Father Christmas has visited refugee children in Stevenage, thanks to a St Albans-based charity.

St Albans for Refugees (StAR) brought Santa Claus and Pepper Pig to a hotel where asylum seekers are being housed yesterday (December 11).


StAR is a charity and not-for-profit organisation that provides aid to refugees and asylum seekers in the local area.

Every year, StAR also allows local children to meet Saint Nick at an event named 'Reverse Father Christmas' at St Albans Museum and Gallery.

In return, visitors are asked to give Santa an item, such as a piece of clothing, for the refugees.

This year's event took place on Saturday, December 10, between 11am and 5pm.

Liz Needham, chair of trustees at StAR, told this newspaper: "One of the hotels that we are looking after outside St Albans has 20 newborns and 60 other children.

"It made sense to say 'we'll make a bit of a day of it'.

"So we have Father Christmas and Pepper Pig, and there'll be presents for all the kids."

Speaking of the excitement that Father Christmas and Pepper Pig will bring, Liz continued: "This is the first time that we have done this in a hotel.

"We know the reaction generally from kids to Father Christmas!

"What we've also discovered is that the kids that take part in the Reverse Father Christmas actually take joy in the fact that they're bringing a present to somebody else.

"They're helping Father Christmas."

Lastly, Liz wanted to thank local residents for their generosity: "We couldn't do our work without the generosity of the people in St Albans and surrounding areas."

To find out more about St Albans for Refugees visit the organisations website (www.stalbansforrefugees.org).