Hundreds give seriously ill Warndon dad early Christmas surprise

October 30, 2021
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Snow and streamers fell from the sky and cameraphone lights were held up as the crowd sang popular Christmas songs to bring magic to Matthew Sandbrook and his family.

While there were smiles and joy the evening was also tinged with sadness as the family brought Christmas forward as the 36-year-old is seriously ill.

The dad-of-three was diagnosed with a brain tumour recently and cousin Nikki Lee asked the community for help to bring the family some Christmas magic.

And the community pulled together turning up dressed in festive gear and keeping the surprise a secret.

Crowds met on the green near Rodborough Close before moving to Matthew’s home where the family were visibly moved to see so many people.

Matthew watched on with his girlfriend Rebecca Rushton and their three sons Connor, 15, Kyle, 13 and Tyler, nine.

They sang Ben E King’s Stand By Me as the family came out of the house before singing popular Christmas songs such as Shakin Stevens’ Merry Christmas Everyone and The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York.

A really moving moment came as those gathered were asked to point their cameraphone lights to the sky and singalong to Snow Patrol’s Run.

Miss Lee said the whole event had been absolutely amazing.

“We have really brought the Christmas spirit to Warndon – we really did it.

“I can’t believe it. All that hard work, sleepless nights and text messages to my best friend Sam asking ‘Can we do this?’ has been worth it.

“My emotions have been up and down but seeing them all together I’m so happy we managed to do it.

“Thank you to everyone – it meant the world to them.”

Kristie Cowling said she did not know Matthew but dressed as an elf handing out glow sticks to children and throwing ‘snow’ into the air to bring a bit of Christmas spirit.

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