Once more MSS were lucky enough to be invited to the Oak Centre for Children at the Royal Marsden, Sutton, in the week leading up to Christmas.

We have worked closely alongside the CLIC Sargent team since our registration, and many of the families we support are referred directly through their support workers. 2018 was extra special as we received an invitation to go into one of the wards and meet some of the families directly. This is quite unheard of and we felt truly privileged.

The morning started out with Gemma and Tom (two of our trustees), along with two of our fantastic supporters from Buckland Media, making a stop at Bluewater to collect 900 gifts we were awarded by Heart and The Giving Tree.

John Smith (Operations and Facilities) and Richard Archer (Production and Customer Services Manager) from Buckland offered to be our drivers for the day, and thank goodness they did! Their van and truck were loaded high like Father Christmas' sleigh, ready to deliver much needed Christmas cheer to the families at the Marsden.

On arrival Gemma, Tom, John and Richard met up with Natasha and Anita (Founder and trustee). We were greeted by fantastic members of the CLIC team and escorted to the Families Room on the ward where we set up base.

They began to invite families down to collect as many gifts as they could carry, all labelled up with thank you messages from MSS, along with beautiful M&S hampers for the parents.

There were some tears, and lots of cuddles and smiles. Many families had not even considered Christmas presents as they were so wrapped up in treatments. Lots of children had contracted the flu and were in isolation. It was a crazy afternoon but one we will never forget.

Being able to directly speak with some of the families we supported, and meeting some new families we have since given grants to, was an incredible experience. We are so grateful to the beautiful children who were all so loving and humble. They couldn't believe they could have more than one gift from us.

First thank you goes to Heart and The Giving Tree at Bluewater for supporting us for another year. It enables us to bring Christmas cheer to so many families needing it. It also leaves us with some gifts for families we support throughout 2019, and that is something very special!

A huge thank you from the team at MSS to Buckland for all of your efforts on the day; from collecting the gifts, to carrying them onto the ward, and a late night drop-off for all of the remaining gifts to MSS HQ.

An even bigger thank you to CLIC Sargent at the Oak Centre and all of the fantastic staff. They really are walking angels, supporting childhood cancer families through unimaginable times.

But the biggest thank you of all to the families we met that day. We truly felt like Father Christmas' elves and it was magical being able to provide Christmas where previously some had thought it impossible xxxx

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