VIDEO: Reindeer provide festive cheer at Kettering's Cransley Hospice

Staff and patients at Kettering's Cransley Hospice got into the festive spirit after a visit from some of Santa's reindeer.

Three of the traditional Christmas animals - Boris, Katya and Mischa - visited the hospice yesterday (Tuesday) to bring a bit of festive cheer.

One of the reindeer at Cransley Hospice.

One of the reindeer at Cransley Hospice.

The reindeer had come to the UK all the way from northern Finland and now live in Geddington as part of Luxlyk Reindeers.

Karen Sullivan, palliative care ward administrator at Cransley Hospice, said: “As Christmas is nearing we thought that reindeer could visit and spread some festive cheer.

"We are extremely grateful to Luxlyk Reindeers for visiting the hospice and donating their time to us especially as they are fully booked for the festive season.”

It's not the first time that animals have provided some entertainment at the hospice, which also brings in dogs Paddy and Jessie as part of their Pets As Therapy Dogs programme.

Staff and relatives of patients at Cransley Hospice with the reindeer.

Staff and relatives of patients at Cransley Hospice with the reindeer.

Patients, their families and staff were able to feed the reindeer their favourite treat, a lichen called reindeer moss, and enjoyed stroking the reindeer and learning about them with the handlers.

The reindeer also visited patients in their rooms, ensuring that those not well enough to venture out into the hospice garden enjoyed a visit from the animals.

Karen Fitzpatrick from Luxlyk Reindeers said: "Despite their size, reindeer are very gentle and don’t bite.

"In fact they have no incisors on the top jaw just a pad of hard skin and tiny teeth on the lower jaw."

As well as providing a happy moment for those there, Kettering-based veterinary surgeon Dr Chris Geddes said such visits are proven to decrease anxiety.

He said: "The benefits of human-animal interaction for both healthy and unwell people are well known and scientifically proven.

"For example animals lift our spirits, decrease anxiety, reduce boredom, provide comfort and help us to relax."