See Santa Claus spread Christmas cheer at Hartlepool's Middleton Grange shopping centre
Santa Claus entered Hartlepool in style with a welcome parade at Middleton Grange shopping centre.
He was accompanied by the Aycliffe and Brancepeth Brass Band playing traditional Christmas tunes. There were also performances by students of Nadine’s Academy of Dance and Val Armstrong School of Performing Arts to entertain the large crowd.
Also in attendance was the Mayor of Hartlepool, Coun Brenda Loynes, with her husband and consort Den Loynes.
Proceeds from the £3 per-child entrance fee for Santa’s grotto will go to local cancer Charity Miles For Men, whose members are helping the big man to run the venue in Middleton Grange’s central square.
The event was a resounding success and the shopping centre’s manager Mark Rycraft was delighted.
He said: “It was well attended with fantastic support from the local community. There were five or six hundred people here. Each year we bring Santa into the centre. We had bagpipes for him last year, but this year it was a brass band.
“I’d like to say a big thank you to Miles for Men and everyone at Middleton Grange. Without them there would be no event.”
Special arrangements have been made this year for anyone not comfortable with the noise that Santa’s arrival created.
Mark added: “We had some feedback from a mum whose son was autistic and didn’t like the noise. We arranged to meet her and came up with a plan for this year.
“We have a breakout space where it’s safe and quiet for anyone who has difficulty with noise, because it can be quite overwhelming.”
In addition to the grotto there are selfie stations where photographs can be taken on Santa’s sleigh and chair. A festive “talking postbox” has been installed, where good children can post their letters to Santa and his elves’ HQ in the North Pole.
Santa will be in the shopping centre every Thursday, Friday and Saturday before Christmas and on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday 22, 23 and 24 December.
He took time from his busy schedule to send a message through the Hartlepool Mail to pass on to children, saying: “Make sure you keep your bedrooms tidy please.”