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by | Oct 4, 2023 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

The Northern Ireland Children to Lapland and Days to Remember Trust (NICLT) enjoyed a resounding fundraising success with its annual ‘Walk to Scotland’ fundraising event, which took place on Sunday, October 1, 2023. 

Over 100 enthusiastic fundraisers participated, collectively raising over £14,000. These funds will play a crucial role in supporting this year’s Lapland trip, meticulously coordinated by the charity and scheduled for December 19, 2023.

The ‘Walk to Scotland’ event, which is now a hugely popular tradition with the charity and among its supporters, has continued to grow in recent years, thanks to the unwavering support of Stena Line which accommodates the trip.

Participants boarded the ship early on Sunday morning, to walk an allocated route around the ship throughout the journey to Cairnryan.

The return leg of the trip featured a well-deserved lunch and a post-walk party that included entertainment from an array of talented performers. NICLT’s President, Gerry Kelly, hosted the cabaret, which included DJ Col, magician Trevor Price, and Jim Brown as Elvis. A ballot during the trip added to the festivities and the amount of money raised.

Gerry Kelly, President, Northern Ireland Children to Lapland and Days to Remember Trust said: “I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who participated in this year’s ‘Walk to Scotland’ fundraising event. Their commitment, enthusiasm, and determination have not only made this event a resounding success but they have raised a remarkable £14,000, demonstrating the incredible power of our community when we come together for a common cause. 

“These funds are not just numbers; they will enable us to continue making dreams come true for our extraordinary young heroes.”

The annual Walk to Scotland event is an essential part of the charity’s fundraising efforts to facilitate the Lapland trip. Each year, this trip brings 100 young children from Northern Ireland, living with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions, to Rovaniemi, Santa’s beloved homeland. 

This magical experience includes meeting Santa, interacting with huskies, baking with Mrs. Claus, taking a magical train ride, and graduating from Elf school. Every detail of the trip is carefully planned to ensure the safety and comfort of all travellers, with medical staff and equipment onboard the three-hour flight for those with acute needs.

This year, the cost of the Lapland trip has increased significantly due to the cost of living crisis and surging fuel costs, making fundraising more critical than ever. The ‘Walk to Scotland’ event has become a cornerstone of NICLT’s annual fundraising efforts.


Fifteen-year-old Oliver Dickey from Coleraine, who lives with a type of cerebral palsy that affects his mobility, participated in the ‘Walk to Scotland’ for the fourth time. Oliver, who has also been on the Lapland trip, said: 

The Lapland trip is such a brilliant experience. I know it costs a lot of money to get all 100 children to Lapland, and this is why I do the ‘Walk to Scotland’ again and again, to make sure dreams can come true for many other children.”

Chairman of Northern Ireland Children to Lapland and Days to Remember Trust, Colin Barkley, added,

“On one day a year, we fill an airplane with children with particular needs, their families, healthcare professionals, and a host of equipment. The aircraft is effectively a flying hospital. It’s no easy feat, but one that delivers so much joy and creates lifelong memories for all involved. This magical trip would not be possible without the fundraising efforts of our many supporters, from individuals like Oliver Dickey and his family and friends to our corporate sponsors. 

“The Walk to Scotland is an integral part of our fundraising and we are delighted that it has once again proved to be so successful and such a fun and enjoyable way to continue supporting the trip to Lapland.”

Dr Mark Rollins, a charity Trustee and Senior Consultant Paediatrician, praised NICLT’s unique approach, saying, “NICLT is definitely extra special.” Over the years, more than 1,000 children and their families have enjoyed NICLT’s Lapland trip, with memories that last long beyond the day itself.”

(PIC L-R) Gerry Kelly, NICLT President, Oliver Dickey, Michael McDonnell and Colin Barkley, NICLT Chairman.