At this time of year, it’s not necessarily about what’s underneath the Christmas tree, but rather those who are sat around it with you. However, for some families, it’s not always plain sailing when it comes to spending Christmas with their nearest and dearest.

Heart-warming video content, The Continental Journeys series, has been released by Thorntons as part of the #PassTheLoveOn campaign. The film shows the tear-jerking moment Alwyn Stead, gives his mother, Alison Stead, the best Christmas present by returning home from Bangkok in a surprise festive reunion.

Alison was facing Christmas at home in Barnoldswick, North Yorkshire, without all of her three children together for the first time as her son has moved to Bangkok to teach.

Her story was discovered after Thorntons asked the British public to enter a competition and nominate a family member they’d like to reunite with this Christmas over a virtual reality experience. Little did they know, that the reunion would feel more real than they could ever imagine.

Hidden cameras show the Christmas miracle unfold as Alison is told to take her virtual reality goggles off as there is a ‘technical issue’. Much to her surprise, her son is standing in front of her when she does.

Competition winner, Alison Stead, commented “I was really nervous about the virtual reality experience, as I have never done anything like that before. But when I took off my virtual reality headset and saw him actually standing there, it was surreal. I was so shocked. It has meant so much to me to be able to spend time with him this Christmas, a real dream come true.”


Alwyn, Alison’s son commented “Surprising mum was amazing. She had been messaging me all week telling me that I couldn’t forget my phone as I needed it for the VR experience she had won. I was actually really nervous when I was standing in front of her, waiting for her to take her headset off. I couldn’t wait to just give her a hug. I think from her big scream you can see how surprised she was. I am so glad we get to spend some time together this Christmas.”

Ian Tweedale, Marketing Director of Thorntons comments: “We’re so pleased to have been able to reunite families and help them ‘Pass The Love On’ through our Continental Journeys Competition again, making their Christmas dreams come true. The Continental Journeys Competition brings to life what our charity partner SSAFA, does. SSAFA supports our servicemen and women, veterans and their families at this time of the year and all year round when their loved ones are away. We are both united in recognising that together or apart, Christmas is all about families showing each other that they care.”

Thorntons is working with the charity SSAFA, which supports servicemen and women, veterans and their families. A donation of sales of all Thorntons Continental products sold in Thorntons owned stores and on the Thorntons website will go directly to SSAFA.



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