Heart-warming video captures moment Wellingborough family are reunited for Christmas
It won't be lonely this Christmas for a Wellingborough family as a tear-jerking video shows them reunited for the first time in years.
Claire Stilwell hadn't seen her RAF veteran brother Colin in more than four years.
Their father had served in the Navy, meaning they were often separated growing up, and Colin moved to New Zealand after serving in Iraq.
Claire was determined to bring her family together again and her wish came true after she won chocolatier Thorntons' Continental Journeys competition.
Colin said: "We had been planning to come over to the UK this year for some time but, due to a house move, we just couldn’t make it happen after all.
"I was speechless when Thorntons told me I’d be able to come over and spend some quality time with my parents in the run-up to Christmas.
"As a military family, we’re used to being separated but that doesn’t make it any easier – especially when you don’t know the next time you’ll be seeing each other.
"We really cannot thank Thorntons enough for this special gift, it’s truly priceless."
The competition was part of Thorntons’ Pass The Love On campaign.
The chocolatier is working with the charity SSAFA, which supports servicemen and women, veterans and their families.
A donation of sales of all Thorntons Continental products will go directly to SSAFA.
The video follows research by the charity and Thorntons which found 50 per cent of Brits will celebrate Christmas virtually this year, as money, miles and manic work schedules mean they can't be with family and friends.
More than a 36 per cent live too far away to see their loved ones, while one in six (16 per cent) struggle to find the funds to visit family and friends over the festive season.
Ian Tweedale, marketing director of Thorntons, said: "Despite being the time of year when most families come together, Christmas can be an emotional time – especially for those whose loved ones are the other side of the globe and unable to make it home.
"We’re so pleased to be able to Pass the Love On and make some Christmas wishes come true this year."