Volunteers who run an annual Christmas sleigh have apologised after receiving “negative comments” on social media.

The Santa's Sleigh is a major event in The Rotary Club of Westhoughton's calendar, and the festive tradition has been going on for three decades, thanks to volunteers.

The club issued a statement to their supporters, apologising to those who felt rushed during photo opportunities, explaining that they are only volunteers, and in desperate need of some more.

A spokesperson for the club said: “It has been heartbreaking to yet again be subjected to such negative comments on social media from members of the community.

The Bolton News: Westhoughton's Christmas Sleigh

“You will know that throughout 2023 we have been appealing for additional volunteers to support us to keep the sleigh going and cover the ever-expanding community in Westhoughton.

“Despite these efforts we are still running on minimum numbers of helpers each night.

“We try our best to ensure we provide Christmas spirit and joy to anyone visiting the sleigh but with so many children to visit we do sometimes have to hurry things along.

“We're sorry If you feel rushed or you don't get a photo opportunity, but we are only licensed to be out with the sleigh for a limited time each night for our 11 scheduled nights.

“This is a very tight timeframe with the amount of children we plan to visit.

The Bolton News: “Please also accept our apologies if we don't get to your street.

“Despite bringing magic to the community there’s only so much we can achieve in the short window we have out with the sleigh.

“We also ask you to consider that sometimes there are unforeseen circumstances which prevent us completing the routes such as weather, traffic etc.

“We try our best to avoid this but sometimes it's inevitable.

“Please check our Facebook page and follow links to our website for the latest news and updates on the sleigh.

“We are extremely grateful to the community of Westhoughton for their support over the years but ask that you consider that we are volunteers.”

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