Charities feel the warmth of VIP visit to Santa’s Grotto

PUBLISHED: 09:50 22 December 2016 | UPDATED: 09:50 22 December 2016

The Clark family from West Wickham, during their visit to Santa's Grotto.

The Clark family from West Wickham, during their visit to Santa's Grotto.


Visitors came from Bromley Mencap and Caspa

Charities lined up a very special surprise for a number of families when they were given a VIP ticket to visit Father Christmas.

To help spread some seasonal cheer, dozens of families who benefit from local charities were invited to Santa’s Grotto at The Glades.

“My daughter thoroughly enjoyed it and felt very relaxed,” said Lily Clark, who was joined by husband Declan for their four-year-old daughter Josie’s first ever visit to meet Santa.

The family came from Bromley Mencap, which supports families with disabilities, during a visit earlier this month.

The West Wickham mum-of-two added: “I thought it was very well organised and not at all stressful for the children or the parents, as can so often be the case with these events.”

Last weekend, families from Caspa (Children on the Autism Spectrum Parents Association), also paid a visit to meet the big man.

Craig Higgins, marketing manager at intu Bromley, explained: “We want to spread as much joy as possible this Christmas so we decided to share some seasonal fun and allocated exclusive, complimentary visits to Santa’s Grotto for families from these two local charities.

“We have been delighted by the response and thrilled that families have loved meeting Santa in his Lapland themed grotto.”

During the visits, youngsters had the chance to meet Santa’s elves, and share their wish lists for the big day.

Both charities were full of praise for the initiative.

Eddie Lynch, chief executive of Bromley Mencap said: “It is a wonderful gesture to extend an exclusive invite to families connected with out charity.”

Helen Dyer, director of Caspa, said: “We delighted with the invite for families to visit Santa’s Grotto this month.

“It is a generous gesture and we are thrilled to be collaborating with the shopping centre again.”

Father Christmas takes off for his busiest day of the year on Christmas Eve.

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