Newton Aycliffe Community charity Acorn visited Hall Hill Farm at the weekend to see Santa, Rudolph and a wide variety of Santas furry friends.
Excited children and adults piled off the coach to be greeted by Elves and helpers, first call was, of course, to Santa who was curious to find out what he would be delivering on Christmas Eve and there was no shortage of suggestions from young children or just the young at heart.
Whilst waiting in the queue Dasher was on hand to have a jolly conversation with the children in his own unique voice.
Rabbits and guinea pigs were next on the list, with children getting an opportunity to cuddle and hug these lovable animals who displayed great patience and seemed resigned to being stroked and made facebook media stars.
A swift stop at the café for refreshments then on to the new born chicks only 9 days old yet already developing characters of their own. It always amazes me how gentle children are when holding these adorable little chicks.
Onward to see some larger animals. The highland cattle looked fierce but were really only interested in the titbits which visitors rolled down a length of guttering to feed them. Llamas were the next attraction who flashed their doe eyes pleadingly for pellets from the children and then of course donkeys, those most docile of creatures, happy to listen with raised ears to chit chat from all who visited.
In the elves workshop we were shown how to make reindeer and sheep from pine cones, cotton wool and pipe cleaners. All great fun for all of the family. Next door were free reindeer treats to take home and sprinkle on the ground on Xmas eve.
A covered enclosure was next with sheep, goats and a pony all looking for pellets also a pig feeding her piglets, how cute.
Outside donkeys were waiting to take children for a short ride around the paddock after which it was time for another mug of tea while the kids played in the soft play area giving parents some well-earned rest.
When we finally got the children away from the soft play area it was time to explore some of the other attractions such as the new dry tobogganing track which brought squeals of delight from children, the climbing wall and of course, not forgetting, the Peacocks and Turkeys.
Having built up an appetite it was now time to revisit the café for a helping of home-made soup and a chunk of crusty bread for lunch.
This trip has become an annual event and gets better every year. Thanks to all who came along, to the staff at Hall Hill, and greatest thanks of all to the Big Lottery Community Fund who have supported our group since its inception in 2012.
Merry Xmas to all of those who live in our wonderful town and support us in our little endeavours.