THE magic of Christmas was in full swing when two desperately-ill boys got a surprise visit.
Sam Merrick, seven, and Jude Allen, five, had been hoping to go to a Santa’s grotto and give the big man their wishes before Christmas.
But both were too ill and had to stay at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham for treatment.
To everyone’s surprise, Father Christmas and his elves came into the ward and set up their grotto.
Louise Merrick, mum of Sam, who has an immune deficiency illness, said it made her day.
The visit was organised by Keydell Nurseries, in Horndean, where Sam had been hoping to go to a private grotto that had been set up specially for him.
Louise had to cancel twice because of Sam being sick, but had no idea the grotto would come to Sam in hospital.
The 37-year-old, of Bere Road, Denmead, said: ‘It just makes you feel really happy that people are prepared to go above and beyond what they need to do.’
Jude is being considered for an organ transplant.
His mum, Kellie, 37, of Claremont Gardens, Purbrook, said: ‘It was lovely that he got to see Santa. He was so excited.
‘He was really chuffed and said “hello”.’
Father Christmas also handed out gifts to some other children on the ward.
Charlotte Stray, who runs the grotto at Keydell, said: ‘It just seemed a shame for a little boy not to visit Father Christmas.’