Palmerston North man spreads Christmas cheer to other side of the world

SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 30:  Performer Jacqueline Hughes (R) playing the character 'Elphaba' and cast members perform on stage during the 'Wicked The Musical' media preview  at the Grand Theatre, Marina Bay Sands on September 30, 2016 in Singapore. The award winning Broadway and West End musical runs from 29 September to 20 November 2016, Singapore.  (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)
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Seventy-four terminally ill children in the UK have received a special Christmas present thanks to a Palmerston North travel agent.

Stephen Parsons was left with unused tickets to the hit musical Wicked, being staged at London's West End, after a Manawatu school tour changed its itinerary at the last minute. 

The tickets couldn't be refunded, so he offered them to the group's tour company Contiki, which helped organise a fundraiser for the Rainbow Trust. 

Mr Parsons says it raised more money than the original tickets cost, meaning the 74 seriously ill youngsters could afford to be at home for Christmas.

"It's a momentum that happened all of its own… I was trying to make tickets available for someone in need, and all of a sudden it's turned into some great value for some kiddies in the UK.

"They were able to distribute the tickets, and the end result is 74 terminally ill children able to go home for Christmas. It was just a marvellous thing to have happen."

Mr Parsons says the trust also raised enough money to send the children home for Christmas too.

"Christmas is a time for families and the giving and receiving of gifts. For so many families to have their children home for Christmas touches my heart.

Contiki general manager in sales Scott Cleaver is pleased so many lives have been positively affected by the kind gesture.

"It's a wonderful result and will so much joy to so many people," he said.