Patients at Oxford Children’s Hospital received a very special visit from Father Christmas today.

Arriving in a Puma HC2 helicopter rather than his usual sleigh, Santa himself brought with him bags of presents for the hospital’s young patients. Festive cheer was all around thanks to Santa and his friends at RAF Benson, who organised the trip.

Children and staff alike gathered to watch his arrival with delight at around 10:45am. He landed in style on the helipad of John Radcliffe Hospital. Santa and his team of RAF helpers then made their way to various wards, handing out over 80 presents and leaving even more under the hospital’s Christmas tree. Children on Kamran’s, Melanie’s, Bellhouse-Drayson and Tom’s wards received gifts and visits.

Erica Watson, a health play specialist at the hospital told the Oxford Mail:

“We’re extremely grateful to RAF Benson and Father Christmas for their continued support and donations this Christmas.

“Lots of children and staff came to watch Santa arrive by helicopter, including the children from the Pioneers nursery. This is a highlight around Christmas for them all.

“It was lovely to welcome some of the squadron helping Santa to give out the presents to the children on the wards. It was a very special event for all the children and their families who really enjoyed watching Santa arrive by helicopter.”

The visit has become an annual tradition, lifting the spirits of many young patients spending the festive season in hospital. It is one of a series of visits this year, following appearances from Oxford United players and the Sleigh2Give campaign on the wards.