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Friday, 18 April 2014

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Barrow charity presents the ‘best Santa’s grotto in the area’

THE sights, sounds and even the smells of Christmas greeted excited youngsters at the official opening of Barrow’s premier Santa’s grotto on Saturday.

A corner of the Barrow and District Disability Association offices in School Street has been transformed into the Lapland headquarters of Father Christmas.

Volunteers worked for 10 days to make the grotto as magical as possible right down to the small details from the straw on the floor and using pine shavings, frankincense and myrrh for an authentic festive scent.

Margaret Burrow, honorary secretary of Barrow and District Disability Association, said the group decided to have a Christmas grotto 15 years ago to create a space for children of all ages and abilities.

“A lot of people don’t take into consideration the children in wheelchairs. They often put Santa up on a plinth and the children have to get someone else to tell him what they want for Christmas.

“No child wants to have to do that, they want to tell him themselves.”

Last year, 499 lucky children got to meet Father Christmas and this year’s volunteers, all suitably dressed as reindeer and elves, are expecting similar numbers.

The organisers are keen to make sure each child gets to spend quality time with Santa and while they wait, the youngsters are entertained by Nanny Elf and her sidekick Naughty Bird.

Mrs Burrow said: “I’m biased but I think it’s the best Christmas grotto in the area.

“I always say to people who want to help, you have to be prepared to make special memories for children, I don’t want any ‘bah humbug’.”

The grotto will be open again Saturday and Sunday from 10am until 3pm. It costs £2.50 per child and each visitor gets a present depending on their age group.

Families are advised not to leave it to the last minute due to high demand.

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