Dunstable Market’s Santa Grotto was free festive fun!

Santa in his grotto at Dunstable Market

Santa in his grotto at Dunstable Market

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Father Christmas made a special visit to Dunstable Market thanks to kind-hearted businesses and market traders.

In December the Dunstable Gazette put out an SOS call to residents, as traders Jo Wright, 50, and her husband Taz, 47, were looking for a 4XL Santa suit for Taz to wear in a special Christmas grotto.

Jo's friend, Netty, dressed as an elf, with Father Christmas

Jo's friend, Netty, dressed as an elf, with Father Christmas

Sadly, no-one had an outfit to offer, so Jo found a £30 suit on eBay, determined that there was ho-way the free, family event would be cancelled.

She said: “I want to thank Wilko, as when we were sorting the decorations the flower man on the market didn’t have any trees left - Taz had to run to Wilko and get a tree to decorate!

“Wilko had donated 30 Cadbury Selection boxes and told us that if we needed anything extra we could go back.

“I also want to thank the market traders for each chipping in £5 so we could buy another 20 Selection boxes.”

Taz as Father Christmas

Taz as Father Christmas

The market was held on December 17 and Taz dressed up as jolly old Saint Nick.

The grotto was open for two hours, from 10am-12noon, as by midday the surprised team had already run out of Selection boxes to give the children, while parents had enjoyed Panettone cake.

The grotto also had an elf, Jo’s friend, Netty, from Farm Foods, so children could meet all their favourite Christmas characters.

Jo said: “Taz thinks he was a very good Santa, because it only took two hours for him to give away all the presents!

“He says ‘no’ to doing it again next year - but he’s got the suit now! Although, the grandchildren instantly recognised him as Father Christmas. They said ‘oh that’s Taz. not Santa!’”

However, despite Taz’s apparent hesistation, Jo reports that he has more chocolate plans.

She said: “Taz wants to be the Easter bunny this Spring and go around the market with a basket full of eggs.”

The couple run ‘Jo and Taz Markets’, Jo on Wednesdays and with Taz on Saturdays.