THE season of goodwill was in full swing as children were given Christmas presents paid for by regulars at a pub.
Bar staff dressed up as elves and Santa was invited to surprise schoolchildren as they walked home on their last day of school on Friday.
Children’s faces beamed with delight as they were treated to the festive experience at The Swallow pub, in Dunsbury Way, Leigh Park.
The fun idea was dreamed up by Elaine Jones, who has been the landlady at the pub for the last 14 years.
She wanted to do something special as she sees children walk past the pub every day on their way home from school.
Drinkers at the pub have been contributing to a kitty over the last few months to pay for the presents.
There were smiles all round as children unwrapped jigsaws, toys, colouring books and reading books.
Mrs Jones, 57, who has nine grandchildren, said: ‘All the customers and the bar staff and I just wanted to do something for the children coming home from school.
‘We have had a window display here.
‘They come over and look at it and I wanted to surprise them.
‘The customers of the pub have been putting pounds in here and there.
‘There’s no Christmas spirit any more and we just thought this was a nice thing to do with it being their last day at school.’
Dressing up as elves for the event and giving out sweets were Mrs Jones’ daughter Heather Jones and Charmaine Robinson.
Mick Coates, a friend of the family, donned a white beard and helped Father Christmas out.
Heather said: ‘This is a lovely thing to do for the kids.
‘There’s not a lot that’s being done round here.
‘I love Christmas anyway.
‘This gives the children a boost before Santa comes.
‘I love seeing their faces.’
Max Burton, seven, who attends Warren Park Primary School, said: ‘It makes me really happy.
‘I am very excited and can’t wait for Christmas Day.’
Charmaine, 31, added: ‘It was magical.
‘The children’s faces were a picture.
‘It was lovely to bring some community spirit.
‘We also got on the bus and gave sweets and Christmas presents to disabled children.
‘And we gave out mince pies to everyone on the number 23 bus!’