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Bury Santa Experience opens its doors to the public

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The Bury Santa Experience has launched at the arc shopping centre, in Bury St Edmunds, with more than 2,000 children's tickets bought for the sold-out event.

It is believed the project, which has cost just under £83,000 subsidised by the arc and with £25,000 contributed by the town council, will bring an estimated 5,000 people into the town over the festive period.

The site located next to Hobbs in Auction Street has already being deemed a great success but Steve Bunce, the arc's manager, has exclusively told Suffolk News there could be a chance for more people to meet Father Christmas as they are working behind the scenes to find more availability and possibly put more tickets up for sale.

The front of the Bury Santa Experience in the arc shopping centre.
The front of the Bury Santa Experience in the arc shopping centre.

He said about the experience at Thursday's launch night: "It has been a lot of hard work from a lot of people but with a lot of great support from everyone across Bury and I really just can not wait to see the children's faces when they come in here, at the end of the day that is what all this and Christmas is about.

"It is fantastic that we have around 2,000 children coming here but we are looking to make more tickets available, so keep an eye on the Bury Free Press and our website and as soon as we can, if we can find some more space and can announce some more ticket sales, we will."

The experience is split into three areas: A Narnia-inspired snowland with an animal hunt for the children, the elves' workshop where the children will be able to play games and write letters to Father Christmas and meet some of his little helpers, before going in to meet the man himself and receive a gift.

Amanda Sturgeon and Steven Bunce inside the Bury Santa Experience.
Amanda Sturgeon and Steven Bunce inside the Bury Santa Experience.

The interactive rooms will include all the sounds and scents you would expect to find in Lapland and visitors will meet elves, Clara and Clive, plus their new resident and forest guardian, Oakley the owl.

The project, a joint collaboration between the arc, Our Bury St Edmunds and Bury Town Council, will also donate 20 per cent of all ticket sales to Suffolk Mind.

Amanda Sturgeon, external relationships manager for the mental health charity, said: “We can’t thank the arc shopping centre, Bury St Edmunds BID and the Town Council enough for supporting Suffolk Mind as part of this Christmas experience.

"It’s been fantastic working with them for the last two years to raise awareness and funds to support mental health in Suffolk as part of our charity partnership.”

The Bury Santa Experience is on until December 24. For more details and to check on future ticket availability, go to www.arc-burystedmunds.com.