Dozens of Santa’s little helpers were spotted in St Helens after the town’s shopping centre launched a special festive event to find the best little elf.
Children were transformed into elves by a team of face painters during the town’s Elf Yourself contest at Church Square. To complete the look, youngsters were given hats with bells on and a special elf costume that they were allowed to take home.
A professional photographer took the children’s photos, which have been uploaded to Church Square Shopping Centre’s Facebook page. Shoppers now have until November 20 to vote for their favourite elf.
Whoever gets the most likes will win a range of goodies from stores at the centre – plus the title of St Helens Champion Elf 2015.
The free event, before the switch on of the town’s Christmas lights, also involved children decorating various items including yo-yos and rulers, which they were also allowed to take home.
Shaun Brennan, nine, a pupil at Allanson Street Primary School in St Helens, had a great time and said he’d be telling all his friends at school about it. “It was really good. I got my cheeks painted red and got an elf costume with a hat with a bell,” he said. “I made an angel with a yo-yo which said ‘Merry Christmas’ on it.”
Shaun’s gran Angela Cross, of Fingerpost, St Helens, who took him shopping, said: “Shaun had a lovely time and loves his costume so much he doesn’t want to take it off.”
Church Square Shopping Centre manager Steven Brogan said: “Our Elf Yourself station really helped youngsters and their families get in the mood for the Christmas lights switch on and proved incredibly popular. It was a great start to the festive season.
“In addition, we have free parking at Church Square every Saturday from now until Christmas and then for the Boxing Day sales, until December 28 – we think that will give people even more reason to shop in St Helens.
“We are expecting it to be one of our busiest festive trading times ever, thanks to the new H&M store – which is due to open shortly – the expanded Pandora and Scotts stores, plus the new Fat Face, which is the company’s biggest in the UK.”
Also having terrific time was Ella Smith, six, who attends Queen’s Park Primary School in St Helens. Mum Sarah Smith said: “Ella doesn’t want to get changed out of her elf costume she loves it so much. With the bell on her hat she’s jingling around so at least we know where she is.”
Sarah and husband Gareth took their Ella and son Tyler, two, to Church Square Shopping Centre after seeing the Elf Yourself event advertised on its Facebook page. “I think it’s excellent as it’s all free and keeps the children entertained,” added Sarah. “Ella is very creative and loves anything like this. She also decorated a ruler in a Christmas style and was presented with a certified elf certificate. Unfortunately Tyler was too shy to take part but maybe next time.”
Katie Liptrot also heard about the event on Facebook and took along her niece Sophie Hunter, six. Sophie, a pupil at St Aidan’s C of E Primary School in Billinge, made a Christmas tree bauble and also loved her elf costume.
“Sophie had a great time, we all did as we did some shopping and had our dinner out, which was lovely,” said Katie.
Church Square Shopping Centre is open daily and home to a range of big name stores – such as Fat Face, Pandora, River Island, BHS, Boots and Superdrug – along with independent retailers plus the busy St Mary’s Market. Details on what’s happening at the centre at www.churchsquaresthelens.co.uk