Santa and his sleigh will be helped by the Newport Rotary Lite elves at half a dozen locations between now and Christmas – including this Friday's Christmas lights switch on.
After an enforced break due to Covid lockdowns, club members are determined to be back entertaining children of all ages – and raising money for local causes.
Newport Rotary Lite elf, Les Goodchild, said: “We know that the lovely people of Newport and the villages have massively missed Santa and his sleigh – it broke our hearts not being able to entertain and help our area as we did every year before Covid – so we were determined to get Santa and his sleigh back out and about in a Covid-secure way.
"The sleigh brings such joy to the children of the area – I think the oldest child we have made smile was 93 – as well as raising money for local good causes. In previous years this has included our First Responder Appeal, the League of Friends X Ray Appeal, and Newport youth organisations.
“The best thing about the sleigh for us is the look on people’s faces when they see Santa and his – or her – team of elves amongst all the music and lights. It’s great to be able to bring pleasure to the town and villages that have supported us so well.
“Obviously Santa and the sleigh team need to operate in a way that is safe for everyone in these Covid times, so this year we will be in specific places at specific times, and won’t be touring the streets as the sleigh has done previously. We want everyone coming to see him to be safe, and don’t want Santa needing to use the Elf Service.”
As well as the town's Christmas lights switch on on Friday, the sleigh will appear on Saturday, December 4 at the Sutherland Arms at Tibberton from 10am until 12 noon, and outside the Village Hall in Edgmond from 12.30pm until 2.30 pm.
On Sunday, December 5 the team will be outside Waitrose in Newport from 10am until about 4pm.
Then on Saturday, December 11, Santa and the sleigh will be on the Square in the middle of Newport from 10am until 2pm. On Sunday, December 12 they will be at the car park next to the school in Lilleshall from 10am until 12 noon, and outside the Village Hall in Church Aston from 12.30pm until 2.30pm.
Finally, on Saturday, December 18, the sleigh team will be outside Waitrose from 10am until about 4pm, and on Sunday, December 19 they will be in The Square in Newport again from 10am until 2pm.
Les added: "Like many similar organisations Newport Rotary Lite lost 80 per cent of its income during Covid so unfortunately that has restricted the amount of help we have been able to give recently. Hopefully the fab people of our area will give as generously as they have before, so we can carry on helping those who really need it.”
“It takes a real team effort to get Santa and the sleigh back out and about, and we’ve been so lucky to get help from local businesses and authorities. Cavagna Group bought the sleigh much needed new lighting and an amplifier and even helped us do the electrics, Bellman’s Yard always help in different ways and gave good advice, and Telford and Wrekin Council really helped facilitate things behind the scenes for us – thank you everyone who helped!”