snow, which as it thawed turned to lots of wet mud. Many of the events planned for the Sunday had to be cancelled due to the terrible weather (some of our food vendors, inflatables and the fairground), and a decision was taken by the team to call off the ‘Christmas Market’ stalls.
Despite this bad luck, and with lots of help from our team of elves, the grotto still went ahead. Our lovely face painters stayed, along with the bar and the photo booth. Many families still came down and braved the conditions for their time with Father Christmas.
The support that we as trustees and founders of the charity received for this event was truly breath-taking and invaluable to ensuring the event went as planned. We have a HUGE list of companies to thank, as well as many individuals. We could not have pulled off the weekend without the support from our team of volunteers/elves, and of course the landowners themselves who allowed us to use their beautiful barn and field FREE OF CHARGE, and dealt with so much upheaval and cleaning by themselves.
We received praise from visitors such as “the best grotto we’ve ever been to” and “What a fantastic Christmas Wonderland. And what a team to keep the fun and entertainment flowing irrespective of the elements.” We can’t tell you what it means to know that the Wonderland was a success and that we managed to raise funds and awareness for childhood cancer.
We must give special thanks to the fantastic suppliers and stallholders for all of their help/support and (for many) choosing to brave the conditions to raise vital funds for childhood cancer, and show their support for some of our families. NB: if we have missed any suppliers from the list, please do not be afraid to ask us to add/amend (there were so many):
· Arty Party Entertainment (our elves!)
· Estelle Thompson Photography
· The Mobile Farm Experience
· Magical Times Photo Booths
· Rocket & Rolls Catering
· The Kent Ghostbusters
· Sally-Ann’s Face Painting
· Scentsational by Sarah Julian
· HeartFelt Creations
· Tulip & the Hook
· Beck’s Creative
· Simply Different Handcrafted Home Accessories
· Simply Different Sweets
· Ashley’s Inflatables
· Balloon Busters
· C-C Products
· Surf & Turf Instant Shelters
· Gift Hampers Delight
· Darren Brown (bar with funding from Heineken)
· Smith’s Fun Fair Kent
BEST OF ALL, THIS EVENT RAISED A HUGE £8500! Thanks so much and we look forward to another Christmas event in 2018 x