Children with autism enjoy a festive meal

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YOUNGSTERS with special needs got the chance to sit down for dinner with Father Christmas.

Pupils from Heathfield Special School in Fareham were invited to the Harvester in The Avenue on Tuesday for the meal.

Father Christmas with Samantha Roberts and her daughter Chloe Blanford, four, and Sheila Blanford 

Picture: Habibur Rahman (171650-783)

Father Christmas with Samantha Roberts and her daughter Chloe Blanford, four, and Sheila Blanford Picture: Habibur Rahman (171650-783)

The event was organised by Lee Steele and his wife Gill – who collectively run the Facebook group Supporting and Understanding Our Amazing Autistic Children.

Mr Steele, 43, who is an employee at the restaurant, greeted the 14 children who attended with their parents and carers.

He said: ‘It was amazing. The whole idea was to give children with autism the space to enjoy meeting Father Christmas, without the chaos and noise that can often come with a typical grotto.

‘We’ve been given the OK to run event at the pub each year from now on, which is great.

‘Many thanks to all who came.’