Ho Ho Ho! Santa Goes Grotto Style on the Marston Vale Line!  Image: Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership

Lidlington Church Hall transformed into a winter wonderland

The popular Santa Special switched tracks to Lidlington on the Marston Vale Line between Bedford and Bletchley on Saturday 14th December.

Lidlington Church Hall was transformed into a winter wonderland, and Santa and his elves worked hard to take all the Christmas requests from the children. A special Christmas gift was given to each child visiting the Grotto.

Entertainment included a face painter, a balloon modeller, model railway layouts (including a ‘have a go’ Playmobil Twins set & another from Milton Keynes Model Railway Society), stalls and live music from special guests, Chasing Deer.

Children also had the opportunity to try a range of Festive Crafts.

‘Santa’s Special’ Grotto was arranged by the Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership in association with the Bedford – St Albans City Community Rail Partnership.

A team of 23 volunteers were on hand at intervals during the day. They distributed event information on the trains, meet passengers arriving at Lidlington station, welcomed visitors to the Grotto, issued event packs, run the model railways and served refreshments. Some of the volunteers travelled from as far afield as Brackley and Birmingham to join the team.

Stephen Sleight, Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership Officer, said,

“I am delighted we were able to run a special Christmas event; it was great to welcome Lidlington residents and rail passengers alike to ‘Santa’s Special’ Grotto! There was a truly festive atmosphere and it was certainly a day to remember! My thanks to all the volunteers who worked so hard to make it happen.”

A collection, which raised £100, was taken on behalf of the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Vicky Cropper, Head of Stakeholder & Community for London Northwestern Railway said:

“It was wonderful to see the familiar faces of the families who have made the Partnership’s Christmas event an annual tradition. On behalf of London Northwestern Railway may I wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.”

The event attracted over 150 visitors, many of whom came by train.

Chasing Deer Performance  Image: | Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership