Santa Claus has overcome all the odds that Covid-19 has posed and will be coming to Torquay this year.

The Father Christmas Grotto located in Fleet Walk shopping centre will be open from November 21 to Christmas Eve, 10am to 5pm.

The grotto, paid for by the shopping centre, cleebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

Fully animated, this year’s grotto will have a totally new look.

The Covid-19-compliant grotto has been created by Steve Holdup; Torquay’s market manager and owner of Torbay Display.

Steve, known locally as ‘Mr Christmas’, has been responsible for successfully arranging the previous 30 years’ grottos.

The grotto is run by the Rotary clubs of Sunrise, Tormohun and Ladies Circle, with all proceeds going to local charities.

The in-house collections will this year go to Children’s Hospice South West.

This year’s tickets will only be available online through ‘Eventbrite’. Tickets go live on November 1 and are expected to sell out quickly, due to the grotto only operating on Saturdays and Sundays each week, then the whole week before Christmas.

Steve said: “I have a great passion to make all these things happen for our town, something I have done for the last 35 years!”

The Town Centre Partnership has secured Torquay’s Christmas illuminations this year. The lighting is scheduled to go up at the end of this month.

Torquay Town Centre Partnership has given the profit from Torquay Town Market, which is now running every Thursday and Saturday through to Christmas, to pay for the lighting.

Town Centre Partnership would like to thank Torquay Chamber of Commerce for the use of their catenary wires at no charge.

The lights will be switched on Friday, November 20, ‘live on air’ by Jay Richards, news director of community radio station Riviera FM.

Due to the pandemic, there will be no public gathering this year.

A great deal of work and effort has gone into arranging this year’s grotto and Christmas illuminations, especially due to the ongoing daily hurdles that Covid-19 has and is still presenting on an ever-changing basis. Unfortunately, there will be no Christmas carnival this year.