SANTA swapped his sleigh for a taxi to deliver hundreds of early gifts to children around Basingstoke.

With sacks full, jolly old Saint Nick took to the road visiting nurseries around the borough to give out presents a week before Christmas Day.

Jon Strudwick, company manager for Delta Cars, dressed as Father Christmas to deliver festive cheer to nurseries and preschools in and around the Basingstoke area on Monday, 18 December.

He cruised around in the morning to ten different nurseries and pre-schools, which were: Little Apples in Bramley, Bright Horizons in both Chineham and in Chequers Road, St Bernards in Oakridge, Alphabet City Nursery in both Sherborne Road and Cliddesden Road, Monkey Moos Nursery in Winklebury, Star Nursery in Buckskin, Tiny Tots Day Nursery in Down Grange, and Otters Nursery School in Farleigh Road.

Mr Strudwick said: “It was wonderful to see their faces light up. It was brilliant to see their reactions, they loved it.

“They were jumping up and down and you can’t beat seeing their faces smile like that.

Spreading goodwill like that is brilliant. They were over the moon to see Santa.”

Each of the nurseries received a donation of gifts to celebrate Christmas.

All received a bag full of useful items, including 92 colouring books, 80 packs of crayons, 10 story books, 54 puzzles, games and some chocolate treats for the way home.

That way, every child had a present to open.

Mr Strudwick continued: “The places are getting their funding cut all the time and it was great to give them a boost at this time of year, it was the best thing to do.

“Even though it all happened at Christmas time, they can carry on using all the items all year round. It is really nice to give something back to the community, and to help the future of Basingstoke.”

The company hopes to make giving out presents an annual event, with ideas already forming for next year’s endeavours.

Nurseries can get in contact about next Christmas.

Delta Cars officially opened on Monday, 18 December, with a fleet of around 20 vehicles.