Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Santa’s socially distanced grotto in Henley’s ‘secret gem’ garden

Santa’s socially distanced grotto in Henley’s ‘secret gem’ garden

SANTA’S Grotto will be open at the Spice Merchant restaurant in Henley on Monday.

It has previously been at Regal Picturehouse and the Kenton Theatre but both venues are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Organisers Paula Price-Davies and Tom Ryan, of Tipi Events, decided to move it to the restaurant in Thames Side, where it will be open from 10am to 6pm. Entry is free and every child will receive a goody bag.

Mr Ryan said the venue was good for social distancing and there would be a separate entrance and exit.

He said: “Santa will be outside in Spice Merchant’s garden, which I think is one of Henley’s secret gems. It’s nice to be able to still do something.”

The grotto is sponsored by Invesco and Henley Self Storage.

Mr Ryan said: “It was costly to do the grotto this year due to the extra PPE but we were determined to keep it free, so it was great to have the financial support.”

Volunteers from their charity partner, the Chiltern Centre, will be running a raffle and taking donations.

The Spice Merchant will be serving nibbles and mulled wine and there will be a performance from Tonic, a women’s barbershop quartet, at lunchtime.

Support has also been provided by Zzoomm, Interface, Kench & Co, Hobbs of Henley and Vintage Look.

Design agency Interface Worldwide, which is next door to the restaurant, has provided a festive back-drop.

Hasan Chowdhury, manager of the Spice Merchant, said: “We are very pleased to be hosting Santa and we hope to see a lot of local faces again after lockdown — and a few cheers from the kids.”

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