Royal Navy in Santa flying visit to Royal Cornwall Hospital

Royal Navy sailors have helped put smiles on the faces of poorly children at Royal Cornwall Hospital with a special flying visit by Father Christmas.

Donations by personnel on RNAS Culdrose’s 820 Naval Air Squadron raised £1,000 towards festive presents which were handed over, in a Covid-safe manner, to the children’s ward.

Although sailors could not attend the ward in person this year, they assisted Santa in his work by flying him in their Merlin Mk2 helicopter. The children cheered as they saw the aircraft fly past, on its way back to Culdrose from a routine training flight.

This is something we’ve done in previous years and we didn’t want to let this year put us off. It’s great to be able to help people, especially those in hospital at this time of year

Lieutenant Bobby Prior

Leading the mission, codenamed Operation Santa’s Sleigh, was 820 Naval Air Squadron pilot Lieutenant Bobby Prior, who said: “This is something we’ve done in previous years and we didn’t want to let this year put us off. It’s great to be able to help people, especially those in hospital at this time of year.

“We had a training sortie already planned that morning so it was no extra effort to fly back past the hospital in Truro. Santa’s pretty busy this year and a lot of children have been very good, so we were happy to help.”

Thanks also go to Malletts Home Hardware in Truro which donated additional toys.