Appleby, a Tyneside care home, has opened its doors for local schoolchildren to come and meet a special festive visitor.

Santa has been spreading Christmas cheer to residents, paying a visit to a purpose-built grotto in the garden of the North Shields home.

The children of family and friends of Appleby residents and staff have been to meet Father Christmas to tell him what’s on their Christmas wish lists. Next week, before they break up, whole classes of pupils from Percy Main Primary, Collingwood Primary, Redesdale Primary and Whitley Lodge First School will call to meet Santa and enjoy yuletide celebrations with residents.

Clare Leonard, Home Manager at Appleby, said: “We’ve been so lucky that Santa Claus has found the time in his busy schedule to visit us here at Appleby. It’s really important to us, and our residents, that we are part of our local community. Events like this are a fantastic way of helping keep our residents in touch with younger generations and, of course, enjoying the most wonderful time of the year!”

On his visit, Santa said: “Getting out and about, meeting people of all ages and backgrounds is the best part of my job – when my schedule allows! The residents at Appleby and children from SCHOOL have been so welcoming. I’ll certainly be back on Christmas Eve when my sleigh’s been packed.”

Appleby is a dementia residential and nursing care home, which can accommodate up to 50 people.

It forms part of Larchwood Care and is managed by Healthcare Management Solutions. 83 per cent of Larchwood Care Homes are rated as ‘Good’ or above by the CQC, above the industry average.