FAMILIES packed into the garden of a former hospital as it was transformed into a festive grotto.
Father Christmas descended on the grounds of Victoria Cottage Hospital on Saturday – greeting scores of excited youngsters.
His arrival marked the return of an annual Christmas fair, organised to raise cash for the Southbourne Lions Club and Friends of Emsworth Community Health.
Among those soaking up the Christmas spirit was 29-year-old Lauren Haines, who went along with her three-year-old daughter, Katie.
Ms Haines said: ‘Katie is ever so shy, but Father Christmas was absolutely brilliant with her.
‘He asked her what she wanted for Christmas and she told him she wanted a dolly – we’ll wait and see what he comes up with.
‘It’s been a lovely morning. Everyone has been really jolly and glad to be here.’
Another child with her eyes set on a special gift was eight-year-old Poppy Barber, who asked Father Christmas for a personal stereo.
She said: ‘I got a bit shy when I saw Father Christmas but he was very friendly, cheery and smiley.
‘I really like pop and rock music, so I thought I would ask him for a stereo.’
Throughout the morning, visitors were spoiled for choice by offerings from an array of stalls, selling food and drink, children’s toys and much more.
The fixture raised hundreds of pounds in total.
Activities co-ordinator for the Southbourne Lions, Peter McCallum, said: ‘The weather couldn’t have been better and we’ve seen lots of people today. It’s been a magnificent event for us and we’re glad to spread the festive spirit.’