A FOUR-year-old Milnrow boy received a surprise early visit from Santa thanks to his nana and kind-hearted Rotarians.
Because of a serious eye condition, young Harvey was unable to get out to meet Father Chistmas.
So when members of Crompton and Royton Rotary and Inner Wheel clubs heard of the disappointment during a visit to his grandmother in Royton, they swung into action.
Checking Santa’s diary, they arranged a home visit, much to the delight and surprise of Harvey, his two older brothers and their parents.
Rotarians also took a number of residents and their carers from Laburnum House, Shawside and Throstle Court to the All In One garden centre in Castleton.
There was time for the 18-strong party to browse Christmas displays and purchase presents.
The group also enjoyed a Christmas dinner followed by a visit from Santa Claus.
It proved an enjoyable few hours for all concerned and for some of the people it was their first outing for a long time.
And it has been a busy time for the Rotarians as they embarked on their annual Santa’s sleigh round of Royton and Shaw from November 30 to December 7.
Starting at 6pm, the aim was to finish at 8pm. However, because of the number of children who came out to meet them, time was extended by at least 30 minutes. On several occasions they did not manage to complete the full route.
In addition and thanks to permission from British Land, they were also out in force at Elk Mill retail park during the weekends of December 1-2 and 8-9.
Though they collect money to support local good causes, the Rotary and Inner Wheel clubs were also delighted to meet many children and families from other areas including Chadderton and Middleton.
Some children were very talkative while others were lost for words. Some gave their letters to Father Christmas, some were too frightened and would not meet him. Many piled into his sleigh to take selfies!
It is estimated more than 2,000 children and young people were met, judging by the amount of sweets Santa handed out.
In total, the activities raised about £3,600 and the clubs would like to thank all those who donated.
“Rest assured we will spend the money wisely on many local, regional and national groups who do good work,” said spokesperson and former President Andy Czakow.
“We wish to thank all who supported us as we tried to bring the spirit of Christmas to our community.”