It may have been cold outside but the Christmas spirit came hotfoot to Harefield when Santa nipped off his sleigh to join the festive fun at a children's party in the village.
The excited under-fives, who meet regularly at St Mary's Church hall in the High Street for Stay and Play sessions, enjoyed special treats for their Christmas party last Wednesday, including icing their own biscuits, munching mince pies and having their faces painted.
Sharon Atherton, Children's Centre coordinator, has been introducing daily activities for young families since she moved into the area six months ago, including the Stay and Play sessions which started in September.
While waiting for the new base to be built, she has spent her time getting to know people in the community, working with present groups and setting up new activities for under-fives.
Ms Atherton said: "The party was a lovely way to end the year. We have had great feed back over the last few months on the new activites in the village, and now we are looking forward to the children's centre being opened next year. At the moment it looks like it will be Easter. It is going to be an exciting time."
The brand new centre is being built on the infant school site in High Street and will join on to the new nursery, which is also presently unfinished, in an L-shape.
The centre will offer advice, support and help for families, and will include baby clinics, early years play activities and parenting skills classes. Also in the pipeline are adult education courses and a Citizens Advice Bureau.
Ms Atherton, whose brief is to cater for families who live 'within 10 minutes of pushing a pram' said when she arrived that anyone in the community with a young baby can feel isolated, but at the new centre they will be able to do things with their children and meet others.
Future activities are lined up for the New Year, including a new Stay and Play on Thursdays at a venue yet to be announced.
**Call 07765 657100 for more information.