The Harpur Centre’s Wishing Tree is back, and Santa’s Grotto has gone high tech…

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Father Christmas will chat to Bedford's children live from the North Pole via Zoom

After a challenging year for everyone, the Elves at Bedford’s Harpur Centre have had to get extra creative to ensure that they’re still able to spread festive cheer this December, declaring that Christmas is definitely not cancelled.

Santa may not be able to greet his guests in person in his grotto this year, but he will be available for live video calls on the following dates:

Saturday 12 & Sunday 13 December from noon until 8pm
Saturday 19 & Sunday 20 December from noon until 8pm
Monday 21 December from noon – 8pm
Tuesday 22 December from noon – 8pm
Wednesday 23 December from 10am – 8pm
Thursday 24 December from 10am – 3pm

After you register (book your slot by calling 07973 143406 or visit the Santa Calling website), Santa will send an email link so your family can chat with the Big Man, live from the North Pole.

Whilst Santa busily entertains your children, his festive Elves will record the full video conversation, add background music and email you the finished video so you have a lasting memento to share with family and friends.

Santa’s helpers can’t wait to welcome people to the Wishing Tree shop

Between Thursday 3 and Thursday 17 December, The Harpur Centre is inviting shoppers to visit The Wishing Tree Shop via the Horne Lane entrance to donate a gift for an underprivileged child in Bedfordshire this Christmas.

Getting involved is still easy, despite coronavirus guidelines. All you need to do is buy a present for a child or teenager and hand it to the volunteers from Early Childhood Partnerships who will be manning The Wishing Tree Shop, next door to Supercuts, each day during the campaign.

Your present will make a real difference and will give a child a reason to smile this festive season.

Samantha Laycock, centre manager at Harpur Centre, said: “The Centre is delighted that we can once again hold fantastic entertainment at the Centre to help families feel festive, whilst also remaining safe from COVID-19.

“From our wonderful Wishing Tree which has been a lifeline for underprivileged families in the area for the last few years, to live video calls with Santa, we have something for everyone this year and we hope we can put a smile on the people of Bedford’s face once again this Christmas!”

Don’t forget, you can park for two hours free everyday at Queen Street car park, for two hours free every Saturday in all council-owned car parks and parking is free all day every Sunday.

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