Santa ditched his traditional reindeer-powered transport and upgraded to a more comfortable and modern helicopter when he visited a Garston Christmas party at the weekend.

Children at the Kingswood Residents’ Association's festive bash yesterday (Sunday) received a flying visit from Father Christmas, who was then on hand in his grotto to dole out gifts following his dramatic entrance.

Around 100 children and parents were gathered at Kingsway Junior School, in Briar Road, for the association’s first Christmas party.

John Swain, the chairman of the association who played Father Christmas, said the group was donated the helicopter for the day through members’ contacts.

He said: "It was absolutely brilliant and it was great flying in and flying out. It was an amazing thing to do and the children were in awe."

Mr Swain, 56, added children were so enthralled by the visit they did not query Father Christmas’s unorthodox transport upgrade.

He added: "Strangely enough they didn’t [question the helicopter]. Perhaps it is the modern age.

"The only thing is how are we going to top it next year?"