Santa uses float and grotto to raise cash for charities

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SANTA took time out from delivering Christmas presents to good boys and girls to host a special float and grotto on behalf of various charitable causes.

Assisted by the Banbury Cross Round Table (BCRT), Santa’s endeavours raised in the region of £11,000 for worthy groups and individuals in Banburyshire.

Throughout December Santa spent his evenings touring around the streets of Banbury on his musical float before retreating to his grotto in Castle Quay for the weekends.

Mark Ross of BCRT said: “Both events have been well supported and we have really enjoyed doing them. The float alone has raised about £11,000.”

The float has become a long-standing tradition in Banbury, as Santa tours the town playing Christmas tunes on an illuminated float. He is assisted by volunteers who collect donations from residents, with many people representing local groups and clubs who receive a share of the funds raised on their night. Mr Ross said: “It doesn’t matter if people are old or young – everyone loves the float and it sets off Christmas for so many people.”

The grotto was launched for the first time in the former Past Times store and invited children to meet Santa, receive a gift and have a photo, all for £5.

Mr Ross said: “It’s been a success and well attended; there have been very few lapse moments where there hasn’t been a queue.”

In addition to assisting Santa in raising cash for charities, the round table also supported local individuals and families in need by donating 350 food parcels. A collection was held at Sainsbury’s and received about 15 trolleys full of food donations from the public, which were added to orders purchased by the club.

Mr Ross said: “People love the idea of the food parcels.”