Published: November 16, 2010
Young Mia gets VIP treatment at Christmas grotto opening

A very special schoolgirl from Mark received VIP treatment when she opened Santa’s grotto at Brent Knoll's Sanders Garden World on Saturday (November 13th).

Mia Marshall, 7, was chosen to officially open the centre's festive grotto by cutting a ceremonial ribbon, as pictured here.

General Manager Peter Burks told "Mia was clearly a deserving winner. She has overcome some considerable health-related challenges and her positive outlook really impressed us."

Mia was born with a rare genetic condition called Turner Syndrome (TS), a disorder that only affects girls and means a number of their X chromosomes are missing.

The syndrome causes physical problems such as short stature, puffy hands and feet, heart problems, high blood pressure, visual impairments and hearing difficulties.

She won the centre's competition to search for a special child to open the grotto.

Peter added: "This year we also chose four runners up. They were Alex Harvey, aged one, from Highbridge, Maddie Hilyer, aged four, from Berrow, Elliott Edwards, aged five and Katie Rendell, aged 10, both from Burnham-On-Sea."

Mia and all of the runners up were awarded with free passes for four people to the centre's Winter Wonderland and four free passes to visit Santa in his grotto.

Father Christmas, who arrived at the garden centre on a three-wheeled motorcycle, was greeted by crowds as he got ready for his grotto opening.

Father Christmas’ trike was provided by the National Association of Bikers with a Disability. He was escorted by members of the NABD as well as Harley Davidson motorbikes ridden by members from the Bridgwater Chapter of the Harley Owners Group.

Santa's arrival and transport was organised by Freewheelers Emergency Voluntary Service, which transports medical supplies to hospitals in Somerset on 'blood bikes'.

Pictured above are Dolly El-Mahdi, Deputy Manager at Sanders Garden World, with Father Christmas and Mia Marshall and, below, with the crowds


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