SCORES of families got into the festive spirit as they turned out for the grand opening of the Leigh Park Christmas grotto.
With seasonal guests including Father Christmas, the Grinch and even Olaf from Frozen, the event kicked off a month of gift-giving to children in the area at the much-loved grotto’s 16th year.
Organised by members of the community, the Leigh Park grotto is run by a dedicated team of around 10 volunteers including head elf Kim Benham, who has taken over the reins for the first year.
It is located in unit 11 of Greywell Shopping Centre, with the shopping centre owners donating the shop space for use by Santa over the festive period.
Visitors to the opening event were welcomed by angelic singing as children from Warren Park Primary School performed in front of the gathered crowd, followed by a performance by Folks in Harmony.
The grotto will be open on a Thursday and Friday from 11am to 4.30pm, and Saturdaysfrom 10am to 4.30pm until the final day’s special opening on December 22, from 10am to 4.30pm.
Entry per child costs £3.50 and this includes an age-appropriate gift, a signed card from Santa, as well as a sweet and a badge.
Parents are allowed to take as many photos as they like of their children with Father Christmas.
Although the grotto will be in town for about a month, there has been hard work behind the scenes all year by Kim and her team of Christmas helpers to get the presents together and transform the shop space into a winter wonderland.
When asked what draws families from across the area into the festive fun, Kim said: ‘It’s the atmosphere, it’s magical. I’d definitely encourage people to come down and see.’
The team is always looking for more volunteers to get involved and help out.
If you want to help spread some Christmas cheer contact Kim on 07876427100.