Santa gives a farewell wave to the children – and mums and dads – who turned out to see him during his two-week tour of Wheathampstead, Kimpton and Blackmore End.
He began his visit to the villages with a flick of the switch to light up Wheathamstead’s Christmas decorations. Then, surrounded by his team of elves, he guided his sleigh to the nearby MacIntyre Home. There, in his grotto, he chatted to the scores of youngsters who had queued for the chance to speak to him.
Before leaving the area, Santa said a big ‘Thank You’ to everyone who had given so generously to the collection for local good causes. More than £2,200 was raised. This year’s main beneficiaries will be the Wheathampstead Thursday Club for the Disabled and the Wheathampstead Community Group.
Since reviving Santa’s tours of the villages in 2005, Rotary in Harpenden have been able to distribute more than £28,000 to local charities and causes.
Parents, grandparent, siblings and friends filled every seat at High Street Methodist Church for the annual Harpenden and District Junior Schools’ Carol Concert.
For the second year running the demand for seats meant many seeing and hearing the concert on the big screen in the church hall.
The choir, drawn from 14 local junior schools, sang carols old and new and told the Christmas story by way of readings from the Gospels. They also led the audience in singing several favourite carols, with David Noble at the organ.
Rotary in Harpenden President Val Beale said: ‘Our thanks, as ever, go to the performers from the schools, and their teachers, for giving us such a splendid and uplifting start to the Christmas season in Harpenden. The collection during the concert will be supporting my chosen charities for the year, HACRO and Victim Support.
‘We are also very grateful to our sponsors whose support ensures we can continue to put on this great community event. They are: Harpenden Smiles, Jarvis Construction, Frosts Estate Agents, Hicks Accountancy Services, Loveweds the Jewellers, Skye Optometrists, St Columba’s School and Taylor Walton Solicitors.’
The 14 schools taking part were: Beech Hyde Primary & Nursery, Crabtree Junior, Harpenden Academy, High Beeches Primary, Kimpton Primary, Manland Primary, Roundwood Primary, Sauncey Wood Primary, St Dominic RC Primary, St Helen’s CE Primary, St Nicholas CE VA Primary, The Lea Primary and Wood End Primary.
After the concert some children were overheard telling their parents that they’d had the ‘best time,’
More individuals and groups, including Scouts and Beavers, have joined Harpenden and district schools in filling Rotary Shoeboxes.
Children and parents filled 928 shoeboxes with toys, stationary or other household goods to bring a drop of Christmas cheer to disadvantaged youngsters and elderly people in central and eastern Europe.
Rotary in Harpenden President Val Beale said: ‘The enthusiasm shown by teachers and group leaders, as well as the children and parents, enabled us to achieve this result. We are so grateful to them all.’
In the 17 years Rotary in Harpenden has participated in the nationwide Rotary Shoebox scheme nearly 15,000 boxes have been filled and delivered in time for Christmas.
Once again, having more than covered the cost of supplying the boxes, we’ll redistribute the surplus cash to all participating schools in the form of WH Smith Achievement Award vouchers, plus an extra 10% margin, courtesy of WH Smith.