The hunt is on to find Preston’s next generation of ‘Santa body doubles’ to spread festive cheer this Christmas.
Jolly Santa-types are being asked to volunteer for Galloway’s at its grotto at St George’s Shopping Centre.
Fundraisers issued an urgent appeal for grotto volunteers after it was revealed that the charity’s pool of ‘Santa body-doubles’ was desperately short in supply.
Fundraising and Communications Manager Emma Russ said: “This year’s appeal is more urgent than ever.
“In the past we have been lucky to attract lots of brilliant volunteers but unfortunately our pool of Santa body doubles has dwindled to just three.
“We would appreciate any offers from would-be Santa body doubles, Christmas elves or gift wrappers to help during this busy time.
“No experience is necessary and full training and costumes will be provided.”
Read more: Here is who will be turning on Preston’s Christmas lights this year
The grotto opens each weekend from Saturday, November 23 until December 9 and then every day until December 24.
Santa body double, Wilfrid Holden, said that volunteers can expect to have lots of laughs and heartwarming moments at the grotto.
The 73-year-old said: “I’ve volunteered for the last six years at the grotto and it’s a wonderful experience.
“To see the look of wonder on children’s faces is heartwarming.
“But it’s not just children who come, we also get the occasional student and even grownups who want a selfie with Santa to keep the magic of Christmas alive.
“Galloway’s is a great charity and it’s lovely to do something to help people with sight loss.
“I’d really recommend the experience to others. It’s a great way to get into the Christmas spirit.”
Read more: When and where is there free parking for Christmas in Preston?
Emma Russ added: “The run-up to Christmas is one of our busiest times and last year volunteers at the grotto helped us to raise over £10,000 for the charity.
“That is the equivalent of over 380 sight loss advice appointments which would help a visually impaired person access the help they need to have a more comfortable and enjoyable Christmas.”
The grotto is free to enter but Galloway’s greatly appreciate donations to help support the charity.
To find out more and volunteer your time this Christmas contact Emma Russ at Galloway’s at firstname.lastname@example.org.