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Alex Neville-Taylor, right, opens his gift with help from his brother, Liam.
Alex Neville-Taylor, right, opens his gift with help from his brother, Liam. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)
Alex Neville-Taylor, right, opens his gift with help from his brother, Liam.
Alex Neville-Taylor, right, opens his gift with help from his brother, Liam. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)
Ashley Pinner, left, drowns a sugar cookie with edible spray paint at a do-it-yourself Christmas cookie table at a party last week in Mildenhall.
Ashley Pinner, left, drowns a sugar cookie with edible spray paint at a do-it-yourself Christmas cookie table at a party last week in Mildenhall. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)
Magician "Doc" Magicke entertains a group of British youngsters during the holiday party in Mildenhall. The event was attended by about 40 children.
Magician "Doc" Magicke entertains a group of British youngsters during the holiday party in Mildenhall. The event was attended by about 40 children. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)
Staff Sgt. Lyle Bankhead, of the 48th Munitions Squadron, tries his best to paint the face of Shuan Willis, one of about 40 British youngsters invited to a holiday party last week sponsored by RAF Lakenheath airmen and Suffolk County Council’s Children and Young People’s Services.
Staff Sgt. Lyle Bankhead, of the 48th Munitions Squadron, tries his best to paint the face of Shuan Willis, one of about 40 British youngsters invited to a holiday party last week sponsored by RAF Lakenheath airmen and Suffolk County Council’s Children and Young People’s Services. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)

MILDENHALL — A handful of British youngsters huddled around a table, personalizing Christmas cookies with decorations at a holiday party Thursday evening inside this town’s community center.

Ashley Pinner, a 9-year-old boy, was among the decorators. After placing a sugar cookie on a small plate, he drowned it with edible spray paint, added thick lines of frosting and topped it off with a generous portion of sprinkles.

He later ate his masterpiece, declaring it delicious, although the sugary creation probably was something that only a kid could eat and love. He then went back for more sweets.

Ashley wasn’t the only one splurging at the two-hour party sponsored by RAF Lakenheath airmen and Suffolk County Council’s Children and Young People’s Services.

About 40 children could be seen swarming inside the center’s banquet room, loading up on treats and finger foods, playing party games and being amazed by a magician.

Halfway into the party, the man of the hour came rolling in with gifts. In his authentic white beard and red suit, Norman Killen, a British civilian with the 48th Equipment Maintenance Squadron, appeared as the children chanted “Santa!”

The gifts were donated by members of Killen’s squadron as well as the 48th Munitions Squadron, said Tech. Sgt. Raymond Blankenship, party organizer.

It was Blankenship’s second year volunteering for the party that’s been going on for 12 years.

“We try to cater it to [the kids],” he said. “It’s all about giving.”

Alex Neville-Taylor, 9, appreciated the gifts he received — a Lego toy and a box of candy bars.

“They’re brilliant,” he said. He also thought it was “wicked” meeting the airmen who had volunteered for the party.

Barbara Murfitt, a council worker, praised the airmen’s efforts and said that local children can’t help but get excited when they get invited to the party.

“It gives them a chance to play, have a fun time,” she said. “I think some of the children don’t have that opportunity.”

Murfitt initiated the party after some airmen asked the council how they could help the community during the holidays.

“I know that the families and children appreciate the support that they give,” she said.

The Suffolk council is always on the lookout for more airmen who are interested in supporting local youths, she added.

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