It may be spring outside but for one family it’s Christmas

A scarborough family celebrated christmas on tuesday with all the trimmings for an overseas Aunty  who was hospitalised over christmas. Pictured from left to right are nine year old Alice Pickard, her mum Tracey, Aunty Maria McGovern, Denise Archer, Collen Doolin and Diane McPartlan. 121125f. Picture by Dave Kettlewell'14/03/2012.
A scarborough family celebrated christmas on tuesday with all the trimmings for an overseas Aunty who was hospitalised over christmas. Pictured from left to right are nine year old Alice Pickard, her mum Tracey, Aunty Maria McGovern, Denise Archer, Collen Doolin and Diane McPartlan. 121125f. Picture by Dave Kettlewell'14/03/2012.
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WHEN Maria Firth underwent major surgery on her spine and neck last November, her Christmas was cancelled.

The 64-year-old, who moved from Scarborough to Olonzac in southern France eight years ago, had been planning her annual fortnight-long homecoming all year before the operation rendered her unable to travel.

However, her family have now pulled together to turn niece Tracey Pickard’s home in West Park Crescent into a winter wonderland – despite it being the middle of March,

“When (Maria) said that she wouldn’t be coming home for Christmas this year, I promised her the next time she was here I would give her a Christmas – and this is it,’ said Tracey, 43.

Tracey added that the kind-hearted gesture was the least she could do: “She’s like a mum to me, and with her not being here at Christmas, it just wasn’t the same.”

Presents were dished out, and carols were sung into the wee hours as nine guests gave Mrs Firth a Christmas she would never forget.

Mrs Firth said she was “blown over” at the gesture, which included a full Christmas dinner.

She added: “Tracey is like the daughter I never had. She works so hard already as a carer, and for her to go out of her way to do this, it’s just unbelievable.

“She cooked a dinner with all the trimmings – we even had sprouts!”

Tracey even catered for the guest of honour’s dietary requirements, as Mrs Firth, who lived in Filey Road before moving her across the Channel, is a vegetarian, meaning turkey was well and truly off the menu.

“I cooked her a bit of quorn chicken, and we even made her a special stuffing’, said Tracey, who added that all the guests brought something for the festive feast.

One guest secured a Christmas pudding.

Following the festivities, Tracey said that despite a late night, the unseasonal party had been well worth the effort.

“We were up singing carols until after midnight, and then I was up again at 5.30am to tidy up, but it was brilliant.”

And Mrs Firth, who also thanked her son Shaun and niece Karen for their help, said: “It was wonderful.

“It felt just like a real Christmas.”