No room at the inn for Santa Grotto can­celled over lack of suit­able space

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - KAREN BRIT­TON

SANTA needs cheer­ing up this Christ­mas af­ter being told there is no room for his fes­tive grotto, dis­ap­point­ing hun­dreds of chil­dren.

Santa has been meet­ing kids and hand­ing out presents at the Grosvenor Cen­tre for years, rais­ing £100s for char­i­ties.

But this year he has found him­self home­less be­cause there are no avail­able units. Last week he and Mrs Claus, who also makes an ap­pear­ance at the grotto, put out an ap­peal in the Ex­press to find a tem­po­rary new home over the fes­tive pe­riod. But de­spite gen­er­ous of­fers from peo­ple around the town, there is nowhere suit­able, and Santa and his helpers have had to cancel the grotto.

Santa said he is un­happy that he will dis­ap­point hun­dreds of chil­dren.

He said: “I was look­ing for­ward to meet­ing the chil­dren of Mac­cles­field and des­per­ately wanted to find some­where to hold my grotto but sadly I’ve had to cancel. Thanks everyone for com­ing up with ideas and try­ing to find me a grotto but sadly I’ll have to be home­less this year.

“I hope the chil­dren of Mac­cles­field won’t be too dis­ap­pointed. My helpers and I will be busy find­ing some­where for next year so we will be back with presents to get the show back on the road.”

Sam Hat­ton, who used to work for the coun­cil, has or­gan­ised the grotto for the last five years and this year teamed up with Jayne Lewis, fundrais­ing chair­man at the Ro­tary Club of Mac­cles­field Cas­tle, and other club mem- bers to or­gan­ise the grotto.

Can­celling the grotto means that the East Cheshire Hospice and Park Lane School, as well as other char­i­ties sup­ported by The Ro­tary Club of Mac­cles­field Cas­tle, will no longer ben­e­fit from the money raised.

Around 1,500 chil­dren vis­ited the grotto last year and £800 was raised for East Cheshire Hospice.

Santa’s helper Jayne Lewis, from the Ro­tary club, said: “We re­ceived an of­fer from a lovely lady called Nel­lie for a unit on Sun­der­land Street but it was too out of the way to en­sure we had enough vis­i­tors and we had a kind of­fer from Andy Brooks from MAC Ac­tiv­ity Cen­tre but also it was away from the cen­tre of town.

“The own­ers of the old Na­tion­wide site of­fered it but we didn’t have enough build time needed to en­sure the grotto’s sparkle.

“We can’t ex­plain how dis­ap­pointed we feel in not achiev­ing the grotto this year and our only con­so­la­tion is that we have started to look for a place for next year.”

Santa is fed up af­ter learn­ing he will not be able to have his usual grotto in the town cen­tre

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