Had the pleasure of popping over to the Alderman Kneeshaw recreation park today on Bilton Grange for what seemed to be the official start of Christmas in East Hull.
Santa had set up his grotto in the Pavillion for the weekend and more than 50 excited children with their parents came to deliver their wish list and pick up a free prezzie.
His little helpers were the Urban Park Rangers, given money by the Hull Flood Fund to promote the facilties at Alderman Kneeshaw to the public, especially young people.
I remember running at the racetrack back in the 80s with Hull Spartans. Unfortunately over the years the changing rooms were burnt down and the area became run down.
Now thanks to the rangers and volunteers, it’s starting to spring back to life. They hold arts and crafts lessons and other activities in the Pavillion and it’s increasingly becoming a popular resource on the estate. And of course, they managed to get St Nick to pop in.
Another reason why the rangers wanted to keep Santa local was the cost for local parents and kids to go into town to visit his commercial big store grottos.
But what really moved me is that to ensure that every child walked away with a free gift, the rangers shelled out more than £200 from their own pockets to make up for the shortfall. Seeing the smile on the bains faces, it’s easy to see why it was a price worth paying.
Sometimes the true meaning of Christmas gets forgotten amidst a deafening blair of ads for this year’s must have toy.
But I’m glad to say the Christmas spirit is alive and well on Bilton Grange.