ONE of the North East’s leading shopping centres is gearing up for a cracking Christmas with events for shoppers of all ages.

The Bridges, Sunderland, has lined up a calendar of activities to run throughout the festive season, including firm favourites from previous years.

And, as always, it is extending its opening hours to give shoppers plenty of time to snap everything from food to fashion.

The Bridges already offers late night shopping every Thursday until 8pm and from 10 to 21 December this will be extended until 8pm on all week nights. This will be boosted by free parking from 5.30 to 9pm on late night shopping days.

And, for shoppers, the centre has once again introduced its gift card promotion, where anyone who spends £100 during late night shopping receives a £10 gift card.

On Thursday 15 November, the centre will also welcome one very special customer in the form of Santa Claus himself.

He will be taking up residence in his grotto at the Central Square right through until Christmas Eve to listen to children’s Christmas wishes and accept their letters.

Then, on Sunday 9 December, families can have fun, get fit and raise much needed cash for charity by taking part in a Reindeer Dash.

Everyone who takes part in the 1km dash around the centre will receive a reindeer nose and antlers and be presented with a medal by children’s TV favourite Richard McCourt (Dick from Dick ‘n’ Dom), who is appearing as Smee in Peter Pan at Sunderland Empire this Christmas.

Andy Bradley, centre director at the Bridges, said the centre is once again anticipating an extremely busy festive shopping season.

“There’s always an amazing atmosphere at the Bridges in the run up to Christmas,” he said.

“The Reindeer Dash is a great way to have fun and raise cash for charity at the same time – add to that some of the best and biggest shops on the high street, not to mention the chance to visit Santa in his grotto and I am pretty confident we have Christmas all wrapped up.”

Entry to the Reindeer Dash costs £3 for children under 12 which includes reindeer nose and antlers and a medal and £5 for adults.

For further information, full opening times and gift card terms and conditions, visit the website www.thebridges-shopping.com.

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