Lantern parade to Santa’s grotto brings in the festive season

114253-686 XMAS LEIGH PARK (MP) MRW 2/12/2011 ''The Mayor of Havant Cllr. Ken Smith led a lantern procession around The Greywell Shopping Precinct on Friday evening ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (114253-686)
114253-686 XMAS LEIGH PARK (MP) MRW 2/12/2011 ''The Mayor of Havant Cllr. Ken Smith led a lantern procession around The Greywell Shopping Precinct on Friday evening ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (114253-686)
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WITH their festive lanterns at the ready, Leigh Park kicked off the build-up to Christmas.

The Mayor of Havant, Cllr Ken Smith, led a bright, colourful procession on a short stroll from the Greywell shopping centre to usher in the festive season.

Father Christmas also popped by to talk to children in his grotto and hear what gifts they want him to bring down the chimney this year.

First in line to see Santa was four-year-old Mia Tennant and her brother Toby, three.

Mum Kelly Tennant, 24, of The Warren, said: ‘They are really excited for Christmas already so I’ve taken them to see Father Christmas. It’s a bit cold but they love it.’

Mia said: ‘This year I want a Barbie bike and a Pumpaloons game.’

Around 200 people of all ages turned out at the event which was organised by local Leigh Park people to spread a little seasonal cheer.

Cllr Smith said: ‘It’s the start of Christmas today and I’m delighted to be here. You can see the hard work of the people who put this all together is really appreciated by the children and the mums and dads, of course. It’s a fantastic thing to do.

Doreen Tyldsley, 75, took her youngest granddaughter Emilia, five, to see Father Christmas.

Emilia said: ‘I’m looking forward to Christmas. I can’t wait. I want a Wii.’