Hundreds of people have turned out for a special event to help spread the seasonal spirit in Whitehead.
As well as queuing up to see Santa at Carmel’s shop, members of the community made contributions to hampers and gifts for those less fortunate in the seaside town.
Explaining more about Saturday’s celebration, Belinda Hill, from the Chester Avenue outlet, said: “We had a huge turnout of over 500 people. We had a Santa’s grotto and a candy floss stand for the kids, we also provided complimentary tea, coffee, hot chocolate, along with an assortment of tray bakes, shortbread and ice cream.
“Over 300 children got to see Santa and received a free gift. Tweed Fuels helped with donations for Santa’s grotto and lots of local small businesses have donated gift cards etc, for our ballot.
“Although the entire evening was free, we did take small donations to aid our Christmas Toy Drive. We also sold ballots and are still selling some this week.
“We at Carmel’s are dedicated and invested in our community. The initiative behind Saturday night’s event was to bring the community together and to raise awareness of our Christmas Toy Drive.
“The objective being that we will be helping families that may struggle over the Christmas period.”
The speciality confectionery shop is still looking for donations in the form of toys; cash donations are welcome too as the team is able to buy toys or make up hampers.
Belinda continued: “We’ve also had a great response from other kids donating toys they haven’t opened.
“We are immensely grateful to these kids and their parents and to all the wonderful volunteers that helped make last (Saturday) night a wonderful night.”
Shop owners Stephen Cahoon and Lucasz Golac, who funded Saturday’s event, came up with the Toy Drive initiative. If anyone has any questions about it, they can be contacted on 07754879517. The shop’s Facebook page is Carmel con