Santa brings Christmas magic to children at Royal Belfast Hospital
Eight-month-old Blake Potter with parents Stuart Potter and Erin Bowers pictured with Santa Claus with presents provided by CastleCourt.
A dusting of festive magic was sprinkled throughout the wards of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children this week, as Santa brought the Christmas spirit to the children ahead of official events in the city centre this weekend.
Arranged by CastleCourt, with a sleigh full of presents from The Entertainer toy shop, Santa spread his festive cheer with the children on the wards ahead of his Santa Parade this Saturday (18th November) and his residency at CastleCourt’s Winter Wonderland Grotto for the season.
Jenne McDonald, Play Development Coordinator for the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children said:
"It was two afternoons of pure magic. To see the children’s faces light up when they saw Santa was a wonderful feeling for staff as well as parents. Each child received a gift and for so many babies this would have been their first introduction to Santa Claus. Santa assured our patients that no matter where they were on Christmas Eve, he would find them…even in Hospital!"
Belfast’s bright festive lights will be officially switched on this weekend, but before the big button is pressed, CastleCourt’s Santa Parade will sing, dance and cheer down Donegall Place and Royal Avenue to begin the party.
Beginning from City Hall at 12pm, the spectacle - which will be made up of animated floats and more than 40 characters from Disney, Marvel and the North Pole - will have spectators singing and dancing with music from Beat Carnival, festive surprises and of course, Santa, Mrs Claus and their elves creating the magic, before arriving at CastleCourt’s front doors on Royal Avenue.
Joined on the day by charity partner NI Hospice, the team at CastleCourt will also welcome little Sophia Clark to be part of the Parade. Sophia, who receives care at the Children’s Hospice, along with her parents, Leah and Alex will be special guests on the NI Hospice float – a fully branded train – for the afternoon, alongside other families from the NI Hospice. The charity will also be collecting donations throughout the celebrations on the day.
Michael Nugent, Community Fundraising Manager at Northern Ireland Hospice, said:
"We are thrilled that our wonderful friends at CastleCourt will be supporting us this Christmas with their big festive Santa Parade. The Children's Hospice is the only service of its kind here in Northern Ireland and is a vital lifeline to hundreds of children and their families each year.
"Our ability to continue the exceptional work we do relies on the support of our community and local businesses, with CastleCourt leading the way. It promises to be a fantastic, festive day out for families and children, and we’re so excited to be a part of it.”
Leona Barr, Centre Manager at CastleCourt pictured with Santa Claus at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children
Leona Barr, Centre Manager at CastleCourt added:
“This Saturday marks the official beginning of the festive season in Belfast City Centre and we’re delighted to be kicking off the day for the whole city. From 11am within the centre, we will have plenty of activities, face painting and fun, with U105’S Frank Mitchell providing entertainment at the front of the Centre.
“Santa will arrive at his Grotto on Saturday and will be here every day until Christmas Eve, and we will have some quiet times listed on our website so all children can let Santa know what they would like for Christmas this year.”
CastleCourt’s Winter Wonderland Grotto is on level one of CastleCourt Shopping Centre. Visits are charged at £7.50 per child, which includes a chat with Santa and an age-appropriate gift.
Photographs with Santa can be purchased separately.
The grotto is open Monday – Saturday, 11am – 5.30pm and Sunday, 12pm – 5.30pm. For more, visit https://castlecourt-uk.com/santa/