Nottingham City Council has granted When You Wish Upon a Star charity founder Barbara White OBE her own Christmas wish – to be official friends with Santa Claus himself!

Barbara founded the charity in Nottingham in 1990 to grant the wishes of children living with a life-threatening illness. Since it was established it has granted over 17,500 wishes across the UK, from trips to Disneyland and the chance to swim with dolphins to meeting celebrities and personal heroes.

Every December the charity also enables around 50 children to swap hospital beds for sleigh rides, transporting them away from appointments, treatments and injections to the winter wonderland of Lapland on board its Santa Express flights.

Barbara approached the council to ask if a Friendship Agreement could be established between Nottingham and the capital of Lapland Rovaniemi, where children have met Santa every year for over quarter of a century. Councillor Mohammed Saghir, in his role as Sheriff in 2015/16 and Lord Mayor in 2016/17 helped to take the proposal forward and now the establishment of a Friendship Agreement was formally agreed at a City Council meeting on November 13.

The new arrangement will be officially sealed when Councillor Saghir travels with the Santa Express on December 3 to present scrolls outlining the special relationship between the two cities to the Mayor of Rovaniemi.

Councillor Saghir said: “I was more than happy to grant Barbara’s wish when she has helped to grant so many wishes to children for so many years. Barbara’s wonderful charity has established a special link between Nottingham and Rovaniemi over the years.

“This agreement makes that special relationship official and helps to ensure that many terminally ill children will enjoy the magical experience of meeting Santa in Lapland for many years to come.”

Barbara added: “I know what a special place Roviniemi has been for so many children and so it’s lovely that the City Council has made it possible for this Friendship Agreement to be signed between the two cities. Wishes really do come true!”

Nottingham and Rovaniemi

  Nottingham                                       Rovaniemi
Population 308,000 62,000
Average Christmas temperature 4.2C -9.4C
Natural phenomenon Caves Aurora Borealis
Landmarks Trent Bridge Jätkänkynttilä bridge
Universities University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University (formerly Trent Polytechnic) University of Lapland, Rovaniemi University of Applied Sciences (formerly Rovaniemi Polytechnic)
Cultural icons Jake Bugg Mr Lordi
Animals Deer Reindeer
Legendary claim to fame Robin Hood Santa Claus