SANTA surprised children living on the Ards Peninsula with a surprise early visit just before Christmas.
With Christmas only days away, he decided to rest Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet and his other reindeer so they would be ready to pull his sleigh on the big worldwide journey on Christmas Eve.
Ballywalter YFC stepped in with an alternative form of transport for the Ards visit, a large Fendt tractor and trailer. Club members got together to decorate the tractor and trailer with fairy lights and balloons, along with a disco style sound system playing Yuletide music, before setting off on a trip with Santa through many of the peninsula’s coastal villages.
As well as bringing a smile to the faces of dozens of people who lined the streets along the route to give Santa a wave and cheer them on, the event also helped raise some £1,600 for the Action Mental Health charity.
The ‘Merry and Bright’ tractor drive started from one of Santa’s secret toy workshops, hidden away in the countryside near Millisle, then on along the coastal road to Ballywalter, Ballyhalbert, Portavogie, Cloughey, Portaferry, Kircubbin and Greyabbey, making stops at various points along the way.
Speaking afterwards, one of Santa’s elves told FarmWeek: “Thank you all for your support and Christmas spirit! Every village we entered had a great turnout and the Christmas cheer was amazing!
“Santa and his friends loved seeing you all, although Santa was running slightly behind schedule so he didn’t get stopping everywhere we wanted to and we can only apologise for that!
“Thank you to everyone who helped us make it such a success.”