Children were entertained on the Bedford to Brighton Thameslink Santa train Picture Peter Alvey/GTR

Bedford and Brighton children were entertained on the Santa train

Santa swapped his sleigh for a Thameslink train to give deserving families a fun-packed journey at the weekend. Youngsters from the Bedford and Brighton areas boarded the festive train on Saturday (14 December) for a round trip, during which they met Father Christmas, received goodie bags, enjoyed magic tricks, face-painting and took part in craft activities.

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) worked with Bedford Borough Council, Brighton and Hove City Council, Sussex Community Rail Partnership and Beds to St Albans Community Rail Partnership to reach out to families in need of an uplifting trip.

GTR then provided complimentary tickets to 25 family groups, who otherwise may not have enjoyed a treat this Christmas. Among the children to enjoy the day were those on the autism spectrum, young carers and children with disabilities.

GTR customer engagement manager and father-of-two Tom Brook, who organised the event alongside colleague Lynn Howarth, said:

“For some of the families who joined us, life can be exceptionally challenging, and we felt those families deserved an uplifting, memorable day together. It was heart-warming to see how much it meant to them to be treated to this special trip.

“All the children were so excited, especially those who either hadn’t been on a train before or were rail enthusiasts.”

To ensure they had a memorable day, GTR staff volunteered their own time to make sure the trip went smoothly.