CROWDS gathered at St John’s Garden Centre in Barnstaple on Friday for the traditional arrival of Santa and a few of his Queen’s Theatre pantomime friends.

SANTA arrives at St John's Garden Centre in Branstaple on Friday accompanied by Queen's Theatre panto stars Princess Balroubadour aka Anna Campkis and Aladdin, alias Hamilton Lee.

The panto stars including Merlin, Wishee Washee, Widow Twankey and even the evil Abanazar kept the families and children entertained until the arrival of the man himself aboard a horse drawn sleigh.

The Princess Balroubadour aka Anna Campkis and Aladdin, alias Hamilton Lee arrived with him on the sleigh and greeted crowds before Santa made his way to his grotto to meet awed youngsters.

Also unveiled on the night was the new St John Santa Band display, lovingly created by centre staff each year with an appeal for donations to local charities, with Pathfield School chosen this year.