SANTA paid a special visit to an Ayrshire charity last week to bring joy to a brave child and his family.

Whiteleys Retreat was transformed into a winter wonderland for St Nick’s arrival Wednesday, December 23 as nine-year-old Kory Coulter was given a Christmas to remember.

Kory was joined by his brother Frankie and sister Lexie as well as his cousins Ciaran and Masie at the stunning Alloway getaway for a magical stay arranged by the charity.

The Coulter family, from Kilmarnock, were given presents and greeted by Santa in his sleigh and elves.

Carrick Round Table jumped in to help organise the surprise visit to the delight of the young family.

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His mum Lynsey said: “My family have had the most wonderful time here at Whiteleys Retreat.

“You have managed to put a smile on all our faces after a stressful time.

“We have never experienced kindness like this and the dedication of Maxine and the team has made a massive difference to our lives.

“The memories made are priceless and we are forever grateful.”

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The visit of the Coulter family caps off a very different year for the charity, who provide respite for children going through terminal or life altering illnesses.

In the spring, as Ayrshire hospitals filled up with coronavirus patients, the retreat was used for brave NHS staff as they closed to supporting children.

But as lockdown restrictions began to ease, families were able to return with young Caleb Stirrat and his family able to visit in June as the first to arrive at the retreat for months.

The charity has continued to be supported through selfless individuals who stepped in to raise funds whilst coronavirus halted any planned events.

Football teams, virtual kiltwalkers and community groups have all ensured the charity was well supported during such a difficult


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Ayr’s very own Monopoly game also saw a huge amount raised with £9,734.22 going to Whiteleys.

And £85k was awarded to the charity from the National Lottery fund earlier this month.

Maxine Allan CEO of Whiteleys told the Advertiser: “2020 has been an incredibly tough year for everyone, none more than for families requiring respite.

“We are delighted to welcome families from Ayrshire at Whiteleys for the Christmas and New Year breaks.”

Maxine added: “Once again, we must thank our local community for their support.

“These respite breaks are invaluable to our families.”