Free Santa’s grotto will elf out kids’ hospice charity

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A Yorkshire-made bespoke Santa’s grotto is helping raise money for a children’s hospice this Christmas.

Trinity Walk shopping centre in Wakefield is playing host to a Santa – who has also visited young members of the royal family as the main man in the past – in a one-off grotto made by creative Huddersfield carpenter, Allan Robinson.

The grotto is made from fire retardant recycled wood and children can visit Santa in his grotto for free, three days a week where families can donate to Forget Me Not children’s hospice. The hospice’s volunteer team have taken on the role of Christmas elves and the centre has raised more than £10,000 for the charity thanks to the grotto.

The hospice covers Wakefield and is based in Huddersfield, with demand seeing them support families from right across West Yorkshire.

The centre is also offering shoppers free parking after 3pm every Thursday in the run-up to Christmas.

Lucy Grice, Trinity Walk’s marketing manager, said: “Our free grotto and free parking is just our way of saying thank you to everyone who shops here all year round, supporting the high street and the city centre. Our Santa is one of the best in the country – OK, I know we are biased but so many people tell us how amazing he is and we agree. The centre has done a lot of work with this great charity and our shoppers have been so generous over the years. Forget Me Not make a massive difference to the lives of children and their families during extremely challenging times, so anything we can do together all helps.”

Ryan Grint, Regional Fundraiser at Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice, added: “Over the past few years, we’ve grown our relationship with Trinity Walk so that our volunteers are now part of this amazing free grotto in the form of Santa’s elves.

“The public have been so supportive and each year we have raised more than the last. Every penny goes to services provided by our hospice for which we are so thankful and if we can help make Christmas that bit more magical for the visiting children, everyone wins.

“We just want to say a massive thank you to Trinity Walk, everyone who visits the grotto, our amazing volunteers and of course good old Santa Claus too!”