Three children from Leicestershire who are all recovering from a serious illness have been having the time of their lives during a trip to Italy.
The visit was organised by Wishes 4 Kids, a Leicester based charity which makes dreams come true for poorly youngsters.
Seven year old Eve Brant is recovering well after being treated for bone cancer last year.
Malachy Pringle is also seven and recently had a brain tumour removed.
Nine year old Emily Barney suffers from acute eczema, which makes her susceptible to serious infections
The trio were given 5 star treatment from the word go.
They were whisked off to the VIP lounge at Heathrow where they relaxed in style before the flight to Rome.
Emily said : “Wow this is amazing. There’s so much to eat and drink and it’s really lovely here.”
But the trip really started when they arrived in Rome at around 7pm. It was still warm and bright and as they left the airport, other members of the charity and bizarrely, two police officers, greeted them.
The officers were there on their motorbikes to escort the children and their parents to their hotel.
They felt like celebrities during the 45 minute white knuckle ride through the city and enjoyed it so much, they didn’t have time to take in the wonderful sights of Rome.
The fun, however, had only just begun. The following day, with two police out-riders in tow, a convoy of cars was escorted to Vatican City, the spiritual home to 1.1 billion Catholics.
They were lucky enough to have front row seats inside a room packed with 8000 people who had travelled from all over the world.
Emily’s mother Melanie Barney said : “We got to see the Pope and we got blessed, the whole place is really beautiful.
Emily gets to meet other children with disabilities and difficulties and she can be herself and it's great what the charity does.”
Wishes 4 Kids is celebrating its 10 anniversary this year.
Over the years, children have been taken to places like Disneyland Paris and rubbed shoulders with their favourite pop stars and sporting heroes.
The charity was set up by Russell Brickett. He believes the Vatican trip is particularly special.
– Russell Brickett
“I think it's amazing and it's the base of their faith. They get a spiritual boost which makes such a huge difference and it’s a wonderful day out.”
A trip to Rome wouldn’t be complete with sampling some of the tourist attractions so the children made a wish at the Trevi Fountain and posed for pictures outside the magnificent Colosseum.
Malachy’s mother Rebecca Pringle said: “ It's just been so overwhelming. It’s been fantastic for me and so rewarding and Malachy”
And it was a special day for Eve’s mother Danielle Neale.
– Danielle Neale
“It's been nice to get away and to forget about things. Over the past two years, it's been really difficult and to be in a place like this is just wonderful. “