Huge polar bear to come to Meridian Shopping Centre in Havant - and there's a competition to name it

A HUGE polar bear is coming to a shopping centre this Christmas – and the race is on to name it.

Thursday, 25th November 2021, 2:14 pm
The polar bear at Havant's Meridian Shopping Centre

The bear is arriving at the Meridian Shopping Centre in Havant this week as part of its festive celebrations.

And the centre is about to launch a competition, with a cuddly polar bear as top prize, on its social media pages to name it.

The new attraction was made possible thanks to funds from the Welcome Back Fund, a government initiative providing councils across England financial support from the European Regional Development Fund to encourage the safe return to high streets.

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Centre manager Rob Fryer applied for the grant, with help from Havant Borough Council, as he wanted to add something new and exciting to the centre this year after not being able to run the traditional grotto last year due to lockdown.

He said: ‘Our grotto is hugely popular with the local community, and the generous donations help us to support worthwhile charities at what can be a challenging time of the year.

‘We were delighted to be able to add to the Christmas experience at Meridian Shopping Centre this year with our magnificent polar bear, and will be asking the public to help us name it via a competition on our social media pages.

‘We hope our bear will join with the grotto in becoming an opportunity to make festive memories each Christmas.’

Meridian Shopping Centre’s Santa’s grotto is making a return on Saturday, November 27.

It will be raising money for local charities Rowans Hospice, Chestnut Tree Hospice and Beacon Church.

Councillor Tim Pike, from Havant Borough Council, said he was delighted to see the government fund making a difference in the town.

He said: ‘The Welcome Back Fund, developed by the government as part of the Covid-19 response, aims to support the high street and tourist attractions in welcoming back shoppers and visitors.

‘We are delighted to be able to help bring this charming bear to Havant, certain that it will become a family favourite.’

Father Christmas will be at Meridian Shopping Centre from 11am until 3pm on Saturday, November 27 , as well as on Sunday, November 28.

He will also be in house on December 4, 5, 11,12,18, 19 and 24.

The name the bear competition starts on Monday and runs until Sunday, December 5.