SHOPPERS got to meet their heroes when two Warrington Wolves players put in a surprise shift helping out at the club’s stall in Golden Square’s Christmas Village.
Hooker Daryl Clark and halfback Gary Wheeler thrilled shoppers when they turned up to help sell the Wolves’ famous kit and memorabilia.
Fans were in for an extra special festive treat as the pair agreed to be photographed and sign shirts and rugby balls.
It is the first time that the iconic Wolves have taken a stall at Warrington Golden Square’s Christmas Village event, which has doubled in size for 2015 and includes a swing grill and seasonal snacks as well as traditional gifts and crafts.
Among those who met the two heroes were teenager Samuel Smith, 13, and his mum Kelly Smith, of Birchwood.
Sam, who attends Birchwood High School, said: “It was good to meet the players, I never expected to see them here.”
Kelly added: “Sam’s been off school as he’s not been well so this cheered him up a bit. It’s a great idea having the stall here.”
Lifelong Wolves fans, the Hince family, were over the moon to see the Wolves sales hut lined up among the array of other festive chalets in Golden Square’s Old Market Square.
Marie Hince and her husband Keith, a retired funeral director, of Longford, Warrington, were looking for a new Wolves shirt for their grandson Jordan, a pupil of Penketh High School.
Marie said: “He’s 16 today and a huge Wolves fan. Both Jordan and Keith are season ticket holders. They love the Wolves.
“We were hoping to get Jordan a new season shirt for his birthday, but they’re not on sale yet, so we’ve got him a rugby ball signed by Daryl and Gary. It’s great to have the stall here, so handy.”
Jordan’s mum, Clare Hince, of Orford and his uncle, Andy Hince, of Thelwell, were also keen to look round the Wolves stall and other decorated gift and food outlets in the Christmas village.
Clare, a full time carer for Jordan’s brother, Connor, 11, who attends University Academy School, Warrington, said: “It’s a fabulous addition to the market being able to meet players here, it’s a gift in itself. Both my boys love the Wolves and Jordan is hoping to be a sports coach when he leaves school.”
Other players from the Warrington Wolves are expected to put in more surprise appearances at the Christmas Village throughout the festive shopping season.
The club’s regular shop is currently being refurbished and will open on December 3, however the club will continue with the Christmas Village stall until the festive shopping event finishes at Golden Square on December 23.
The stall is being run by Julie Dickinson and Wolves store supervisor of seven years, Julie Davies.
Julie Davies said: “It’s a bit colder out here than in our lovely warm shop at the ground, but it’s been great fun and we’ve attracted a lot of interest so far.”
Players will be joining them at the stall at different times of the day over the weekends in the run up to Christmas.
Golden Square Shopping Centre director Ian Cox, said Christmas was always one of the busiest times of the year at the centre.
He said: “People love the Christmas Village and this year it is even better than ever, especially with the Warrington Wolves adding to the annual attractions.
“It’s great to have them here and our shoppers have been thrilled to see them, there’s no doubt about that.
“We had a huge crowd for our Christmas lights switch on and following that the festive atmosphere has been maintained.
“Lots of people have commented on how nice it is to browse the stalls and of course the children just love to see our giant reindeer, Sprout, at the end of the village, overlooking all the stalls.”
Daryl and Gary turned up to surprise shoppers straight after their training session on Friday.
Daryl said: “A number of our players have agreed to come down and do some signings here at Golden Square, in the run up to our full time store re-opening. We’re happy to support our fans, just as much as they support us.”
Kirstie Underwood, 25, of Lyster Close, Warrington, called in specially to see the Christmas Village with her friends after her studies at Warrington Collegiate in Museum Street.
She said: “It’s a first for me. I’ve never been to the Warrington Christmas Market before, so it’s a real treat. I just called in after college but I’m looking forward to seeing it when it’s dark when the lights stand out and it’s got that much more of a festive atmosphere.
“I really like the stall selling the Christmas decorations and glassware, but I also love the gadgets stall because it’s where I get all my phone accessories at a bargain price!”