Wednesday 22 November 2017

WATCH - Grandfather with Alzheimer's gets a special Christmas gift as granddaughter surprises him on her arrival from Australia

Sasha Brady

A grandfather received the best present of all when his beloved granddaughter returned home from Australia to surprise him for Christmas.

John Webb (80) was relaxing at home in Gorey, Co. Wexford when Santa Claus burst into his living room.

"Have you been a good boy this year?" asked Santa.

"You deserve a nice surprise," said the visitor in red, before removing 'his' hat to reveal that Santa was, in fact, John's granddaughter Charlotte.

In a touching moment the two embrace and John's eyes light up as the realisation sinks in.

Speaking to Independent.ie, John's son Derek said that it was the first time Charlotte had been home in two years and the first Christmas she'd spent in Ireland in five years.

She had been living in Melbourne, Australia and had hoped to return home for Christmas but couldn't afford a ticket.

Her family decided back in September to bring her home for Christmas and all chipped in to make her journey possible.

Derek's three children DJ (8), Charlie (6) and Millie Lou (6) all kept the secret from granddad John, despite sharing the same house.

"The most surprising part of all was that the kids kept quiet. They didn't want to ruin the surprise."

Derek, who is Charlotte's uncle, said his niece always had a "special bond" with her grandfather.

"I can't emphasise how much he loves her. He idolises her. The bond between them is like no other," he said.

"They've been close since she was two. He's missed her a lot while she's been away. I'll try and get them to Skype and he'll send her letters and food parcels."

John was diagnosed with Alzheimer's a year ago but Derek said it's at a manageable stage.

"My dad also has Parkinson's and diabetes. He was taking the wrong tablets at the wrong time and it was making him feel ill, that's how we found out... he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and underlying dementia last Christmas."

John is also a doting grandfather to Derek's three children who he lives with.

"We have two sitting rooms in the house. My wife and I will use one and my dad uses the other, the kids call his room 'granddad's house' and they'll head over there all the time because they know he'll sneak them chocolate bars," said Derek.

With all the family at home, the Webbs are looking forward to a quiet and cosy Christmas.

"It's great to have everyone together. I'm young but a traditionalist at heart. All the family are here, we'll relax and enjoy our time together and that's it."

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