Santa swaps his sleigh for a truck

York Press: Copmanthorpe Out Of School Club members joined volunteers for the unveiling of the Copmanthorpe Santa’s Grotto lorry which will be outside the Frankie & Benny’s restaurants at Clifton Moor and Foss Islands in the run up to Christmas Copmanthorpe Out Of School Club members joined volunteers for the unveiling of the Copmanthorpe Santa’s Grotto lorry which will be outside the Frankie & Benny’s restaurants at Clifton Moor and Foss Islands in the run up to Christmas

THE Coca Cola lorry may have been and gone, but York has a new Christmas truck in residence.

The new owners of Copmanthorpe Recreational Centre have created a travelling Santa’s Grotto inside a 42ft lorry.

Open now until Christmas Eve, the lorry is the latest venture by Matt and Miriam McGale, who have taken over running the village’s sports and recreational centre from Mr McGale’s father, Tony.

The Santa’s Grotto follows the success of the couple’s firework event, which attracted more than 2,000 people to the village in November.

Mr McGale said: “We had a little idea of doing a grotto.

“We were going to create it at the recreation centre and set something up in the changing rooms.

“Then we thought it would be good to buy a caravan. We thought a little longer and the whole idea finished with us saying lets buy a 42ft lorry which we could take around York.

“We found no one else was doing that kind of thing. So we bought the lorry and have been renovating it.

“It has taken a lot of work but we are really pleased with it, it looks fantastic.”

The venture has been backed by Frankie & Benny’s restaurant with the grotto lorry parked in its car parks until December 23.

The grotto will be at the Clifton Moor restaurant until Wednesday and at the Foss Islands restaurant from December 19 to 23.

On Christmas Eve, the grotto will drive back to Copmanthorpe for the annual village Christmas disco.

Mr McGale, 22, and his wife, Miriam, 20, took over Copmanthorpe Recreational Centre just weeks after getting married and hosting their reception in a marquee at the venue.

Mr McGale said: “I always wanted to be self-employed, but I never really knew what I wanted to do.

“I had a conversation with my dad who had been running Copmanthorpe Recreation Centre for 13 years and he was saying he was ready to move on to something else.

“My Dad set up an out of school club, which is very successful with 45 kids, and he set up the sports bar.

“We decided it was a great opportunity to take that on, and improve what is already there.

“We want to do more community events, such as the fireworks as the feedback was great from that.

“It was the first time there has been anything like that in the village.”

Mr McGale said he will be working to plough the profits back into the business with plans to renovate the sports bar and make it “more welcoming for families and women”.

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