A first Christmas without a loved husband and father promised to be an ordeal for Sam Brown but that all changed with a knock on her door last Friday night.

Sam, who lost her husband Chris, in a fell climbing accident in June, was not looking forward to Christmas but was trying to make the best of it for their daughter Grace, who is nearly three.

“There was a knock on my door and there was Santa. He came in along with some elves and Elsa from Frozen. It was quite surreal.”

Santa, it turned out, had been sent by the Egremont Crab Fair Committee who had decided to use proceeds from the fair to help the little family over their first Christmas alone.

But the surprise did not stop there because the Egremont Fair Committee had got together with Cumbria Travel and i3 Decommissioning Group to give Sam, Grace and Sam’s mother, Leslie Vincent, a trip to Disneyland Paris.

Sam said she was totally overcome: “Chris always wanted to take Grace to Disneyland. I told him we should wait until we have all our children and take them all in one go. He would be so pleased. I lived in Egremont for 23 years but moved to Parton five years ago. It is so overwhelming that they remembered me.”

She said all Grace had wanted for Christmas was a Disney Princess dress and a bar of chocolate.

“Santa gave her both of those.”

On top of that, she was given spending money for Grace and a £150 cheque for Wasdale Mountain Rescue, who were involved in the search for Chris.

“I was dreading Christmas but this kindness has made it bearable. We are going a week on Friday and returning on December 23.

“Christmas is going to be hard but this has helped so much. We can’t thank everyone enough.”

Chris Brown was a popular figure in Maryport both in his role of postman and firefighter.

His death followed an accident while climbing on Scafell. He was a devoted husband and father who enjoyed sharing his love of nature and of life with his two-year-old daughter.

Since his death thousands have been raised for search and rescue groups who searched for him.