Community Forum bringing some festive cheer to Sion Mills village

A LOCAL community organisation is helping to bringing some added festive cheer to the streets of Sion Mills this weekend.

On Saturday, Santa and Mrs Claus will be embarking on a three hour tour of the village and all aboard a horse drawn carriage.

The initiative is being spearheaded by Sion Mills Community Forum who are encouraging residents to enjoy the socially distanced event from their own homes.

The fun is due to get underway at 11am beginning from St Theresa's Hall.

From there, Santa will visit every street and estate in the village bringing with him seasons greetings and a familiar sound!

In a surprise treat for locals, the Forum has secured the use of the old Sion Mills Primary School bell for Santa to ring as he makes his way around the entire village.

Speaking this week, Forum member Andy Patton explained: "It's all systems go for this Saturday starting at 11am from St Theresa’s Hall.

"Santa will visit every street and every estate in the village in a beautiful horse drawn carriage supplied by Denamona Carriage Hire of Fintona.

"Because of COVID-19 restrictions we have to remain socially distanced so all you have to do is come to your front door and give him a wave.

"This will be brilliant for all the children and our older residents who are feeling isolated at this time.

"I would ask that villagers please remain at your door or in your garden and Santa will be going around to give everyone a Christmas message and will be ringing the old Sion Mills Primary School bell - a sound so familiar to everyone young and 'older'."

Mr Patton said a team of stewards and local police officers will also be present throughout the event to ensure safety at all times.

It's also hoped that the event will be streamed live on Facebook.

"It promises to be a great day and let's hope the weather is kind to us - especially Santa and Mrs Claus.

"We are hoping to do a live Facebook feed on the Joe Mills page on the day.

"So, to all those that are away from home, overseas etc., you can hear the peal of the Old School Bell that you all knew so well," Andy added.

The Forum has also organised a Christmas window decorating competition with a £100 hamper up for grabs for the winning window.

The competition will be judged in the week of Christmas.

In further good news for the village, Andy also revealed that a local business - The Ranch - have offered Christmas Day dinners for 30 deserving people.

"This is a truly fantastic gesture from proprietor Benny Holland of The Ranch. These dinners will be delivered between 1.30pm and 2pm on Christmas Day," he explained.

"Our team of Forum volunteers will ensure these hot meals will go out on time inside that 30 minutes.

"The dinners will go out to older, vulnerable and lonely people to ensure they can have a nice Christmas Day.

"Christmas is about the giving of love and goodwill and The Ranch is certainly allowing us to ensure that. A massive thank-you to Benny."

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