The elf service

Swindon Advertiser: Paige and Ryan Chant, left, and Michelle Somali and Petra Agapie Paige and Ryan Chant, left, and Michelle Somali and Petra Agapie

FATHER Christmas made do without his elves at the weekend, as the town centre was converted into an inflatable workshop to bring festive cheer to the children of Swindon.

The Parade shopping centre played host to two of the elves, Katie, 30, and Lauren, 19, who invited children to enter their workshop for face paints, hats and chocolate.

The workshop was open to the public last weekend and will run from 11am-4pm this Saturday and Sunday.

It has been organised by The Parade to encourage Christmas shopping in its centre, with shops tied in through a treasure trail which children can take part in, by finding clues.

George Henderson, marketing manager at The Parade, said: “It’s all for the kids and families. It’s fun for the families. It’s just to get everybody into the Christmas spirit.”

This is the second year the elves have come to Swindon and The Parade. There were at least 50 children painted and given a hat in the first hour of the workshop opening on Saturday, with an estimated 1,000 children potentially served by the close of play next Sunday.

George said: “Everything is free of charge. We want the children to get involved and enjoy themselves. Dressing as an elf with the hat and paints can make a big difference to their day in the town.”

Claire Spooncer, 36, a mother-of-two from Coleview, said: “When we come into town the kids are bored and something like this is perfect for breaking their day up. No kid wants to go shopping, so if they come around and do things like this it’s brilliant.”

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