Crowds of Santa’s battled through Storm Caroline to take part in a fund-raising conga around St Johns Shopping Centre.

Gale force winds and driving rain forced many people in the city to head for home yesterday, but fearless Father Christmases buttoned up their red suits and buckled up their belts to spread festive cheer among Liverpool’s shoppers.

Sales staff and customers cheered and waved as the jolly Santas snaked their way through St Johns Shopping Centre, starting at Matalan and taking a tour of the entire lower mall.

“It was really great fun and a fabulous sight to see,” said Loretta Forrester, Retail Liaison Manager. “All the retailers came out of their shops and clapped and cheered as this line of Santas danced their way through the shopping centre.

“I’ve never seen anything like it, but everyone enjoyed themselves and the customers absolutely loved it.  It certainly put a smile on people’s faces and got them into the Christmas spirit – though I think some might have been worried that they’d had too much of the Christmas spirit when they weren’t just seeing double Santas but Santas everywhere!”

The Santa Conga event was the first of its kind at St Johns and a new addition to its festive calendar.

It followed the weekend’s 5K Santa Dash fun run through the city centre, with both events helping to raise money for Claire House Children’s Hospice which has bases in Wirral and Liverpool.

Neil Ashcroft, Centre Manager of St Johns Shopping Centre, added: “The Santa Conga was an amazing event and we want to thank everyone who took part and cheered our wonderful Santas on.

“The weather was absolutely awful so we would have understood if lots of people had stayed away but still so many braved the wind and rain to put on their shiny red suits and give us a ‘ho-ho-ho’. It just goes to show, yet again, how generous the people of Liverpool are, not just with their cash but with their time too – especially when it comes to doing something for others.

“So again, I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took part and made us smile, and raised money for a tremendous and caring cause.”