REINDEER and Husky rides as well as a chance to meet the real Santa in Lapland were part of a unique experience given to a deserving Tullibody girl.

Helen Iliff, 11, certainly made it to the top of the good list as each day she goes out of her way to support her mother, who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis.

The St Serf's pupil also helps make sure her brother Bernard, who is a cancer survivor, takes his medication and gets a decent breakfast.

Young Bernard was featured in the Advertiser close to a decade ago when he was given a just 10 per cent chance of survival as he entered a long battle with neuroblastoma.

He turned out to be quite the fighter, however, and was given the all clear nine or so years ago.

Helen, who wakes up at 6am every morning to help dad Ray with care duties, always wanted to fly in an aeroplane and was rewarded with a unique experience in December with a trip to Finland that included so much more.

The present came from Sandy Smith and Jayne Taylor-Savery at Justice for Children UK.

Sandy had supported the family a decade ago in their time of need and decided to lend a hand once again.

Each year, Jayne selects a youngster for the Child of the Year Award and felt Helen was worthy of receiving such a magnificent experience.

The 11-year-old enjoyed reindeer, Husky and snowmobile rides before meeting Santa in Enontekiö, located in the Finnish part of Lapland.

Helen's mum Anne-Marie, whom she helps in a variety of practical ways, was "buzzing" when she got word about the plans for the trip, later joking that she was even "jealous" herself.

But she was delighted for Helen as it gave her a much-deserved break "so she could be a normal little girl" again.

Young Helen was well-excited upon her return and "could not stop talking about it".

The proud mother explained Helen also does everything in her power to keep Bernard, who is nine years cancer-free, upbeat after going through so much at such a young age.

Jayne, who was hoping to give Helen a memory for life, told the Advertiser: "She's a very quiet little girl.

"You'd think you are talking to an adult because of her life experiences she's had."

But the minute they arrived in Finland "the child in her came out", explained Jayne.

She added: "And in me, of course, because I've never been to Lapland myself!

"It was the most fantastic experience she's ever had.

"She said she'll never-ever forget it."

And showing just why exactly she is such a deserving young girl, Jayne said the only thing Helen asked from Santa in her letter was: "All I really want for Christmas is for my mummy to get better.

"Maybe, if you can, could you give me a new Kindle?

"I hope that you have a nice Christmas too!"

Jayne added: "How many children write that kind of letter?"