A BARNSTAPLE garden centre will be flying high this Christmas to raise thousands of pounds for the Devon Air Ambulance Trust. St John s Garden Centre maintenance man Craig Brown has been busy building an exact replica of the charity s new North Devon heli

A BARNSTAPLE garden centre will be flying high this Christmas to raise thousands of pounds for the Devon Air Ambulance Trust.St John's Garden Centre maintenance man Craig Brown has been busy building an exact replica of the charity's new North Devon helicopter, the G-DAAT EC135, for this year's Santa Band charity Christmas display.Craig, 39, from Barnstaple, has spent the last few weeks making the helicopter, complete with spinning rotor blades, from plywood."It was quite a challenge, but I'd made a log cabin and mountain backdrop in recent years so thought I'd give it a go," he said."I'd also made a windmill for the garden centre's bulb display a while back, so I used the same motor that turned the sails for the helicopter rotor.The popular musical display, featuring moving elves, raised £3,000 for CLIC Sargent last year. It will be officially unveiled at a special Christmas late night shopping event on November 21 St John's marketing manager Chris Webber said that the event from 6-9pm would feature a jazz band, Christmas food tastings and mulled wine, as well as 20 per cent off selected items in store.On November 28, former EastEnders star Todd Carty and the cast of this year's Queen's Theatre Jack and the Beanstalk pantomime will be joining in the fun as part of the garden centre's Santa Land evening. Children will be able to have a go on rides, "hug a husky" and visit Santa in his grotto.