The popular Santa Special switched tracks to Lidlington on the Marston Vale Line between Bedford and Bletchley on Saturday 18 December.
Lidlington Church Hall was transformed into a winter wonderland for the occasion, with Santa & his elves hard at work taking Christmas requests from all the children. A special Christmas gift was given to each child visiting the grotto.
Families were kept entertained whilst waiting to see Santa by a face painter, balloon modeller, a ‘have a go’ model railway layout and live music from special guests, Chasing Deer.
Children also had the opportunity to try a range of festive crafts. A variety of refreshments were on sale, including the renowned Bedfordshire Clanger, courtesy of Gunn’s Bakery.
A team of 11 volunteers from Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership and the Friends of Lidlington Station were on hand at intervals during the day to welcome visitors to the Grotto, issue event packs, run the model railway & Festive Crafts and serve refreshments.
A collection taken on behalf of the Motor Neurone Disease Association resulted in such a heavy bucket that the elves struggled to carry it!
An event survey generated a great deal of positive feedback. As some happy visitors put it:
‘Everything was perfect. Good family activity. Thank you for your entertainment’.
‘Thank you very much for today! It was lovely for the children.’
‘A lovely event – thank you.’
‘My son attended thus morning and had a great time. Thank you very much for making him so happy.’
Stephen Sleight, Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership officer, said, “I am delighted we were able to run a special Christmas event; it was great to welcome lots of families to ‘Santa’s Special’ Grotto! There was a truly festive atmosphere and it was certainly a day to remember! My thanks to all the volunteers who worked so hard to make it happen”.