More than 300 people have attended as the Salvation Army church hosted its annual Santa's Groot and Winter Wonderland event. 

The church on North East Road in Sholing has been putting on the event for more than two decades which sees more than 300 people attend each year.

With displays featuring animatronic characters such as penguins, polar bears and reindeer, children of all ages have the opportunity to go into Santa’s Grotto.

Brian Jones, 83, has been designing the Winder Wonderland displays for more than 24 years and said the children's reactions is the "highlight of it all".

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Brian said: “I'm now seeing the next generation of children coming to join us – and that is very special indeed.

“When coming up with the designs I do have some preconceived ideas but some work and others don’t.

"I just like to get creative and see what festive designs come out of it."

He puts his creativity down to his time working at Marwell Zoo where he spent a decade as groundskeeper and would help build the festive grotto.

Daily Echo: Santa's Grotto at The Salvation Army church in SholingSanta's Grotto at The Salvation Army church in Sholing (Image: NQ)

Much of the props used in the display are from Brian's time at Marwell and it takes a team of four volunteers, three weeks to build the Grotto.

Church leader Matthew Stone, 33, said: “We're so fortunate to have Brian, his creativity, and his commitment to making our church on North East Road a very special place this time of year.

“We have again welcomed more than 300 Sholing locals into our brilliant grotto.

“My two-year-old some came to see Santa and was over the moon with his new toy truck.

"It's great to bring something magical but affordable to the Sholing children and residents."

All the toys are age-appropriate and range from toy cars to footballs and home craft kits.

The church hall was lined with Christmas trees that have been individually decorated by local schools, community groups and charities.  

Mountbatten Southampton, 6th Sholing Brownies, the Food Cycle and Springwell School were some of the organisations that decorated trees.

The grotto is returning for the last time this year on December 23.

Entry is £6 per child and £1 per adult, with all proceeds going back to the church and charity.