Mini Wonderland saves Christmas for MK children

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Christmas was saved in Milton Keynes at the weekend thanks to a team of five city parents.

After the disastrous Winter Wonderland event threatened to ruin the big day for thousands of city children, the team, aided by businesses across the city, decided to put on their own event.

Mini Wonderland was held at MKICE on Saturday and Sunday and saw hundreds of children visiting much more realistic looking Santas in a grotto, complete with elves.

One of the organisers, Eleanor Armes, said: “It was fantastic. I’m still a bit in shock from it all and I don’t think it’s really sunk in. There is a big sense of achievement from all of us.

“We have had a lot of nice comments from people with some taking the time to tell us on the day.

“At first I thought we were all mental to be taking it on but we had children believing again.

“To see the look on my niece’s face when she met Santa, that’s what made it all worth it.”

Eleanor’s sister Harriet, David and Emma Cattigan, and Emily Ann Kent made up the team.

They met in a pub on the day the Winter Wonderland was cancelled. After brainstorming ideas, the group worked tirelessly to arrange Santas, elves, grottos and presents for the children.

The organisers thanked MK ICE for letting them use their venue, Rightmove, for donating around £2,000 for the event, the Papworth Trust, who will be one of the beneficiaries from the money raised, Arriva, who donated £250, and anyone who gave presents and toys to be given to children on the day.