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Offer from local retail chain saves Christmas for group of Norfolk friends

PUBLISHED: 15:08 06 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:55 07 November 2018

Local garden centre has offered free afternoon Christmas tea for group of friends after mistakenly advertising a time when the shop was closed. Pictured above are: Sam, Tom, Rosa, Freddie and Lewis.

Local garden centre has offered free afternoon Christmas tea for group of friends after mistakenly advertising a time when the shop was closed. Pictured above are: Sam, Tom, Rosa, Freddie and Lewis.

Archant

A local retail chain has offered to host a complementary Christmas afternoon tea for four families after originally cancelling the event.

The children listen to Santa read a story at Notcutts garden centre in Norwich.The children listen to Santa read a story at Notcutts garden centre in Norwich.

Notcutts, a garden centre in Norwich, had mistakenly advertised a Christmas afternoon tea with Santa in its restaurant for after closing hours on Sunday December 9 - a date for which a group of friends and their children had booked the event.

One of the group, Tracey George from Attleborough, had expressed disappointment and frustration with the company because she had booked the tea on September 11 but the company informed her and her friends seven weeks later, on October 29, that the event had to be cancelled due to “human error”, leaving not enough time to arrange an alternative.

Ms George had said that all other venues were booked and that she and her friends had felt “really let down” by the company.

The friends first met at a post-natal group in 2013 and for the last two years have gathered together, with their children, at the garden centre’s restaurant for a festive celebration.

Ms George said: “We literally wait for the slots to come on the Notcutts website.” This year they booked the event for December 9. During the tea, advertised by Notcutts as a “fun-filled mealtime”, Santa reads to the children and gives them presents.

Richard Greenacre, garden centre manager at Notcutts Garden Centre in Norwich, said: “Unfortunately, we incorrectly publicised Sunday 9 December, 4.30pm to 6pm, as an available slot for our ‘Tea with Santa’ Christmas experience and have had to withdraw this event from sale due to Sunday trading regulations.

“As an apology, customers who had already booked for this date and time have been offered the experience free of charge. All other bookings are unaffected. Santa is looking forward to welcoming his special guests for tea.”

Notcutts is a family-owned business based in Woodbridge in Suffolk, with eighteen branches across England. The company had invited the group to attend any other Christmas meet-up at the garden centre free of charge, but Ms George said the friends are from different parts of Norfolk and Suffolk and therefore found it hard to co-ordinate dates.

“We’ve always got together since the babies were born,” she said, adding: “This now makes our Christmas.”

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