‘Brilliant’ children’s charity gets grotto boost

Picture: Isle of Wight Radio/PA Wire

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THIS weekend is the last chance for families to meet a shopping centre’s Father Christmas before he flies back to the North Pole.

The Meridian Shopping Centre in West Street, Havant, has seen long queues for its charitable Christmas grotto.

So far more than £900 has been raised for the children’s charity Over the Wall.

The charity is part of the Serious Fun Network.

It provides free-of-charge therapeutic recreation camps to help children with life-limiting illnesses and their families.

Rob Fryer, general manager of the shopping centre, said: ‘The grotto has gone fantastically well.

‘The feedback from our customers is very good.

‘We take the view that, unlike other grottos, we do not want to do this as a money-making venture.

‘We only charge £1 and for that the children get chocolate and a photograph with Father Christmas.

‘We’ve been doing the charity grotto for three years now and it has been very successful.

‘The first year was for the Prince’s Trust, and last year was for The Rainbow Centre.

‘Over the Wall really appealed to us. Not only does it have the same colours as the Meridian but it’s a brilliant children’s charity.

‘We hope the children enjoy the last weekend before Father Christmas flies back to the North Pole.’

The grotto is open Saturday and Sunday, 11am until 3pm. Entry is £1.