WITH Christmas just a few short weeks away crowds of families headed to The Rock this weekend for a special festive event.

Father Christmas arrived in town in style on Saturday led by a parade to mark the official opening of the centre's new grotto.

Riding aboard a sleigh pulled by one of his elves, Santa was escorted in to St John's Square by the The Band and Corps of Drums of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (Lancashire), stilt walkers, youngsters from The Carol Godby Theatre Workshop, representatives from Bury Hospice and families.

Once there he welcomed young and old into his new grotto to share their Christmas wish lists.

Arnold Wilcox-Wood, centre director at The Rock, said: “It’s always so wonderful to see smiling, happy faces at our Santa’s Arrival Parade.

"We had a wonderful morning and we’re thrilled so many customers turned out to watch.

"As always The Lancashire Fusiliers did a marvellous job. We hope our visitors enjoy our brand new grotto.”

Santa's Grotto is free to enter and open on selected dates until Christmas Eve. Full opening times and details are available at therockbury.com/christmas.

Later this week The Rock Express festive train service will return from November 30 and will run throughout December with donations accepted for Bury Hospice.

Plus on Thursdays Bury's Library Service will be running story time sessions from 12pm to 2pm for the first time this year.