Why it’s a happy Xmas for Ella, 9

Santa visits RAF Coningsby to present Ella with a special present for Christmas.
Santa visits RAF Coningsby to present Ella with a special present for Christmas.
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They are used to performing some of the world’s most dangerous and demanding jobs.

However, the tale of a brave Horncastle schoolgirl warmed the hearts of personnel at RAF Coningsby - home to one of the country’s front line Typhoon squadrons.

Nine-year-old Eleanor Woodcock suffers from the rare Hypolastic Left Heart Sydrome (HLHS).

The condition means the aorta and left ventricle fail to develop properly before birth.

That puts greater strain on the right side of the heart to pump blood to vital parts of the body.

There is no known cure, although medical advances have increased the survival rate dramatically.

Eleanor, or ‘Ella’ as she is known to family and friends, is a pupil at St Lawrence School, Horncastle.

She has had to undergo treatment throughout her young life - including three ‘episodes’ of open heart surgery.

Despite that, she never complains.

This year, Ella’s Christmas wish was for a new bicycle and she duly wrote to Santa Claus.

The Welfare Committee at RAF Coningsby heard of the request via the Soldier, Sailors and Armed Forces Association (SSAFA).

They ensured Christmas came early. With the help of the RAF Beneveloment Fund, they handed over a new bike.

Santa even broke off from his preparations for Christmas to visit RAF Coningsby and make the presentation.

Ella’s’s father, Sgt Martin Woodcock, said: “Because of her condition, she needed to have a specially made bike.

“For example, she needs stabilisers that you don’t normally find on an older child’s bike.

“My wife Dawn and I are very grateful to everyone who has helped Santa deliver the present.”