Last year we made a conscious effort to help a charity, which culminated in “Santa’s Grotto” at Redwell Estates during the late night shopping event and Christmas Lights turn on in December last year.  My fantastic team, led by Lisa Harrod created an amazing spectacle that was held over 3 weeks on 3 Friday evenings and the results were fantastic.  The theme was for each of us to dress up as elves and Dave Ellis volunteered to be Santa for the event.  Many weeks of planning and discussions were held with local trades people and our Western office started to transform into the spectacle it turned out to be.

We had fantastic support from Maseys furniture specialists in St. Leonard’s Road who supplied the chairs for Santa, Lisa negotiated a price and a supply of toys for the children to take away, contact was made with Make A Wish Foundation UK, the charity of our choice and they provided all the balloons and art work. Elves suits were purchased, a gazebo and a pitch outside the office in Western Road was bought, contact was made with all the schools to promote “Santa’s Grotto” at Redwell Estates, all the while it was getting closer and closer to the big day.

Blueberries Coffee Shop in Endwell Road supplied freshly made mince pies and support came in from local traders. Andrew Crotty of Shining Lights helped us promote the evening and he, Anna Beale and Mike Matthews arranged for all the Christmas Lights and the fantastic Christmas Tree in Devonshire Square to go up in the town centre and  James Bush used his skill on social media to tell everyone about Santa’s Grotto, calling them all down to Western Road and to bring the kids to meet Santa.  The Bexhill Observer told us they would send a photographer to photograph the event and the piece they produced in the newspaper was spectacular.

Redwell’s Facebook page and website was decorated with the paraphernalia to promote our show and the cast of elves myself, Lisa, James, David, Robyn  dressed up in their elves suits in readiness.  Dave Ellis donned his Santa suit and opened his grotto.  What a fantastic job he did!!

It was amazing to see our office filled with excited children and parents, all buzzing and each grabbing a few chocolates and mince pies as they waited in line.  For over 3 hours, the office had a continuous stream of people all waiting to see Santa.  Seeing the faces of the children afterwards was magical as they clutched their present, Just brilliant!!  At the end of the 3rd week the excitement to see how much we had raised was not only gratifying because we had seen over 150 children visit Santa.  Passers by had donated money, and someone even paid for a photo with one of Santa’s helpers and even the big man himself.

In all we had raised over £500 an absolutely marvelous amount of money for this marvelous charity, and all for such a great cause.  Last Friday the 10th February 2017, we were able to present a cheque for £500.04 to Mr Tony Slater from Make A Wish Foundation UK.  As the owner of Redwell Estates, it was a privilege to be able to do something like this.

I have never been in a position where I was able to make a difference like this before and last Friday was a very humbling and exciting experience for me.  My gratitude to my staff for the totally professional and enthusiastic way they went about being elves, for their support their ideas and for the magical moments we enjoyed on those 3 evenings in December.

Special thanks go to Lisa Harrod for her tenacity, her vision and her imagination, because she made this happen.   Now we are onto planning the next Redwell “Charity” event, for the summer months, but rest assured “Santa’s Grotto at Redwell Estates will be back in December 2017 when it will be time to go again.  We cannot wait!!