Bideford shop gets Santa's grotto makeover

A VACANT Bideford town centre shop has been turned into a magical Christmas grotto in time for the arrival of Father Christmas this weekend. Century Galleries owners Julie and Jonathan Barker have decided to make use of the empty shop next door to their M

A VACANT Bideford town centre shop has been turned into a magical Christmas grotto in time for the arrival of Father Christmas this weekend.

Century Galleries owners Julie and Jonathan Barker have decided to make use of the empty shop next door to their Mill Street business by creating a winter wonderland Santa's grotto, complete with log cabin facade and veranda, Christmas trees, artificial snow, elves, and even a miniature pony.

The grotto will be open all day this Saturday from 10am to 4pm, with donations being collected for the Children's Hospice South West.

"We hope that visitors will feel like they're walking through a magical winter woodland," said Julia.


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"Father Christmas will be giving free gifts to the children and Mother Christmas will be handing out cookies.

"We recently took on the former Hot Dog Surf shop next door and thought that as there hasn't been a Santa's grotto in town for so long, it'd be a nice thing to do.

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"The local business community has all pulled together to help make it happen. Among those who have helped are Jewson, Sutcombe Sawmills, Carousel Amusements, Lindsey's Cakes, Graffiti Print, and carpenter Richard Graham who built the grotto.

"We hope to get as many people down on the day as possible; there are no expenses involved so every penny that we take will go straight to the children's hospice.

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