Billlingshurst and District Rotary Club invited guests from Chestnut Tree House, and Newbridge Nurseries Garden Centre, to celebrate another successful year for the Santa’s Grotto. Joanne Smith, Fundraiser for Chestnut Tree House, was handed a cheque for £4,000 by Vice President Durwin Banks. Joanne said that would pay for a day at the Hospice for children. Also in attendance were Newbridge Nurseries’ Manager Steve Nicholls, and colleague Rhona Mears, who work hard to provide a spectacular grotto for Santa’s visits, while Rotarians provide the manpower and ‘Elves’ to collect the money.
Joanne explained that the Teenage Wing of Chestnut Tree House is being renovated, and the number of nurses going out to visit the children in their own homes is being increased to 22. They are caring for more children each year with three hundred families needing support. An office has been opened in Eastbourne with a team to cover that part of Sussex, and the Hospice also looks after children from part of Hampshire. Steve told those present that he had always been fed up with people who walk out of the Nurseries without paying for items so when he realised that a man was leaving with a trolley full of Christmas Lights without paying for them, he sprang into action. He told the man to go back into the shop to pay while he stood by the car, but then heard the fellow smash his trolley into the glass door. Eventually Steve and a colleague had to pursue him down the road. They held him until the Police arrived but he was amused to find that the only one who stopped to help was a lady of mature years.
Report and picture contributed by Billlingshurst and District Rotary Club.