Santa lands at Middleton Grange shopping centre

You better watch out, you better not cry...Santa Claus has come to town.

Hundreds of people turned out to watch St Nick arrive at Middleton Grange shopping centre where he has taken up residence in his grotto until Christmas.

Santa with PJ Foster (10) and Lacey Foster (6)

Santa with PJ Foster (10) and Lacey Foster (6)

The crowds were entertained by performers from the Val Armstrong School of Dance and Radio Hartlepool’s Jason Anderson before the big man’s arrival.

Santa was greeted by Mayor and Mayoress Coun Paul Beck and wife Mary, then his sleigh made its way through the centre, accompanied by the dancers and pulled by members of the local Round Table, with music from the Bishop Auckland Pipe Band.

On arriving in the main square, Santa chatted with children and handed out sweets and lollipops.

Middleton Grange centre manager Mark Rycraft was delighted with the turn-out for what is becoming a Hartlepool tradition.

We have been doing this Santa parade for ten years now and it just gets better every year - you see children in the crowd every year who have grown up with this.

Mark Rycraft

“It is fantastic,” he said.

“We’ve had a brilliant atmosphere and it is great to see so many people here.

“We have been doing this Santa parade for ten years now and it just gets better every year - you see children in the crowd every year who have grown up with this.

“I want to say a big thank you to the Val Armstrong School of Dance, the Round Table members, Radio Hartlepool and the pipers, who have really helped generate a great atmosphere.

Val Armstrong dancers

Val Armstrong dancers

“It takes a lot of organisation for something like this - there is a lot going on behind the scenes.

“I have a dedicated team who have come in on their day off make sure this goes as well as possible.

“So I want to say a big thank you to them and, of course, to everyone who has come down today to welcome Santa to Hartlepool.”

Santa was joined on his sleigh by ten-year-old PJ Foster and sister Lacey, six.

Entertaining the crowds

Entertaining the crowds

PJ, whose dad Paul is security supervisor at the centre, survived an attack of viral meningitis during the summer.

“He was on holiday with his Nan when we got a phone call to say he had to go into hospital,” said Paul.

“By the time we got there, he had had a lumbar puncture, which confirmed that he had meningitis.

“If not for him being so young and fit, he might not have pulled through.”

Santa Claus arrived in Hartlepool on his sleigh, parading through Middleton Grange Shopping Centre on Sunday.  The mayor and Mayoress of hartlepool Coun. Paul Beck and his wife Mary leading Santa�"s parade

Santa Claus arrived in Hartlepool on his sleigh, parading through Middleton Grange Shopping Centre on Sunday. The mayor and Mayoress of hartlepool Coun. Paul Beck and his wife Mary leading Santa�"s parade

Santa meeting the young and the young at heart.

Santa meeting the young and the young at heart.

First in Santa's Grotto was 8 month old Alice McBride with mum Lauren Precious and dad Daniel McBride.

First in Santa's Grotto was 8 month old Alice McBride with mum Lauren Precious and dad Daniel McBride.