Best ever Santa grotto promise ...

Grotto organiser Barry Meade pictured with an elf at a previous Christmas fair.
Grotto organiser Barry Meade pictured with an elf at a previous Christmas fair.

Organisers of Long Sutton’s Christmas Market say youngsters will see Santa in the best grotto they’ve ever built to make up for the disappointment of losing the outdoor event.

Usually Market Place is closed to traffic so families can enjoy festive fun – which last year included two grottos, one for Santa and one for his elves.

One disappointed shopkeeper said the festive market was called off following complaints from three traders, but she believes the majority of the shops want it to stay.

Emma Lilley, of Discount Divas, said: “It’s one day a year that friends and family can enjoy the festive season together. I also believe having a Christmas fair brings more people into the town, which results in more shop sales.

“I have spoken to many of my customers and they all agree with me that it’s a shame there will be no Christmas fair this year.”

Jack Tyrrell, chairman of Events and Entertainment in Long Sutton (EELS), which organises the Christmas Market, said he doesn’t want to focus on the negative comments about the traditional event and wants children to enjoy the grotto – “the most ambitious ever” – inside the church room at St Mary’s on Saturday.

He doesn’t want to spoil the surprise for youngsters, but says EELS is spending £1,500 on the grotto and it will take a small team ten hours to build.

There’s free admission for youngsters from noon and there will be fairground rides as well as stalls selling crafts and roasted chestnuts.

• On the same day there will also be Christmas crafts and gifts fair at The Royal British Legion Hall and a food fair at Market House.