Organisations across Henley have come together to ensure that the town’s annual Santa’s Grotto can take place next month.
A socially distanced version of the seasonal highlight will take place on Monday 21 December at the Spice Merchant from 10am-6pm. Newtown Road’s Henley Self Storage and investment manager Invesco are on board as the headline sponsors. Together with support from full fibre network Zzoomm and chartered accountants Kench & Co, this means that not only can Santa’s Grotto go ahead this year but it will be free for all and each child will receive – contact-free! – a special gift.
A Covid-resilient plan in accordance with government guidelines has been drawn up in association with SODC. Track and trace information will be obtained on the day, groups limited to six, PPE worn by team members and social distancing measures implemented throughout.
Henley-based global brand experience agency Interface, Hart Street’s Vintage Look and Hobbs will help create a winter wonderland for Santa and his dog Daisy. Charity partner the Chiltern Centre will be running a raffle and barbershop quartet The Tonyx will be performing at lunchtime. The event is being organised by Tipi Events’ Paula Price-Davies and Tom Ryan who have run the Grotto since 2017.
Last year’s event attracted over 1,000 visitors in just over four hours during Henley’s Christmas Festival late night shopping, making it the busiest night in the Regal Picturehouse’s 25-year history. With both the cinema and previous venue the Kenton Theatre currently closed, the Spice Merchant offered its large back room and garden balcony as a new location. The Thameside restaurant offering nibbles and mulled wine for the grown-ups. The Grotto comes at the end of a busy December for the restaurant which also includes gigs by Art Themen and Purdy and a performance of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens’ great-great-grandson Gerald.
Tom and Paula said, “We are so grateful to Henley Self Storage, Invesco, Zzoomm, Kench, Interface, Hobbs and Vintage Look for making this holiday highlight possible. In a tough year for so many it is fitting that the community has come together for some much-needed Christmas cheer.”