Santa parks up

Maria Harrison from Pace in the Park welcomes Santa Clause into his grotto. Picture by FRANK REID
Maria Harrison from Pace in the Park welcomes Santa Clause into his grotto. Picture by FRANK REID

A PARK cafe has been transformed into a winter wonderland in time for Santa’s arrival.

The Place in the Park cafe, in Hartlepool’s Ward Jackson Park, is full of festive fun after staff turned it into a gorgeous grotto.

And it was capped off on Saturday when Father Christmas arrived to take his weekend place for the next couple of weeks.

Maria Harrison, manager of the cafe, said: “We try to improve it every year and it’s definitely bigger this year. It’s never finished and we are always adding bits and pieces.

“The whole idea behind our business is to try and create a community spirit and a place where everyone can come and find something for them.

“Having Santa here is always popular.”

The park was host to a Santa fun run for the first time over the weekend that saw scores of people don red suits and beards in aid of Hartlepool & District Hospice.

The cafe will also be host to the annual Christingle service by the Friends of Ward Jackson Park at 6.30pm on December 16.

Maria added: “It’s great having all these events here. The park is a great place to come and the more we get coming along the better.

“It’s important that it gets used all year round and not just the summer. Things like the fun run bring people here and hopefully they keep coming back.

“If we can add something new every year then that would be brilliant.”

Santa will be at the cafe from 11.30am-3.30pm each Saturday and Sunday until Christmas, visits cost £4 a child.

l See Wednesday’s Mail for a full picture round-up of the Santa fun run in aid of the hospice.