Santa ‘body doubles’ needed for charity’s shopping centre grotto

News | Published 14th November 2016

It’s a job advert like no-other…

… Must be jolly, good with children, look good in a red suit, be partial to a mince pie and be available to work (volunteer) in the run up to Christmas.

A white beard, large waist and experience of handling reindeers would be advantageous.

That’s what a Preston-charity needs this Christmas to make its grotto a success – some Santa ‘body doubles’

In fact, Galloway’s Society for the Blind, which operates the Santa’s Grotto in St George’s Shopping Centre, is also on the lookout for some volunteer elves.

The charity has operated the grotto in the centre for many years, but this year really need some additional volunteers to help it meet demand.

The grotto, which opens on Saturday, November 26, is free to enter but donations will be appreciated by Galloway’s to help it to support more local blind and partially sighted people live an independent life.

Wilf Holden, 71, from Fulwood, Preston, has been a Santa body-double for the past three years and is encouraging other to come forward and offer their time to help.

He said: “Christmas is all about the season of goodwill and that’s just one of the many reasons I’ve given up my time for the past three years to support Galloway’s Grotto. It’s always great to see a smile on a child’s face after they’ve been to see Santa – and at the same time I know I’m helping the charity too. If you’ve got some time this Christmas – and fit the bill – your help would be gratefully received.”

Emma Russ, senior fundraiser at Galloway’s, said: “Creating magical moments for children on the run up to Christmas these past few years has been great fun and we’ve raised thousands of pounds each year to help those affected by sight loss locally but we simply can’t do it without volunteers. This year we need both Santas and Elves to help us man our grotto – so if you’re able to help, we’d love to hear from you.”

Andrew Stringer, general manager of St George’s Shopping Centre, added: “We’ve got plenty happening at St George’s to make sure this Christmas is full of surprises for our shoppers and we’re delighted to welcome Galloway’s and the team back for another year – but they need your help.  After all, it is the season of giving, so if you have some time spare this year, we’d be very grateful of it.”

The Galloway’s Grotto will open on Saturday, November 26 and run every Saturday and Sunday up to and including December 11. From December 14, the grotto will be open 11-4 every day until Christmas Eve.

To find out more and volunteer your time this Christmas contact Emma Russ at Galloway’s on


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