AN INSPIRATIONAL boy from Reading who has survived cancer was surprised by an off-duty visit from Santa at an extraordinary party.

The event, which took place to celebrate the courage of children and young people diagnosed with the disease, saw six-year-old Joseph Parker as a guest of honour at the Cancer Research UK Kids and Teens Star Awards party, supported by TK Maxx.

The magical winter wonderland themed party was held at Santa’s ‘summer home’ in central London.

It gave children and their families - some of whom have missed out on festive celebrations in the past due to cancer treatment - a memorable experience together.

Joseph enjoyed taking part in a variety of winter-themed games as well as arts and craft activities, including making glitter baubles in an elf’s workshop.

He was also given the exciting opportunity to spend time with Santa in his grotto, where he received an early present from the man himself and met other characters from the North Pole.

A total of 21 children and young people from across the UK joined Joseph for the fun-filled day, which also saw a performance by the hugely popular children's TV presenter Mister Maker.

Joseph, a Portsmouth FC fan, was diagnosed with a brain tumour 'the size of a golf ball', in August 2016, when he was three years old.

He underwent major surgery to resect the tumour, followed with a course of high-dose chemotherapy and now Joseph, a pupil at Charvil Piggott Primary, has regular MRI scans to monitor his progress.

He attended the party with his parents Steph and Chris, big brother Zachary, 9, and baby brother Theo, who is just four months old.

Steph said: "Joseph and Zachary were both so excited about the party, they were up at 5am and had to go for breakfast in their pyjamas so they didn't ruin their party clothes before we had even arrived.

"Joseph was desperate to know if Father Christmas would be here and when we arrived and he opened the letter saying he was going to meet him his face just lit up.

"They have had the best time, joined in with everything.

"It's been nice to come here and do something all together as a family – it's been perfect."

The Cancer Research UK Kids and Teens Star Awards celebrate the courage of all children and young people in the UK who have been diagnosed with cancer.

Every child and young person nominated receives a trophy, a t-shirt, a certificate signed by celebrities and a £50 TK Maxx voucher.

Jenny Makin, Cancer Research UK Kids and Teens spokesperson for Berkshire, said: "It is an absolute honour to be able to recognise the strength of youngsters like Joseph who have been through so much at such a young age. He is a real star.

"Cancer can have a devastating impact on children and young people, so it was a joy to see his smile light up as he met Santa and took part in our winter wonderland themed party.

"Every year, around 240 children are diagnosed with cancer in the South East.

"Our mission is to help save the lives of more youngsters and reduce the long-term side effects they may experience, by finding new, better and kinder treatments.

"It was a pleasure to meet Joseph and his family – we hope they’ve had a fantastic day creating special memories together!"