A PARAMEDIC from Huddersfield is back from a dream trip to Lapland.
Mark Rattigan, a paramedic and an assessor for the West Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service helped take 94 children from the North of England to meet Father Christmas.
And he admitted today: "It was a moving experience."
Mark travelled from Manchester Airport and flew out to Lapland as a volunteer with the charity When You Wish Upon A Star.
He and the children enjoyed an action-packed day, including meeting Father Christmas, sledging with huskies, snowball fights and quad-biking.
Mark has worked for the West Yorkshire ambulance service for the last 16 years and was involved for the first time in the annual trip.
One of the trip organsiers said: "His life-saving skills and outgoing personality made him the ideal choice to accompany children as young as four on this magical journey.
"The youngsters involved all have life-threatening illnesses and could require urgent medical treatment at any time."
Mark said: "It was one of the most moving experiences of my life.
He said: "Celebrities from Coronation Street, including the actresses who play Candice and Sarah-Louise Platt, Gladiator's Saracen and Celebrity Fame Academy winner Will Mellor all came along, but it was the kids who were the real stars.
"I got so involved, entertaining and joining in with all the activities.
"The children never moaned or complained despite their illnesses. It was all pure enjoyment!
"I was ready to help if anything went wrong, along with 14 other health professionals, but fortunately we had very few problems and the day was superb."
The When You Wish Upon a Star project is a non-profit charity designed to grant the wishes of children afflicted with high-risk and life-threatening illnesses.
Mark has pledged to raise money for the charity and is hoping to involve WYMAS staff from Huddersfield and Halifax in some fundraising events.
Maria Moseley, of the charity, said: "Mark made a fantastic contribution to the trip. It was really reassuring to have a skilled medical team including Mark volunteer to come along.
"Not only did he act as a paramedic on stand-by, but Mark was brilliant with the children and I know he made a lot of friends!"
The trip to the frozen wastes of Lapland, a region stretching from northern Sweden across northern Finland, was the seventh annual visit to meet Father Christmas in consecutive years and is funded totally by donations made to the charity.