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Another Santa quits Edinburgh Christmas grotto

Underbelly's stewardship of Edinburgh's Christmas celebrations have come under heavy criticism. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Underbelly's stewardship of Edinburgh's Christmas celebrations have come under heavy criticism. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

A SECOND Santa has quit Edinburgh’s beleaguered Christmas grotto on Princes Street Gardens after criticism of the “conveyor belt” of children being rushed through by event organisers.

Actor Mike Jeary left his £10 an hour job in the capital’s Christmas market after complaining that he was being pressured into seeing as many as 30 families per hour, and told to “speed up” as children queued to see him.

The resignation comes after another Santa, Mike Daviot, quit the grotto after criticising organisers for their treatment of children.

Jeary, 43, said: “It was chaotic. It was like a conveyor belt but the organisers kept telling me to speed things up. But you can’t do that with little children. I felt it was important to take time to remember their names, where they were from, and other little details. It makes the experience special for them.”

Jeary added that when complaining to organisers of not having sufficient time to spend with children, he was accused of being grumpy with them.

Festival organisers Underbelly have come in for a barrage of criticism since taking over the Christmas market this year as consumers have complained at soaring costs. Safety fears were also raised when part of the Star Flyer attraction fell off onto the ground while in motion.

Underbelly have maintained that the time children spent in the grotto compared favourably with others.

 

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