Christmas 2021 at WDP
Christmas activities at WDP are always one of the highlights of our fundraising and community engagement calendar.
After the cancelation of last years activities due to COVID-19 restrictions, we were delighted when the management team at Walton Gardens invited us back to run a Santas Grotto and Santa Dash. As the new Luminate Light Show had already booked use of the Heritage Yard, we were offered use of the Indoor Riding School, a huge area to fill, and fill it, we did.
Utilising two of our marquees, we built a Winter Wonderland Trail with North Pole backdrops, blackout roofing, picket fencing, forests of Christmas Trees, large inflatable and thousands of lights. Santas Grotto was housed in a huge log cabin and outside we offered our Teddy Tombola, Yule Log decorating, Santas Colouring competition, Christmas Raffle and outside offered a Reindeer Trail.
Visitors were greeted by not just Santa, but also Mrs Clause, who together, handed out some amazing presents, and to capture the magic moments were our friends from F11 Photography.
With amazingly positive feedback received on Facebook from the first weekend, the online bookings soon rocketed, proving more popular than ever. What was really nice, was seeing so many disabled children, parents and grandparents. Our Autism hours proved very popular, and the feedback we received from parents was humbling.
There are several magical moments we will take away from this years Grotto, including the comment from 40ish year old father of two who had recently been given weeks to live. He thanked us for providing wheelchair access, as ours was the only Grotto he could find that was accessible and he loved seeing his young children in awe of Santa.
On Sunday 12th December we also held our Santa Dash, supported by Birchwood Shopping Centre and Warrington Worldwide, over 60 runners and walkers filled the route around Walton Gardens in a sea of red. Friend of WDP, and WIRED Amputee member, Jill Keast Doran, provided inspiration to everyone as she completed a circuit on her hands and bottom. Jill said afterwards, losing both her legs hasnt stopped her from wanting to participate in events. She finished to a applause from nearly 100 people.
During 11 incredible days over 2,500 children visited Santa, and including their parents, grandparents and families, we entertained over 10,000 visitors. It took an amazing team effort, foresight and commitment from our team. Huge thank you to everyone involved.