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Pictures: Barnstaple garden centre packed out as Santa comes to town

PUBLISHED: 10:24 03 December 2013 | UPDATED: 11:25 03 December 2013

Children await Santa's arrival. Picture by Barbara Fryer

Children await Santa's arrival. Picture by Barbara Fryer

BARBARA FRYER PHOTOGRAPHY

Hundreds of youngsters at St John’s to see Father Christmas arrive by horse-drawn ‘sleigh’.

Father Christmas arrives at St John's Garden Centre. Father Christmas arrives at St John's Garden Centre.

HUNDREDS of children and their families turned out to see the arrival of Father Christmas at St John’s Garden Centre in Barnstaple on Friday evening.

The grand old gentleman drew gasps from open-mouthed youngsters as he arrived on a horse-drawn sleigh with the cast of the Queen’s Theatre pantomime.

His visit marked the opening of the garden centre’s free Winter Wonderland Walk and Santa’s grotto.

Also back with another new and imaginative display was the St John’s Santa Band, which this year will be collecting donations for the Devon Freewheelers – bikers who deliver urgently needed blood, drugs and other medical requirements between hospitals.

Oliver, 4, and Christopher, 6, are treated to some balloon modelling by Dave Hendy at St John's Garden Centre. Picture by Barbara Fryer Oliver, 4, and Christopher, 6, are treated to some balloon modelling by Dave Hendy at St John's Garden Centre. Picture by Barbara Fryer

The late-night shopping event was as popular as ever and garden centre owners said shoppers continued to pile through the doors during the weekend.

Chris Webber, marketing manager said: “It’s always difficult to gauge numbers but it was certainly very busy and I think people really enjoyed it.

“It’s all about the children really but the tills were busy all evening and the cafe did very well.”

Santa will be in his grotto this Saturday and Sunday – and every day up until Christmas Eve. See page 16 of this week’s Gazette for more details.

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