Winter wonderland promised

Visitors will be invited to meet a meerkat, strap on a sumo suit or say hello to Santa when a Shirebrook school throws open its doors for a festive community day.

Shirebrook Academy, in Common Lane, is planning to lay on the activities as part of its annual Winter Wonderland event on Saturday.

More than 1,000 people attended the event last year, where they enjoyed craft stalls, music, fun and refreshments, with all the money going towards funding the school’s successful summer community fun day in July.

Organisers say that this time the Winter Wonderland will be bigger than ever, thanks to the introduction of more attractions, including a visit from Willow Tree Farm, which has promised to bring along a host of animals, including meerkats, as part of a petting zoo.

The school is also offering kids the chance to see inside an inflatable Santa’s grotto, there will be a bouncy castle, a stall where families can have their photos taken, crafts on sale and festive music.

The inflatable Sumo suits, which were such a hit last year, are also making a return while, elsewhere, the school is laying on its Starbooks café - a coffee shop where guests can pick up the latest read while enjoying drinks and snacks.

Events organiser Andy Gilbert, assistant principal at Shirebrook Academy, said: “We had a tremendous response to our first Winter Wonderland event last year. Once again, the money raised will go towards paying for our summer event, as well as providing extra teaching resources for individual departments.”

The event runs from 1 to 5pm and entry is free.