FANS of children’s favourite Peppa Pig fans packed into Ankerside Shopping Centre to see her join Santa to switch on Tamworth’s Christmas lights.
The cheeky little piggy was in the centre throughout the day meeting youngsters, who also had the chance to meet Santa in his grotto.
Helped by Father Christmas and Tamworth Mayor Councillor Maureen Gant, Peppa brought festive cheer to the town and delighted young visitors who came to see her in action.
One family who came down specially to meet their hero were the Dunns from Glascote – mum Zoe brought five-year-old Owen, two-year-old Faith and Logan, aged five months, to Ankerside.
She said: “They’re all big fans and we watch Peppa on the telly – it is good though so we all enjoy it.
“I don’t normally come in to the centre on a Sunday but we’d seen the signs through the town so made a special trip.
“They all got to meet her and it was amazing. She was really good with the kids and they loved it.”
During the day Ankerside offered free craft activities, run by local group Community Together, while Santa and his helpers opened the doors of their Christmas grotto.
Santa will be back in his winter wonderland again on November 27 to November 29 from 11am to 4pm, and then every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through December plus from Monday, December 21, to Christmas Eve.
Zoe said: “The kids have had a great time and there’s loads going on. It was pretty busy so we might come back for the grotto and to see Father Christmas another day. The children were already excited about Christmas but now they are even more.”
Ankerside Shopping Centre deputy manager Jeff Wigley was delighted to welcome Peppa Pig to the centre and see the lights switched on.
He said: “It has been very busy today and a lot of families have come down to the Ankerside specially to see Peppa – she is certainly popular with our younger customers.
“Now that the lights are on we can start looking forward to Christmas, which is always the highlight of the year for us.
“We put a lot of planning into making it a fun, enjoyable event for the whole family, and have plenty more excitement in the coming weeks as it gets closer to the big day.
“The grotto is officially open and Father Christmas will be hoping to see as many youngsters as possible before the big day. It costs £3.50 per child, which includes a gift.”
Mum Pam Champion brought her excited daughter Lola, aged five, to Ankerside to meet her idol, Peppa.
Pam, from Kingsbury, said: “Lola absolutely loves Peppa Pig and she has been so excited about coming here today. From the minute she woke up this morning she’s been asking if we’re going yet.
“She has a Peppa Pig quilt cover, a game, loads of tops, a Peppa Pig coat and a hat, scarf and gloves too so she was over the moon to actually meet her.
“I heard about the visit through Facebook and knew I’d have to bring her along but it’s nice to see the lights switched on too – we’re all really excited about Christmas now.”
Alongside the craft activities at the centre and the lights switch on, shoppers also enjoyed activities throughout the town, organised by Tamworth Christmas Lights Committee, including live music, fairground rides, a festive market and a treasure hunt.
In the coming weeks Ankerside, with Tamworth Rotary Club, will be operating the annual Tree of Life from November 28, offering sherry and mince pies on December 15 and breakfast with Santa at Druckers Café on December 20.
Free all-day free parking is available at Ankerside Shopping Centre on December 5, for Small Business Saturday, plus December 19 and from Boxing Day to Monday December 28.
Ankerside Shopping Centre, open daily, is home to 60 stores, from fashion, health and beauty to services and food and drink, and has more than 700 parking spaces. More details at www.ankerside.co.uk