GALLERY: Santa launches Bexleyheath Christmas Grotto in aid of Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice
PUBLISHED: 12:19 14 November 2016 | UPDATED: 14:36 14 November 2016
The charity grotto is in Broadway Shopping Centre
Santa and his helpers launched a Christmas grotto with a new elf makeover service, at Broadway Shopping Centre on the weekend (November 12).
Santa and his elves were joined by staff and volunteers from Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice to open up the grotto, which last year saw 6,000 children visit raising £43,000 for the charity.
Broadway Shopping Centre manager Peter Sedge, joked children can “Come as yourself, leave as an elf!”
Among the first to get a make-over was 11-year-old Madison Thorley who was visiting the grotto with her auntie Emma Thorley, 33 and baby cousin Hannah Thorley, aged four months.
“Madison’s had a great time, she really enjoyed getting her cheeks painted and meeting Santa,” said new mum Ms Thorley.
“The whole experience of the grotto and the effort that’s gone into making it is great.”
Every child who visits the grotto gets the chance to have an elf makeover including rosy cheeks and elf ears, they also get to make their own elf passport and of course, receive a gift from Santa.
Among the youngest visitors to the grotto on Saturday were cousins Sophie Jones, aged ten weeks, and Dolly Cross, aged 4 weeks.
Sophie was with her mum Mandy Jones, and sister Poppy, aged seven, while Dolly was with her mum Jade Cross, dad James and sisters Ruby, aged nine, Scarlet aged five.
Ms Jones, 35, from Thamesmead said: “It’s a lot more magical than last year, with the interaction with the elves, and doing the passport, and then seeing Santa.”
Proceeds from the grotto are donated to Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice.
Peter Sedge, general manager at Broadway Shopping Centre said: “Last year we had 6,000 visitors and the grotto raised £43,000 for the Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice. It’s a really good cause and I’d urge families to come down and support them by visiting the grotto.”
Megan Boyle, deputy fundraising manager for Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice said: “It’s great to see the grotto up and running. It’s a lovely experience for children as Christmas approaches, and we would like to thank everyone who comes for the vital funds this raises each year.”
The grotto at Broadway Shopping Centre runs every day from now until Christmas Eve, December 24. The entry fee is £5 per child and this includes queue entertainment, an elf makeover, elf passport, and a present from Santa.
The Broadway Shopping Centre grotto is open from 10am until 5pm on weekdays, from 9.30am until 5.30pm on Saturdays, and on Sundays from 10am until 4pm. On Christmas Eve the grotto will be open from 9.30am until 4.30pm.