CHRISTMAS has come early for a boy whose parents thought they may never have a child of their own.

Ismail Hitchcock was born nearly two years ago after his mum Amira Abbas and dad Stuart Hitchcock, from Westcliff, had IVF treatment at Bourn Hall Clinic.

On November 25, they took their son to meet Father Christmas for the first time at his grotto inside Glicks Opticians at the Wickford at Christmas Street Fair.

Ms Abbas, 34, who works as a nursery nurse, said: “Taking Ismail to meet Santa was a magical experience and the icing on the cake for us as a family. We feel so incredibly lucky to have our wonderful little boy.”

Joining Ismail and his parents at the grotto was Katherine O’Connor, fertility nurse with Bourn Hall Clinic in Wickford which sponsored Santa’s appearance.

She said: “It was a delight seeing Ismail meet Santa.

“Christmas is all about families and at Bourn Hall we understand that it can be a particularly difficult time for those who are struggling to conceive. The street fair and Christmas lights always bring a bit of magic to Wickford and it feels lovely to have helped make that happen.”

This is the third year running that the Wickford at Christmas committee of volunteers has organised a Christmas street fair which attracts 5,000 visitors to the town centre.

The event raises funds towards the installation, repair, running and storage of the Christmas lights for Wickford.

This year, the lights are being extended as far as Bourn Hall’s brand new clinic in London Road which opened in the town in May.

Graham Bradley, treasurer for Wickford at Christmas, said: “Once again Santa proved to be a big attraction at the event and we are enormously grateful to Bourn Hall Clinic which made his appearance possible, bringing joy to hundreds of children and their families.”

The clinic treats both NHS-funded and self-funded fertility patients and carried out its first egg collections in August this year.

Weeks after the first embryo transfers, the clinic have announced the first pregnancies achieved in its facilities.

Anne O’Leary, Lead Embryologist for the clinic, said: “We are hoping for more good news in time for Christmas to make more peoples’ dreams of having a family come true.”

Bourn Hall Clinic also has clinics in Cambridge, Norwich, and Colchester.

It is offering free consultations with a fertility nurse specialist and half-price fertility health and wellbeing tests.