Going crackers for Victorian Christmas

Pictured with Santa in his grotto are(left to right) Noah Connor, santas helper Katie Herbert, Jacob Hodgson and Isabel Hodgson.

Pictured with Santa in his grotto are(left to right) Noah Connor, santas helper Katie Herbert, Jacob Hodgson and Isabel Hodgson.

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A TRADITIONAL Victorian theme had hundreds of visitors flocking to a festive extravaganza at a popular tourist attraction.

Around 850 people were expected at this year’s Christmas Crackers event, which was held last night at Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience.

Organisers say the seventh annual feast of fun was the best yet, with record visitor numbers.

Lesley Strickland, Hartlepool Borough Council’s cultural events officer, said: “We have sold 850 tickets – a lot more than last year. “This is the seventh year the event has been running and this is the biggest one to date.”

She added that a lot of the activities, were all new to the Nirmamax-sponsored event.

Ms Strickland said: “It’s been amazing - we have got a lovely theme for our seventh year.It’s been very traditional and olde worlde.”

The traditional sea port setting was turned into a winter wonderland, complete with Santa’s grotto and a grand fireworks finale.

The venue was sparkling with Christmas lights and HMS Trincomalee also played its part when students from the town’s Manor College of Technology performed carols in the captain’s cabin and stalls were set up on board the historic vessel.

Also adding to the festive spirit was street theatre from Mr Scrooge and Mr Scratchit, as well as stiltwalkers Fagin and Dodge.

Quay staff also put on a pantomime, called The Queen Who Lost Her Smile and a two-strong cast from Shy Bairns Theatre Group performed ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas.

Brothers Charlie, nine, and Ethan Swift, eight, along with their one-year-old cousin, Noah Wright, were at the event with their grandmothers, Mary Mailen and Diane Wright.

Charlie, who donned a Santa hat, said: “My favourite bit was seeing Fagin – he liked nana’s earrings.”

Mary, from the Brooke estate, said: “This is always the start of our Christmas, there’s lots to see.”