FATHER Christmas will be coming to Whitchurch and surrounding villages this December.

Whitchurch Rotary Club has confirmed they are going ahead with the 14-night weekday tour – which starts on December 3 and ends on December 22 – but there will be changes in line with Government Covid restrictions.

As usual, there will be fixed stops on scheduled routes, but this year there will be no door-knocking, Santa and the helper elves will maintain social distancing rules, and queues to meet the man himself will be managed to ensure masks are worn and distancing is maintained.

There will be no door-to-door collecting tins although a collection bucket will be available for donations and contactless card readers will allow cashless payments.

Rotary Club president Ian Fawcett said the changes were to ensure everyone remains safe.

"Everyone needs to be safe," said Ian, "And that includes everyone involved in the tour – children, parents and Rotary helpers too."

"Unfortunately there will be no sweets for the children, this year, but I'm sure parents will understand the reasoning behind that.

"We have thought long and hard about whether this year's tour should go ahead and how it would need to change.

"We even took a Facebook opinion poll to find out if people wanted to see Santa.

"The response was an instant, phenomenal and very decisive 'yes'.

"This tour has been a Rotary tradition for a great number of years and, despite Covid restrictions, the vote was very much in favour of seeing Santa again – this year more than ever.

"So we are determined that something meaning so much to so many people will still happen at the end of a year when we have already missed such a lot."

Sant will be visiting the following locations: Thursday, December 3 – Whitchurch – Dodington, Earl Edwin Mews, Mill Street, Park Avenue, Darwin Court, The Wharfage, Scotland Street, Highgate, Liverpool Road, Hillewood Avenue, Highgate, Alkington Road (to the Old Stores), Kingsway, Kingsway Court, Rosemary Lane.

Friday, December 4 – Malpas – Springfield Rd, Springfield Av, Old Hall St, Well St, Leach Rd, Mercer Close. St Ostwald's Close, Church St, Wrexham Rd, Sunnyside.

Monday, December 7 – Whitchurch – Talbot Street, Talbot Crescent. Castillion Drive, Yockin's Gate, Egerton Road, Gambrill Way, George Street, Prince William Close , Elizabeth Street, Blakemere Close, Osmere Close, Worthington Street, Bath Street.

Tuesday, December 8 – Calverhall/Ash – Salisbury Road, Waymills, Mill Gardens, Ash, Ightfield, Calverhall.

Wednesday December 9 – Whitchurch – Chemistry, Bathfields Crescent, Heronbrook, Meadowcroft, Plovers Rise, Greenfields Way, Greenfields Rise, Stags Leap, Barnfield Close, Smallbrook Road, Brookfield, Westbrook Avenue, Waterside Close, Sherrymill Hill, Yardington, Roman Way, Bargates, St. Alkmunds Meadow, Tarporley Road, (from Haroldgate), The Grove.

Thursday, December 10 – Whitchurch – Wrexham Road, Joyce Way, Park Road, Wrexham Road, (to Chemistry then, Drive to bottom of, Thompson Drive), Thompson Drive, Caldecott Crescent, Sharps Drive, Meadow View Road, Linden Avenue Friday, December 11 – Whitchurch – Wayland Road, Station Road, Bridgewater St, Brook Road, Anchor Close, Newport Road, Edward German Dr, Neufchatel Close, Churton Drive, Newport Road, Edgeley Road, Rydal Avenue, Edgeley Gardens, Nursery Gardens.

Monday, December 14 – Hampton Heath/No Man's Heath – Forts of India, Witney Lane, Chester Rd, Cross o'th Hill Rd, Meadow Ct, Hampton Crescent, Dean Park, Back Lane, Cholmondeley Rise, Tushingham, Grindley Brook, Horse & Jockey.

Tuesday, December 15 – Whitchurch – Mile Bank Road, Terrick Road, Fairways Drive, Alport Rd, Clayton Drive, Church Meadows, Blackmore Grove, Claypit Street, The Mount, Tarporley Road, (to Haroldgate), Wellfield Way, The Squirrels, Badger Cresent, Chester Road, The Firs , Bryn Estyn Ave, Chester Avenue, Pear Tree Lane.

Wednesday, December 16 – Malpas – Oathills, Hollowood Rd, Chester Rd, No stopping on the road to Tilston, Inveresk Rd (New Housing still under construction off Inveresk Rd), Church Rd, Rookery Rd, Wynter Lane, Long Lane. Carden Arms.

Thursday, December 17 – Whitchurch – Fraser Court, Queensway (all the way to the junction with Kingsway) Alkington Gardens, Beech Avenue, Wheatsheaf Drive, Oatfield Close, Walnut Drive, Elm Close, Oak Drive, Saddlers Walk, Highfields Avenue, Westune (walk to) Highfields Avenue, Alkington Road (to 30 mph sign) Friday, December 18 – Tilstock Hollins Lane, Tilstock Village, Tilstock Lane, Horseshoes Pub, Prees Heath, Mill St, Brades Rd, Havern Gardens, Lighteach Road, Station Road, Church Street, The pinfold, Moreton Street, Dog & Bull Coton.

Monday, December 21 – Prees – Heath Manor House Lane, Manor Place, via Mill Lane, & A41 to Heathwood Road, Gorse Meadow, Woodlands Grove, Twemlows Avenue, Birchwood Grove, Twemlows Avenue, Sylvan Close.

Tuesday, December 22 – Bettisfield – Bettisfield, Cadney Lane, Bronington, Maesllwyn Close, School Lane, Oakfield Close, Bronington Park, New Hall Lane, Tallarn Green.

Rotary's other seasonal projects – the 'Tree of Light' and distribution of Christmas meals to elderly and vulnerable residents – will also go ahead in slightly modified forms.