Beds, Herts & Bucks

Milton Keynes Wonderland set up after Santa woe

One of the Santa's seeing two children
Image caption One mother said her girls were "so upset" when they met Santa

A "mini wonderland" has been organised in Milton Keynes after an attraction was inundated with complaints and closed after one day.

Winter Wonderland in Campbell Park is being investigated by trading standards after visitors complained about the Santas, ice rink and reindeers.

Organiser Lorenzo Franco has promised a full refund to all ticket holders.

Parents and the owner of not-for-profit ice rink MKICE have organised events for disappointed ticket holders.

MKICE chairman Dave Fairhurst said it would honour any bookings made at Winter Wonderland at his skating rink in Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes, this weekend.

Those with pre-paid tickets for Winter Wonderland can also book a slot to see Santa in his "Mini Wonderland MK" grotto, which organisers said would be made on a first come, first served basis.

The grotto is being organised by parents, who have called on other volunteers to help set up the event on Friday night and over the weekend.

'Get Christmas back'

They have also asked businesses and individuals to donate presents, gift wrap and decorations, and said they would request £1 per child to raise funds for charity.

Its Facebook page states Mini Wonderland MK is a group of people "that want to help everyone get Christmas back, as best we can".

No one was available for comment.

Winter Wonderland opened on Saturday and closed on its second day.

Customers complained Santa's Grotto was staffed by young, thin men, who looked like they were wearing "outfits from Poundland", the gifts were poor quality and an ice rink was described as "a few plastic sheets".

Mr Franco told the BBC there had been some "technical issues" but also blamed parents for "not giving him a chance to put things right".

He said there was "roughly £20,000" held in a secure account ready to pay back.

Calvin Smith, from Luton, said the event "absolutely spoilt" Santa for his three children.

"I'd built my whole family up for a special day and it was utter rubbish, I can't get that day back for them whatever money you were to refund me," he said.

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