SANTA SCORES AT FRATTON PARK

It's not every day that thousands of children get the chance to have Portsmouth Football Club all to themselves, but on Monday (10 December) children from across the city were at Fratton Park for a Christmas concert, which also included an unforgettable visit from Father Christmas himself!

The primary-aged children were joined by their families in the stands, wrapped up well on a chilly night, and ready to join in the singing led by conductors from Portsmouth Music Hub and the Salvation Army Band.

For one night only the familiar chants from supporters were replaced with the crowd singing a host of popular Christmas songs including Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Jingle Bells, Away in a Manger and Christmas Calypso.

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With a welcome from the Deputy Lord and Lady Mayoress of Portsmouth, festive poems from Howard Payne, Headteacher of Medina Primary School and Councillor Suzy Horton the children and their families enjoyed a joyous occasion, packed with yuletide sights, sounds and songs.

A Christmas celebration wouldn't be the same without a big surprise, and as the Band played and the children sang a rousing rendition of Santa Claus is Coming to Town the famous man arrived to greet the cheering crowd.

This was the highlight of the concert, with children clapping and high-fiving Santa Claus, who even gave the Deputy Lord Mayor of Portsmouth a yuletide hug.

After the concert and as he was about to climb aboard his sledge to head back to the North Pole, Santa Claus said: "What a wonderful evening, with such delightful singing, and all the children behaved so well, so they are bound to get a present or two on Christmas Day. Now, I must fly home, I've got to speak to the elves and start wrapping the presents."

All images courtesy of Vernon Nash Photography