Home­less Santa’s ap­peal for grotto space

Macclesfield Express - - BEFORE THE BENCH -

SANTA has made an ur­gent plea for a place to hold his grotto or he will have to dis­ap­point hun­dreds of chil­dren hop­ing to meet him at Christ­mas.

Santa usu­ally sets up his grotto in one of the empty shops in the Grosvenor Cen­tre. He and Mrs Claus meet chil­dren and give them presents, while rais­ing money for lo­cal causes. Last year around 1,500 chil­dren vis­ited the grotto and £800 was raised for East Cheshire Hos­pice.

But this year all the units are full, with the va­cant ones be­ing taken up by tem­po­rary Christ­mas shops. While this is good news for the econ­omy and Christ­mas shop­pers, it means that Santa has nowhere to go.

Santa said: “In the past the won­der­ful Grosvenor Cen­tre team have had an avail­able unit and cre­ated a mar­vel­lous grotto for the chil­dren to visit me. This year, and they are so sorry, but all avail­able units have been let and oth­ers on Ch­ester­gate and Mill Street are not avail­able.”

Santa will be at the Char­i­ties Bazaar on Satur­day, Novem­ber 19, but needs a more per­ma­nent home.

He said: “I des­per­ately need a self con­tained unit, se­cure and with fa­cil­i­ties in the town cen­tre. It has to be on the ground floor with easy ac­cess for pushchairs. I don’t want to dis­ap­point the chil­dren of Mac­cles­field and hope some­one can help.”

Sa­man­tha Hat­ton, who has run the grotto in pre­vi­ous years, has teamed up with Jayne Lewis, fundrais­ing chair­man at the Ro­tary Club of Mac­cles­field Cas­tle, to or­gan­ise the grotto. And Michael Jones, of PR Jones the Jewellers, is ready to take the grotto out of stor­age for an­other year, but time is run­ning out.

Ed Kennedy, man­ager of the Grosvenor Cen­tre, said he is keen to pro­vide any as­sis­tance he can.

He said: “We know first-hand how pop­u­lar the grotto is and we would have loved to be able to host Mr and Mrs Claus in the cen­tre this Christ­mas as we have done in pre­vi­ous years.

“As we are fully let we sim­ply have no unit avail­able this year, how­ever we will be con­tin­u­ing to sup­port the cause with a do­na­tion of £200 to the East Cheshire Hos­pice and the Ro­tary Club of Mac­cles­field.”

This year’s char­i­ties will be The Ro­tary Club of Mac­cles­field Cas­tle, East Cheshire Hos­pice and Park Lane School.

The grotto will need to open ev­ery week­end in De­cem­ber. Con­tact Steve Smith on 07955 001950.

Tony Kee­ley and his part­ner Ca­role Mur­phy as Santa and Mrs Clause

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