NEARLY 900 letters were written to Santa at the Aldingbourne Country Centre’s festive event.
The keen letter-writers detailed their hopes for Christmas with the help of his elves.
A total of 878 letters were posted in the Elf mailbox. Mi Mi the owl promised Father Christmas she would fly them all to the North Pole so he could reply to them later.
Father Christmas was the star attraction at the seasonal occasion thanks to Chichester Lions Club.
His arrival by sleigh along Blackmill Lane to the centre was watched in awe by many of the children as he travelled by sleigh.
He was kept busy meeting and greeting hundreds of the excited youngsters in the booth in the centre of the site’s woodland walk.
Thousands of young and old visitors enjoyed the Magic of Christmas event. They raised more than £12,477 to support the £4m apeal of the centre’s operator, the Aldingbourne Trust, for a new visitor centre and other facilities.
That includes a £1,400 donation from John Penny, the foundation chairman of Arundel Rotary Club, to improve the centre’s remote control cars attraction for next year.
Michelle McKinley-Bell, the trust’s enterprise and development manager, said: “It was amazing to see the centre thriving with so many visitors all having so much fun.
“I would particularly like to thank Chichester Lions for arranging for Father Christmas to visit, as this was definitely the highlight of the day.”
Owls 4 U – regular supporters of the trust, were back by popular demand with their winged friends.
Children could also walk a goat, hold a guinea pig, meet animals on the open day and guessing the weight of Samson the Turkey.
Many craftspeople also supported the day to add to the attractions. Carols were played throughout to ensure there was plenty of Christmas spirit.