HAVING a Christmas Wish granted helped brave Rhys Hopkins-Staples get through his first Christmas without his dad – and the prize, a trip out bowling, also had a special meaning for his family.

The youngster, then three, had gone through a tough year since his father, Lee-John Staples, lost his fight against cancer. But he was all smiles on December 23 when he spent a special evening bowling thanks to the Adver’s Christmas Wish Appeal.

And the evening was even more special for Rhys, now aged four and a pupil at Red Oaks Primary School, as he had hoped to go bowling one day with his dad, but due to his illness, this was not possible.

The team at Tenpin Bowling, in Shaw Ridge, generously gave the family a party for 12 people, with food and drink and a pass for free bowling for a year.

Rhys was also surprised with a visit from Santa, who brought him one of his favourite toys, a Buzz Lightyear figure.

His mother Melanie, 30, said: “I nominated him because it was going to be the first Christmas without his dad so I just wanted to give him and an extra something to say he’s lovely and put a smile on his face.

“He loved it. We had friends and family with us and he talked about it for quite a while afterwards. One of the things his dad always wanted to do was take him bowling, which is why I chose the bowling for him, and he still considers it now as something his dad always wanted to do with him.”

Melanie, a part-time support worker, of Redhouse, said she would recommend others to nominate deserving people in this year’s appeal.

She said: “I think it’s a lovely thing for people to do for other people. It just makes people a little bit more aware how difficult life can be for certain people and they’ve overcome it, and it just gives them something to look forward to – to smile for a little while really.” We launched our Christmas Wish Appeal 2012 last week – and we want to hear from you about the people who deserve an extra special treat this year. From December 11 to Christmas Eve, we will be granting a wish a day for one worthy person or group in the area.

If you can think of someone who needs or deserves cheering up this Christmas, we want to hear from you. Tell us who the person is, why they need a Christmas Wish and how we can help. You can send in your nomination in the following ways:


By post: Print off a  PDF of the form and then send it to Michelle Tompkins, Christmas Wish Appeal 2012, Swindon Advertiser, 100 Victoria Road, Swindon SN1 3BE. Click here Christmas Wish 2012 form.pdf

By email: Click here to send us details of who deserves a Christmas Wish. Please remember to include what the wish should be and why. Give your email the subject header ‘Christmas Wish 2012’. Please be sure to include your own phone number and the number of the person you are nominating.