Long lost grotto back after a decade away

Rotary Club members alll set for Santa's Grotto in St Annes. From left:  Viv Wilder, Kelly Godden, Santa Claus, Carrie Dyson, Matthew Willey.
Rotary Club members alll set for Santa's Grotto in St Annes. From left: Viv Wilder, Kelly Godden, Santa Claus, Carrie Dyson, Matthew Willey.

Santa Claus is coming to town, with a ho-ho-whole load of festive treats – and a bid to provide the ideal festive boost for charity.

The Rotary Club of St Annes on Sea has invited Father Christmas to meet children at a grotto being set up specially in a town centre shop – and hopes to raise awareness of the organisation’s good work as well as vital cash in the process.

The grotto is the first in the town centre for more than a decade and will be located within the Storytellers Inc bookshop on The Crescent from Friday, December 19 to Monday, December 22 inclusive, from 10am to 3.30pm each day.

Santa will be assisted by members of the St Annes Rotary Club, including former town mayor Coun Viv Willder, who said: “It is a great opportunity to see Father Christmas and we hope lots of youngsters will pay a visit.”

Tickets for the grotto will cost £6, including an age-appropriate gift, with a proportion of the takings going to charities supported by Rotary, which provides help for needy local families as well as supporting national and international causes.

Carrie Dyson, St Annes Rotary’s international and fund-raising chairman, said: “Our members have been extremely busy organising and preparing the grotto and we are so grateful to Storyellers Inc for making the space available.”

Tickets are now on sale at the shop and advance purchase is advised, although admission will be available on the days concerned.

Arnold Sumner, co-ordinator of St Annes Chamber of Trade, which organised a grotto for Santa in empty shops in the town centre up until around 15 years ago, said: “All credit to the Rotary Club for bringing a grotto back to the town centre and I am sure it will prove popular.”