Poorly children meet Disney heroes at special event in Hampshire

  • Video report by ITV News Meridian's Rachel Hepworth

For 40 years the Make-A-Wish Foundation has been creating wonderful memories for hundreds of poorly children.

One of those wishes is a trip to Disneyland Paris, but Covid has made that impossible.But now, with a bit of magic, Disney has come to north Hampshire, with the Elvetham Hotel in Hartley Wintney being transformed into an Enchanted Manor.

Charley beams as she meets her heroes. Credit: ITV News Meridian

It was a magical moment for 5-year-old Charley, who was overjoyed to meet her idols for the first time.

Charley's spent half her short life in hospital and, like all the children who were present with their families, is coping with a life-limiting illness.

The experience was also priceless for her mother, Abbey.

She said: "There are just no words for it really, everything she's been through, it's something she's never going to forget."

  • Stephanie Witt, Make-A-Wish Foundation

Stephanie Witt from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, said: "Some of them have only left the house for medical appointments in the last couple of years so to be here as a family just spending time with them... you can't put a measure on that."

It's all been made possible because Disney, Kentown Wizard and Make-A-Wish have created the unique home from home in Hampshire, which has allowed 150 families to have their wishes granted, at a time when going abroad isn't possible

Parent, Leanne Hector, said: "Obviously travelling to Paris would be much longer and with two girls, so having something closer to home has been a lot better actually".

  • Kate Garraway, Frankie & Wayne Bridge reflect on the importance of the day

There were a few famous faces at the event, including broadcaster Kate Garraway, who said: "Their worlds have been turned upside down twice. They've got huge challenges, so to have a little moment like this can build memories forever."

Supporters of the Make-A-Wish foundation, pop star Frankie Bridge and former footballer, Wayne Bridge, said: "The magic has been just the same all the characters are here."

"It's not about where they are it's about who they're with, they're spending time with their families and making friends as well."

With 63,000 children living with life-limiting illnesses, the charity's hoping to make many more wishes come true, all with that unmistakable bit of magic.