Two Ludgershall residents have raised hundreds of pounds for charity after hosting a Christmas grotto.

Daniella Armstrong and Abe Allen hosted a ‘Winter Wonderland’ at the former’s home on December 19 and 20, where visitors could meet Santa, listen to live Christmas music and have a few festive treats.

The pair, who help run the support group ‘Helping Friends and Fur Babies’, said they were “so pleased” with the community response.

The event was free for guests to attend, with the organisers estimating that more than 260 families attended the grotto to meet Santa Claus. Visitors also received a present from St Nicholas.

“It was a really good turn out,” Daniella told the Advertiser. “It’s been so busy and just non-stop.

So many kids who wouldn’t see Santa this year have now seen him, so it’s been really nice.”

The event was initially proposed a month ago, and was designed to be complaint with Tier Two rules to ensure that it was likely to go ahead.

As a result, all attendees and those running the event were wearing face coverings, while slots had to be pre-booked in advance. Social distancing measures were in place, with 2m gaps laid out with tape on the floor.

For instance, when visiting Santa in a marquee, guests were seated separately to ensure that the event remained Covid-safe. Abe and Daniella also said that the site was visited by police to confirm the measures.

Following the event, Daniella said that it had raised £700 for good causes. A number of donations were received ahead of the day, including gifts from individuals and businesses such as Rosebourne Garden Centre, Jo Camille, Groundcraft Ltd and Reddy Rajesh.

While there’s nothing else on the cards at the moment, a summer event is said to be on the cards, with the organisers hoping for the pandemic to have eased by then.