Door-to-door Santa’s grotto bound for Portishead in lead-up to Christmas

A socially-distanced mobile Santa’s Grotto is coming to town in aid of charity.   Picture: Pyramid Torbay Photography

A socially-distanced mobile Santa’s Grotto is coming to town in aid of charity. - Credit: pyramid torbay photography

A Portishead couple is bringing a socially-distanced mobile Santa’s grotto to town in aid of Jessie May, a charity which provides nursing care at home for children and young people with life-limiting conditions. 

Rhys and Laura Hoy and their two children.     Picture: Mallory Photography

Rhys and Laura Hoy and their two children. Picture: Mallory Photography - Credit: Mallory Photography

Husband and wife team Rhys and Laura Hoy decided to develop their idea during the first lockdown and wanted to give people ‘something to look forward to’ in the lead up to Christmas. 

Laura said: “Over the past three years, we thought we should have a huge Santa’s grotto in Portishead. 

Christmas presents.

Christmas presents. - Credit: Pixabay

“We originally thought of it as a business idea, but we have two young children and my husband is a pilot, so we never had time to commit to the initiative. 

"However, since Rhys has been furloughed and I took on a full-time job, we decided to use this time in lockdown to give people something to look forward to.  

“Jessie May’s services have been incredibly valuable during the pandemic, as many families have been cut off from their support networks. The charity needs donations now more than ever, and we thought it would be a nice thing to do to.” 

Christmas cookies

Christmas cookies. - Credit: Pixabay

The couple has so far raised £1,100 for Jessie May, which has supported more than 300 children and their families in North Somerset and beyond since the charity was founded in 1996. 

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Laura and Rhys also called on local businesses to support the initiative, which enticed Portishead bakers Heaven On The Hill to donate gingerbread men and children’s author Oliver Rigby gifting his book The Bristol Giants Save Christmas to the cause. 

Laura added: “We’re at 80 per cent capacity at the moment for the socially-distanced door-to-door visits and we have room for around 15 more bookings. 

“The event is taking place from December 10-13, and, for people who have booked, Santa’s sleigh will show up outside people’s homes, an elf will knock on their doors and our Father Christmas will be sat in his sleigh ready for gifts to be given to children.  

“It’s a little different, but we thought it goes a little further than virtual visits, and, if there’s still a lockdown, we can still go ahead.” 

Santa’s Grotto visits cost £15, plus £5 for each additional child, and people can book through the Facebook page Spread Cheer, Not Covid or email Laura at

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