Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland boy banned from Santa trip gets a VIP visitor

By Leona O'Neill

A young boy whose school said he couldn’t attend a Santa trip because of his behavioural issues has finally met Father Christmas.

Riley McCauley (5), a pupil at St Joseph’s Primary School in Glenmornan, Co Tyrone, had been due to visit Santa at Barrontop Farm in nearby Donemana with his P2 classmates this week.

However, the school told Riley he wasn’t allowed to go.

His mum Emma said he was left heartbroken, and thought Santa wasn’t coming to visit him on Christmas Eve “because he did something wrong”.

But good-hearted local people rallied around Riley and his mum, and she has been inundated with offers of visits to Santa, days out, gifts and toys to help him get back some of the magic of the season.

“I am overwhelmed by all the support. It really has been unbelievable,” said Emma.

“Last night Santa and Mrs Claus came to see Riley at our house. Riley thought this was the most amazing thing ever.

“Santa told Riley that he was a very good boy and that he was definitely coming to see him on Christmas Eve and that he had everything he wanted for Christmas on his sleigh packed up and ready to go.

“It was so beautiful. Riley has been over the Moon since, telling everyone that Santa actually came to see him.

“I’ve had so many messages from people who have offered to dress up as Santa and come to see him, we have had offers of going to Santa days all over Northern Ireland. I have over 100 messages from strangers,” Emma added.

“The people at Barrontop Farm offered to bring Riley up to see Santa, like he was supposed to with his class, so we are going there.

“People in Northern Ireland are so nice and so kind, they have really restored my faith, made me think there are loads of good people in the world.

“And after the way the school treated my son, I was glad to have that good support.”

Riley has 47, XYY syndrome, a rare genetic condition associated with an autism diagnosis, attention difficulties, emotional and behavioural issues and involuntary muscle movements.

St Joseph’s Primary School declined to comment.

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