We at the Gazette this week volunteered with the Rotary Club of Basingstoke to spread some festive cheer this Christmas - and this is how it was.

The Rotary Club of Basingstoke are helping Santa and his elves on a tour around the town, with this being the fourth event in the calendar after Chineham Shopping Mall on Saturday, December 2 and Sunday, December 3 and Winklebury on Monday, December 4.

On Tuesday, December 5, five of us from the Gazette finished work, before heading to the 'secret' meeting place, to get kitted up for the festivities ahead.

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Unfortunately, due to mechanical issues, Santa's sleigh was delayed in its arrival, meaning we started around half an hour behind schedule.

With four elves costumes and a Santa outfit to fill, we soon got changed - to my colleagues' amusement - and on our merry way to the first location, at the Apollo Hotel in Popley. The tour we would be volunteering at was the Popley tour.

I had been apprehensive prior to taking part in the event, purely out of uncertainty about what to expect. But once we got there, that changed in an instant.

The faces of parents and children alike were an absolute picture - safe to say the 'magic of Christmas' was evident. We pulled up and began welcoming anyone who wanted to come and have a chat and a photo with Santa. It was fantastic to see so many happy faces at all three of the stops on the day.

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From the Apollo Hotel, we went to Marnel School and then Chineham Splashpad, sending season greetings and merry messages to hundreds in the Popley community, and all the while raising money with the Rotary Club of Basingstoke to help good causes in the coming months.

It was a heartwarming activity to take part in, and it felt fantastic to help put a beaming smile on the faces of so many. There was lots of happiness and enjoyment had by all across the course of the evening, and us at the Gazette left uplifted and thrilled to have been able to take part in the event.

Thank you to the Rotary Club of Basingstoke for letting us get involved, and we hope everyone had a fantastic time! 

Santa and his elves are still touring, and can be seen on the following dates:

December 8: Winklebury

December 9: Asda supermarket

December 10: Asda supermarket

December 12: Buckskin

December 13: Rooksdown

December 16: B&M

December 17: B&M

Timings will be published on the Rotary club’s website here.

Use the photo gallery at the top of the article to view some of the best photos of the evening.